United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0951261 - HQ 0952146 > HQ 0951310

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 951310

May 20, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951310 HP


TARIFF NO.: 5903.90.2000

Mr. Richard L. Rudin
District Director
U.S. Customs Service
6269 Eighth Industrial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53110

RE: Application for further review of protest no. 3701-91- 000029. Fabric; plastic; filler; weight

Dear Mr. Rudin:

This is in reply to your memorandum of July 26, 1991, attaching documents relating to the application for further review of protest no. 3701-91-000029. Please reference your file number PRO-4 GL:MW:DD:C JBH.


The merchandise at issue consists of Vinnapas fabric, constructed of 100% perlon (polyamide) fabric which is stated to be coated on one surface with a polyvinyl acetate plastics material. The protesting party argues that the fabric meets the requirements of Note 9 to Section XI, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), and should be classified under subheading 5903.90.15, HTSUSA. In the alternative, protestant claims that the fabric should be classified as over 70% by weight of plastics under subheading 5903.90.20, HTSUSA. You disagree, positing that, based upon laboratory analysis, the correct classification is under subheading 5903.90.25, HTSUSA, as being under 70% by weight of plastics.


Whether the fabric meets the specifications of Note 9 to Section XI, HTSUSA? Whether the fabric is over 70% by weight of plastics?


Subheading 5903.90.15, HTSUSA, provides for man-made textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, and meeting the specification in Note 9 to Section XI, HTSUSA. The Note identifies these fabrics as "consisting of layers of parallel textile yarns superimposed on each other at acute or right angles. These layers are bonded at the intersections of the yarns by an adhesive or by thermal bonding."

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System) constitute the official interpretation of the scope and content of the tariff at the international level. They represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. Totes, Inc. v. United States, No. 91-09-00714, slip op. 92-153, 14 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1916, 1992 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 158 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1992). While not treated as dispositive, the EN are to be given considerable weight in Customs' interpretation of the HTSUSA. Boast, Inc. v. United States, No. 91-11-00793, slip op. 93-20, 1993 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 19 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1993). It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA. The General Explanatory Notes to Section XI, at 712, expand upon the legal Note's definition as follows:

[W]oven fabrics ..., by application of
Note 9 to Section XI, include, for example, fabrics consisting of:

- one layer of parallel "warp" yarns with a layer of parallel "weft" yarns superimposed at acute or right angles;

- two layers of parallel "warp" yarns between which a layer of "weft" yarns is inserted at acute or right angles.

The essential characteristic of these fabrics is that the yarns are not interlaced as in conventional woven fabrics but are bonded at the intersections with an adhesive or by thermal bonding.

These fabrics are sometimes referred to as mesh scrims; their uses include the reinforcement of other materials (plastics, paper, etc.). They are also used, for example, for the protection of agricultural crops.

Although counsel stated in the protest that the merchandise at issue is composed of "layers of parallel textile yarns superimposed . . . at right angles [and] bonded . . . by polyvinylacetat" (sic.), Customs Laboratory Report No. 3-90- 10614-001 of July 20, 1990 (614), and Supplemental Laboratory Report No. 3-92-10618-001 of August 3, 1992 (618), both found that the textile portion of the fabric is constructed of woven nylon fibers. Following Note 9 to Section XI, therefore, classification in subheading 5903.90.15, HTSUSA, is prohibited.

Counsel argues in the alternative that the fabric is over 70% by weight of plastics, and should be classified under subheading 5903.90.20, HTSUSA. While the original laboratory report (614) found the fabric to be composed of 67% polyvinyl acetate and 33% woven nylon fibers, their analysis was based upon whether the fabric would qualify for a provision requiring over 60% by weight of plastics. Based upon the additional information supplied by the importer, the sample was re-analyzed in supplementary report (618) and found to be over 70% by weight of plastics. The discrepancy occurred because the sample also contained 4.5% by weight of magnesium silicate, a fine white powder commonly used as a filler. Plastics may contain fillers. See the General Explanatory Note to Chapter 39, at 553. While both laboratory reports incorporated the correct analyses and provided the correct responses to their respective questions presented, the supplementary report (618) allows re- classification of the merchandise under the protestant's alternative subheading. Accordingly, since the fabric meets the "visible to the naked eye" test of Note 2 to Chapter 59, it is classifiable as a man-made fabric with over 70% by weight of plastics.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 5903.90.2000, HTSUSA. The applicable rate of duty is 4.2 percent ad valorem. Since the classification we have independently arrived at has an applicable rate of duty less than the appraised duty but more than the claimed duty, you are instructed to deny this Protest, except to the extent reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above results in a partial allowance. A copy of this letter should be forwarded to protestant's counsel as part of the Notice of Action.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: