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HQ 089897

November 18, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089897 EAB


TARIFF NO.: 3202.90.5000

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
10 Causeway Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02222-1056

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 0401-90- 000785, dated December 20, 1990, concerning Parvol PCNR; tanning substances; syntans; mineral tannings; chromium hydroxide sulfate

Dear Sir:

This is a decision on a protest filed December 20, 1990, against your decision in the classification of merchandise liquidated September 21, 1990.


The protestant entered all goods in subheading 2904.10.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), a provision for sulfonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives of hydrocarbons, whether or not halogenated, dutiable at the general rate of 4.2 percent ad valorem. Based on the limited information available, Customs reclassified the merchandise under subheading 3202.10.1000, HTSUSA, a provision for synthetic organic tanning substances, and advanced the rate of duty to 14.3 percent ad valorem.

The protestant now claims that the merchandise is classified in subheading 3202.90.5000, HTSUSA, the provision for synthetic organic tanning substances; inorganic tanning substances; tanning preparations, whether or not containing natural tanning substances; enzymatic preparations for pre-tanning; other; other dutiable at the general rate of 5 percent ad valorem.

Customs laboratory analysis of the subject merchandise indicates that Parvol PCNR is composed of chromium hydroxide sulfate (45 percent), sodium naphthalene sulfonate (20 percent), sodium phenol sulfonate (20 percent) and sodium sulfate (15 percent). Chromium hydroxide sulfate and sodium sulfate are inorganic compounds; naphthalene and phenol sulfonates are organic compounds. Technical literature states that chromium hydroxide sulfate is a tanning agent used in most U.S. leather production, and that the other compounds in the substance serve ancillary purposes.


What is the proper classification under the HTSUSA of Parvol PCNR, a tanning substance containing chromium hydroxide sulfate?


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.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Descrip- tion and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the Customs Cooperation Council on the scope of each heading; although neither binding upon the contracting parties to the Harmonized System Convention nor considered to be dispositive interpretations, they should be consulted on the proper scope of the System.

Heading 3202, HTSUSA, describes in part synthetic organic tanning substances, inorganic tanning substances, and tanning preparations which may or may not contain natural tanning substances.

Explanatory Note 32.02 states that the foregoing heading includes two distinct types of tanning products. Synthetic organic tanning substances (syntans) include aromatic syntans, oilbased synthetic tanning substances and resinic tanning products that are wholly or almost wholly water-soluble. Inorganic tanning products (mineral tannings) are based on the salts of chromium and other metals. While there is a distinction between the two, tanning products which are a mixture of both types remain classified under heading 3202, HTSUSA.

We find that Parvol PCNR is an inorganic tanning product, the essential character of which is imparted by chromium hydroxide sulfate. It does not consist wholly of inorganic substances; therefore, pursuant to GRI 3(b), we are of the opinion that the subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 3202.90.5000, HTSUSA, providing for tanning preparations, other, other.


Parvol PCNR, a tanning preparation consisting of a mixture of organic and inorganic tanning substances, the essential character of which is imparted by chromium hydroxide sulfate, a mineral tanning substance, is classified under subheading 3202.90.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for tanning preparations other than synthetic organic tanning substances, other than tanning preparations consisting wholly of inorganic substances.

Articles classified under that subheading for the year 1990 were subject to a general rate of duty of 5 percent ad valorem.

Since reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above will result in a lower rate of duty than as liquidated, you are instructed to allow the protest in full.

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


John Durant, Director

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