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HQ 089274

Septeber 17, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089274 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 3921.90.50

District Director of Customs
International and Terrace Streets
Nogales, Arizona 85621

RE: Request for Further Review of Protest 2604-90-000015, dated June 19, 1990, Concerning Plastic Riser Plates

Dear Mr. Lawrence:

This ruling is on a protest that was filed against your decisions in the liquidations of Entry No. 455-1007691-7 and 455-1007854-1, which were liquidated on March 23 and 30, 1990, respectively.


The articles under consideration are plastic riser plates made of layers of paper impregnated with phenolic resin and treated with heat and pressure to form a rigid, infusible sheet. The articles, which are rigid, infusible, inflexible and insoluble at the time of importation, are used for electromechanical applications.


What is the classification of riser plates composed of plastic?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative - 2 -
section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods, and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

The protestant states that the riser plates are made of layers of kraft cellulose paper bonded by phenolic resin, are plastic sheets of cellular construction and should be classified under subheading 3921.19.0000, HTSUSA. You have found that, while the sheets have the composition noted by the protestant, they are of non-cellular construction. A Customs laboratory report indicates that the article is rigid, non-cellular, plastic plate composed on phenolic resin having a thin sheet of paper, also coated with plastic phenolic resin laminated to each surface.

Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines the cellular to mean "containing cavities: porous, having a porous texture, consisting of or employing separate semi-independent sections or units, minute compartment or cavities."

The Condensed Chemical Dictionary defines cellular plastic as a "thermosetting or thermoplastic foam composed of cellular cores with integral skins having high strength and stiffness. The cells result from the action of a blowing agent, either at room temperature or during treatment of plastic mixture." We note that a cellular product, as stated in Chapter 40 of the Explanatory Notes, in reference to rubber, must have cells (open, closed or both) throughout its mass. We understand that this result is produced by means of a blowing or foaming agent. Closed cells are those which have no opening between the cells. The term does not refer to cells which have been filled.

The subject laminated plastic article has lost its qualities as paper by the time of importation. It is rigid, infusible, inflexible and insoluble. It cannot be torn or folded. The plastic article has no cells, open or closed, dispersed throughout its mass. The phenolic resin completely impregnates the paper. Intense heat and pressure fuse these layers into a homogeneous sheet. The imported article is not porous, and contains no semi- independent sections or units, minute compartments or cavities. Accordingly, we have concluded that the article is not cellular plastic.


Plastic riser plates which are non-cellular in construction are classifiable under subheading 3921.90.50, HTSUSA, and are - 3 -
dutiable at a general rate of duty of 4.8 per cent ad valorem.

Plastic riser plates, which are the product of Mexico, are presently eligible for a free rate of duty under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) upon compliance with the provisions of section 10.171 et seq., Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.171 et seq.). Such products, however, were not eligible for special treatment under the GSP provisions during calendar year 1989, when the protested entry was filed, in accordance with General Note

Since the rate of duty under the classification indicated above is the same as the liquidated rate, you are instructed to deny the protest in full. A copy of this ruling should be attached to the Form 19 Notice of Action furnished the protestant.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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