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HQ 089525

March 20, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089525 EAB


TARIFF NO.: 3903.90.5000

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
55 Erieview Plaza
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 4110-90- 000019, dated October 10, 1990, concerning styrene- maleic anhydride (SMA); CAS 9011-13-6; rubber; synthetic rubber; styrene; polymers

Dear Sir:

This is a decision on a protest filed October 10, 1990, against your decision in the classification of the merchandise in entry number 0091330, liquidated July 13, 1990.


The protestant entered all goods in subheading 4002.11.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), a provision for synthetic rubber in primary forms: styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR); carboxylated styrene-butadiene rubber (XSBR): latex, to be entered free of duty. Customs reclassified the merchandise under subheading 3903.90.5000, HTSUSA, a provision for polymers of styrene, in primary forms, other, other, and assessed a duty of 0.9/kg plus 9.2% ad valorem.

Protestant seeks reclassification of the goods to subheading 4002.11.0000, HTSUSA, providing as stated above.

Customs Chicago laboratory analyzed a submitted sample and reported that the milky liquid consisted of a copolymer of styrene and maleic anhydride, namely, styrene-maleic anhydride (SMA), in which the styrene monomer predominated by weight.


What is the proper classification under the HTSUSA of styrene-maleic anhydride (SMA), CAS #9011-13-6?


Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUSA. Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUSA and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

Note 1, Chapter 40 (Rubber and Articles Thereof), HTSUSA, states, inter alia, that the expression "rubber" applies to "synthetic rubber." Note 4(a) thereto states in part that "synthetic rubber" is an expression that applies to "unsaturated synthetic substances which can be irreversibly transformed by vulcanization with sulfur into non-thermoplastic substances * *." A chemical substance or compound may be said to be "unsaturated" when not all of the available valence bonds along the alkyl chain or within the ring are satisfied.

Styrene, of course, is unsaturated at the side-chain off the benzene ring. SMA, however, is not unsaturated; once the styrene is polymerized with the maleic anhydride, the SMA unit is linked at the site of the former unsaturated side-chain.

Styrene-maleic anhydride does not fall within the definition of "synthetic rubber", since the copolymer is not unsaturated. We are, therefore, of the opinion that SMA does not fall to be classified within Chapter 40, HTSUSA.

We are of the opinion that the subject merchandise is properly classifiable as a plastic, i.e. a polymer of styrene.


You are instructed to deny the protest.

Styrene-maleic anhydride (SMA), CAS Registration Number 9011-13-6, is classifiable under subheading 3903.90.5000, HTSUSA, a provision for polymers of styrene, in primary forms; other; other.

Articles classified under that subheading for the year 1990 were subject to a general rate of duty of 0.9/kg plus 9.2% ad valorem.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director

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