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HQ 953256

June 9, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 953256 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 5603.00.9070

Mr. Stephen L. Fodor
Kuehne & Nagel, Inc.
703 Sullivan Road
College Park, Georgia 30349

RE: "Quickpad Swab Dispenser;" Not wadding, gauze, bandages and similar articles

Dear Mr. Fodor:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of December 15, 1992, on behalf of your client, Holtsch Corporation, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), of an article identified as a "Quickpad Swab Dispenser," to be imported from Germany. A sample was submitted with your inquiry.


The article at issue consists of a plastic, non-refillable container, with a snap-top lid, that measures approximately 1- 1/2 inch by 1-1/2 inch by 2-1/2 inches in height. The container, which is considered packing, holds approximately 120 swabs, each measuring approximately 1 inch square and premoistened with a solution containing 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Although the inquirer has not indicated the fiber content, the swabs appear to be constructed of spunbonded/thermically bonded, nonwoven, man- made fiber. The swabs generally serve to wipe, clean, and disinfect a small area of skin to be medically treated.


Whether the item is properly classified in heading 3005, HTSUSA, as wadding, gauze, bandages and similar articles; or in heading 5603, HTSUSA, as nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated.


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Heading 3005, HTSUSA, provides for wadding, gauze, bandages and similar articles (for example, dressings, adhesive plasters, poultices), impregnated or coated with pharmaceutical substances or put up in forms or packings for retail sale for medical, surgical, dental or veterinary purposes. Although the "quickpad" swabs are put up in forms or packings for retail sale for medical purposes, they are not bandages, dressings, plasters, or poultices. Gauze is a woven material while the swabs are nonwoven. Wadding is a nonwoven material, but is unbonded and ill-suited for cleaning uses. We also find that a solution consisting essentially of isopropyl alcohol, with which the swabs are impregnated, is not a pharmaceutical substance. In this case, the alcohol is a cleansing agent. For the reasons noted above, the article is not properly classified in heading 3005.

Heading 5603, HTSUSA, provides for nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated. Legal Note 1(a) to Chapter 56, states that, among other items, the chapter does not cover nonwovens impregnated, coated, or covered with substances or preparations where the textile material is present merely as a carrying medium. The EN to heading 5603, indicates that the heading covers nonwovens in the piece, cut to rectangular (including square) shape from larger pieces without other working, whether or not presented folded or put up in packings (e.g., for retail sale).

In this case, each nonwoven textile piece functions not merely as a medium to carry the alcohol, but also as a scrubber to lift non-sterile materials and organisms from the skin or
other surfaces. Subheading 5603.00.9070, HTSUSA, covers other nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated, of filaments, which is the proper classification for this merchandise.


The article identified as a "Quickpad Swab Dispenser," if as described in the facts, is classified under subheading 5603.00.9070, HTSUSA, textile category 223, the provision for "Nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated: Other: Other, Other nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated or covered: Other: Of filaments." The general column one duty rate applicable to this merchandise is 12.5 percent ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.


John Durant, Director

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