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HQ 953020

May 6, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953020 CC


TARIFF NO.: 4504.10.5000

Richard Foster
District Director of Customs
610 S. Canal St.
Chicago, IL 60607

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3901-92-101026; cork cylinders

Dear Mr. Foster:

This protest was filed against your decision in the liquidation of an entry involving the importation of cork cylinders produced in Portugal.


The merchandise at issue is cylinders that consist of ground cork and a binding substance. The cork cylinders are manufactured in Portugal from cork that has been ground into granules of uniform sizes and then combined with binders. The mixed material is then poured into cylindrical molds and cured under heat and pressure. The cylinders generally have a diameter of 39 inches and a height of 30 to 52 inches. A 6-inch hole runs through the center of each cylinder to allow for mounting onto a splitting machine.

The entry covering the cork cylinders was liquidated under subheading 4504.10.5000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The protestant claims that this merchandise is classifiable under subheading 4502.00.0000, HTSUSA.


Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable in Heading 4502, HTSUSA, or in Heading 4504, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 4502, HTSUSA, provides for natural cork, debacked or roughly squared, or in rectangular (including square) blocks, plates, sheets or strip (including sharp-edged blanks for corks or stoppers). According to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, at page 648, Heading 4502 covers natural cork slabs: 1) with the whole of the back (outer bark) sawn or otherwise removed from the outer surface (debacked cork); or 2) with the outer (bark) and inner (tree) surfaces sawn or otherwise cut so as to be approximately parallel (roughly squared cork).

Heading 4504, HTSUSA, provides for agglomerated cork (with or without a binding substance) and articles of agglomerated cork. The Explanatory Notes state at page 649 that agglomerated cork is manufactured by agglomerating crushed, granulated or ground cork generally under heat and pressure either: 1) with an added binding substance (e.g., unvulcanized rubber, glue, plastics, tar, gelatin); or 2) without an added binding substance at a temperature of about 300 degrees centigrade. In this latter case the natural gum in the cork acts as a binder.

The merchandise at issue is ground cork agglomerated by adding a binding substance and heat and pressure. This merchandise clearly meets the definition of agglomerated cork contained in the Explanatory Notes. Consequently the merchandise at issue is classifiable in Heading 4504.


The merchandise at issue is classified under subheading 4504.10.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for agglomerated cork (with or without a binding substance) and articles of agglomerated cork: blocks, plates, sheets and strip; tiles of any shape; solid cylinders, including disks: other. The rate of duty is 18 percent ad valorem.

The protest should be denied. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director

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