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HQ 089991

November 20, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089991 EAB


TARIFF NO.: 3921.90.5050

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
880 Front Street
San Diego, California 92188

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 2501-0- 000138, dated December 14, 1990, concerning plastic riser plates; cellular

Dear Sir:

This is a decision on a protest filed December 14, 1990, against your decision in the classification of merchandise liquidated September 21, 1990 and October 5, 1990.


The protestant entered all goods in subheading 3921.90.5050, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), a provision for other plates of plastics, other, other, other, other, dutiable at the general rate of 4.8 percent ad valorem.

The protestant now claims that the merchandise is properly classifiable under subheading 3921.19.0000, HTSUSA, a provision for other plates of plastics, cellular, of other plastics, dutiable at the general rate of 6.6 percent ad valorem but eligible for duty free treatment as a product of Mexico, a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences.

Customs laboratory report of a sample taken from the subject importations indicates that the merchandise is a rigid, non- cellular plastic plate in which phenolic resin predominates by weight. The plate is a laminate of phenolic resin impregnated paper overcoated with phenolic resin.

Other documents associated with this protest indicate that the merchandise is used in electromechanical devices.


What is the proper classification under the HTSUSA of rigid, non-cellular plates of plastic consisting predominantly by weight of phenolic resin?


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.

GRI 6 requires that classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and applicable subheading notes.

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.

There is no dispute that the merchandise in question is described in heading 3921, HTSUSA.

General Explanatory Note to Chapter 39 concerning combinations of plastics and materials other than textiles states that products consisting of sheets of paper, impregnated with plastics and compressed together, provided they have a hard, rigid character and the character of the product is not attributable to the paper, are classified in Chapter 39. Explanatory Note 39.21 states that heading 3921 covers only cellular products or those which have been reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials, and refers one back to the aforesaid General Explanatory Note.

We are of the opinion that the subject merchandise is specifically described in subheading 3921.90.5050, HTSUSA. The product is hard plastic (phenolic resin), it is a laminate consisting of sheets of paper inpregnated with the phenolic resin and compressed together, and the character of the product is not that of the reinforcing paper, but of the phenolic resin.


Rigid, non-cellular plates of plastic consisting predominantly by weight of phenolic resin impregnated paper sheets laminated together and used in electromechanical devices are classifiable under subheading 3921.90.5050, HTSUSA, a provision for other plates of plastics, other, other, other, other.

Articles classified under that subheading for the year 1990 were subject to a general rate of duty of 4.8 percent ad valorem and products of Mexico classifiable thereunder were eligible for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), upon compliance with applicable law and Customs Regulations.

You are instructed to deny the protest, except to the extent that reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above results in a partial allowance.

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
Commercial Rulings Division

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