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HQ 951239

August 11, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 951239 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 3907.30.0000, 3907.99.0050

Mr. Edward N. Glad
Glad and Ferguson
606 South Olive Street
Suite 1700
Los Angeles, California 90014

RE: Polyester/Epoxy Powder Coatings

Dear Mr. Glad:

This is in reference to your request of February 28, 1992, for a binding ruling on the subject product. You state that you disagree with the classification suggested by our Seattle import specialist. We understand that several of your client's entries covering the same merchandise are the subject of Protest No. 3001-92-1002732, dated March 16, 1992.


The products under consideration are powder coatings composed of 45 to 55 percent by weight of polyester or epoxy resin (or binder), curing agent, filler (or extender), pigments, and additives. The coatings come in a variety of colors and may be thermoplastic or thermosetting. They are used, in lieu of liquid paint systems, to coat a variety of products.


Are the products under consideration prepared pigments classifiable under subheading 3207.10.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), or as an epoxy/polyester resin under subheading 3907.30.0000/3907.99.0050, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the 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 heading and any relative 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.

Counsel states that the product which is used in a dry painting process should be classified under subheading 3207.10.0000, HTSUSA, as a prepared pigment. Customs has classified the product, in its polyester based form, under subheading 3907.99.0050, HTSUSA.

Counsel has noted that subheading 3207.10.0000, HTSUSA, is more specific than the subheading 3907.99.0050, HTSUSA; that the product is more than a polyester resin, a different article of commerce; and that the classification of the product is excluded from Heading 3907 by Headnote 3 of Chapter 39, HTSUSA.

In considering this matter and the documentation submitted by counsel, we note that there are at least 3 types of powder coatings and that the primary component of each is a polyester or epoxy resin or a combination of both, ranging from 45 to 55 percent by weight of each coatings components.

We consulted the Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized System which represent the opinion of the international classification experts in ascertaining the propriety of classification of the products in Chapter 32 and 39 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. EN 32.07 which contains the comments for Heading 3207 specifies that prepared pigments, prepared opacifiers and prepared colors of the ceramic industry are dry mixtures formed by the heat treatment of oxides of antimony, silver, arsenic, copper, chromium, cobalt, etc. or salts (fluorides, phosphates, etc.) with or without fluxes or other substances. It points out that the goods are fired at high temperatures and that they are used to produce a colored or opaque surface in the course of ceramic firing. It also points out that the products may be incorporated in the glaze or enamel, or be applied as a coating before glazing. There is no binder, extenders, etc. The EN appears to only provide for inorganic materials characteristic of the ceramic industry, i.e., a metal oxide or pigment which is incorporated in the glaze or enamel.

Thus, Heading 3207 would not appear to cover the product under consideration.

In considering the propriety of classification in Chapter 39, we note that EN 32.10(C)(c) specifies that powder paints consisting principally of plastics and containing additives and pigments, used for application to objects by the effect of heat with or without application of static electricity are classifiable in Chapter 39.

The subject powder coatings, which consist in part of synthetic polymers with an average of at least 5 monomer units, would fall under the provisions of Note 3(c) of Chapter 39. Although counsel states that the product under consideration is not produced by chemical synthesis and, therefore, would not be covered by such provision, we note that the polymers, which are the basic ingredient for the product, were created by chemical synthesis. We also note that the product, a powder, meets the definition of the term primary form in Heading 3907, HTSUSA, pursuant to note 6(b) of Chapter 39. This is confirmed in paragraph (2) of the primary forms portion of the General EN's to Chapter 39, which specifies that such powders may be used to coat objects by the application of heat with or without electricity.

Accordingly, we believe that the classification of the subject products, whether their primary component is polyester, epoxy or a combination thereof, under the provisions for resins in Chapter 39 is appropriate. Those products which contain a polymer blend would, pursuant to Note 4 of Chapter 39, be classified under the heading or subheading covering the polymer which predominates by weight over every other polymer.


Powder coatings composed of 45 to 55 percent polyester or epoxy resin (or binder), curing agent, filler (or extender), pigments, and additives are classifiable in Chapter 39, HTSUSA. If the resin composition of the powder coating is solely of polyester, the product is classifiable under subheading 3907.99.0050, HTSUSA, and subject to a general rate of duty of 3.1? plus 9 percent ad valorem. If the resin composition of the powder coating is solely of epoxy, the product is classifiable under 3907.30.0000, HTSUSA, and subject to a general rate of duty of 6.1 percent ad valorem. If the resin composition of the powder coating is a combination of polyester and epoxy, the
product is classifiable under subheading 3907.30.0000 or 3907.99.0050, HTSUSA, based on the resin which predominates by weight over every other resin, and would be subject to the general rate of duty applicable to that subheading.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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