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HQ 952836

February 19, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952836 EAB


TARIFF NO.: 3904.61.00; 3915.90.00

John A. Bessich, Esquire
Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty
One Cross Island Plaza
Rosedale, New York 11422

RE: Classification of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE); scrap; 087246; 088471; 951875

Dear Mr. Bessich:

This is in reply to your letter dated September 16, 1992, on behalf of Shamrock Technologies, Inc., in which you request a binding ruling on the classification of PTFE scrap under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise to be classified is described as PTFE scrap or waste consisting of rejected or discarded product in the forms of machine turnings, tube pieces, blocks, trimmings, soft extrudate, preforms, extrusion pieces ("heels and cones"), hard extrudate, white clear pieces, tape scrap, powders and granules.

Of the five distinct samples that you provided to two of Customs National Import Specialists, three have been reported out to this Office to be shavings of PTFE, one has been reported out to be flat, irregularly shaped chips, and the fifth has been described as powder mixed with irregularly shaped lumps.

None of the PTFE imported by Shamrock is sold in the condition as imported. Some of importations contain contaminants such as oil, dirt or other unwanted material that must be physically separated, leaving clean PTFE shapes that, along with the shapes that did not require such cleaning, are ground, irradiated and further, finer ground to manufacture different grades of dry, fine PTFE powders.


What is the classification of PTFE scrap?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

Heading 3904, HTSUSA, describes in part polymers of halogenated olefins in primary forms. Subheading 3904.61.00 describes "fluoropolymers: polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)."

Heading 3915 describes waste, parings and scrap of plastics, and subheading 3915.90 identifies waste, parings and scrap of plastics, other than ethylene, styrene and vinyl chloride.

Two legal notes to chapter 39 pertain. Note 6(b) defines "primary forms" to include blocks of irregular shape, lumps, powders, flakes and similar bulk forms. Note 7 provides that heading 3915 does not apply to waste, parings and scrap of a single thermoplastic material, transformed into primary forms, and this mandatory classification scheme is stressed in the Explanatory Notes to the chapter. Explanatory Note 39.15 informs us that merchandise classifiable under heading 3915 may consist either of broken or worn articles of plastics clearly not usable for their original purposes, or of manufacturing waste (shavings, dust, trimmings, etc.) and although some "waste" can be reused and therefore should remain classifiable under heading 3915 rather than elsewhere, "waste, parings and scrap of a single thermoplastic material, transformed into primary forms," is not "waste" in a tariff sense, but is a polymer classifiable under one of headings 3901-3914. See also HR 089064 (November 4, 1991).

As you know, in HR 951875 (September 12, 1992), Customs held PTFE plastics that had not been transformed into primary forms to be classifiable under subheading 3915.90, HTSUSA.

Where plastics are in a primary form in their condition as imported, the presence of contaminants does not qualify the plastic as waste of heading 3915. See HR 087246 (October 30, 1990) and HR 088475 (May 10, 1991).

We find that the three samples that are PTFE shavings are waste of heading 3915 and that the PTFE powder and PTFE powder mixed with irregularly shaped lumps are both in primary forms to be classified under heading 3904.


PTFE scrap shavings are classifiable under subheading 3915.90, HTSUSA, a provision for waste, parings and scrap, of plastics; of other plastics and entitled to be entered under column 1 free of duty.

PTFE powder and powder mixed with irregularly shaped lumps are classifiable under subheading 3904.61, a provision for polymers of vinyl chloride or of other halogenated olefins, in primary forms; fluoropolymers; polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), dutiable at the column one general rate of 1.5 cents/kilogram plus 5.7 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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