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 0954486 - HQ 0954637 > HQ 0954628

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 954628

March 22, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954628 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 4601.99.0000

Mr. James Spangler
Import Manager
H.T. Ardinger & Son Co.
P.O. Box 569360
Dallas, Texas 75356-9360

RE: Revocation of NYRL 874310; warp-knit ribbon with inserted metalized strips; headings 4601 and 6002; Legal Notes 1 and 3 to Chapter 46; Explanatory Notes to Chapters 46 and 60

Dear Mr. Spangler:

On May 18, 1992, Customs issued to you New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 874310, which classified a warp-knit ribbon with inserted metalized strips under subheading 6002.20.9000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the Unites States (HTSUS). Upon review, we are of the opinion that the classification of this product was incorrect and this ruling revokes that classification. Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter section 625), notice of the proposed revocation of NYRL 874310 was published on February 16, 1994, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 7.


The article at issue, sample R-129, is a decorative ribbon- type material measuring 5.3 centimeters in width. The fiber content of the ribbon is 80% polyester and 20% polypropylene, which will be sold in 10 foot rolls. The material is of warp-knit construction, in which the knitting machine has formed six parallel tracks of tightly knitted stitches running the length of the material. Between these six tracks are five parallel areas of open-work knitting, resembling ties between railroad tracks.

Inserted into these five open-work areas, apparently during the knitting process, are five metalized extruded strips. We assume that these strips are of polyester, coated with a fine metal film. Two of these extruded strips are 5 millimeters wide and three of them are 11 millimeters wide; they run the length of the material and completely fill the open-work spaces between the six tracks.

All of the stitching on the face of the material was done with metalized yarn, while the stitching on the back of the material was done with plain monofilament. The metalized and monofilament yarns wrap around metal wires along each of the two fast edges of the material.

NYRL 874310 classified this ribbon in subheading 6002.20.9000, HTSUS, which provides for "[o]ther knitted or crocheted fabrics: [o]ther, of a width not exceeding 30 cm: [o]ther: [o]ther." The rate of duty is 7.5% ad valorem and the textile category code is 899.

We submitted the ribbon to the New York Customs Laboratory for analysis. The lab found that the ribbon has the following composition, by weight, exclusive of metal wire:

Textile: 75.2% (metallic yarn, monofilament and strips under 5 mm in width)

Strips over 5 mm in width: 24.8%


What is the tariff classification of a warp-knit ribbon with inserted metalized strips under the HTSUS?


The classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), 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. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

There are two competing HTSUS headings under which this ribbon is potentially classifiable. The first heading we will consider is heading 4601, HTSUS, which provides for "[p]laits and similar products of plaiting materials, whether or not assembled into strips; plaiting materials, plaits and similar products of plaiting materials, bound together in parallel strands or woven, in sheet form, whether or not being finished articles (for example, mats, matting, screens)". Legal Note 1 to Chapter 46, HTSUS, states the following:

In this chapter the expression "plaiting materials" means materials in a state or form suitable for plaiting, interlacing or similar processes; it includes. . . monofilament and strip and the like of plastics. . . , but not. . . monofilament and strip and the like of chapter 54.

In addition, Legal Note 3 to Chapter 46, HTSUS, states the following: "For the purposes of heading 4601, the expression 'plaiting materials, plaits and similar products of plaiting materials, bound together in parallel strands' means plaiting materials, plaits and similar products of plaiting materials, placed side by side and bound together, in the form of sheets, whether or not the binding materials are of spun textile materials."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. The General EN to Chapter 46 states the following on page 651:

In addition to articles of loofah, this Chapter covers semi-manufactured products (heading 46.01) and certain articles (46.01 and 46.02) made by interlacing, weaving or by similar methods of assembling unspun materials, particularly:

(3) Monofilament and strip and the like of plastics of Chapter 39 (but not monofilament of which no cross-sectional dimension exceeds 1 mm nor strip or the like of an apparent width not exceeding 5 mm, of man-made textile materials, of Chapter 54).

Moreover, the ENs to heading 4601 state, in pertinent part, on page 653, that goods made by binding parallel strands of plaiting materials may be bound by plaiting material, textile yarn or some other material.

Legal Note 1 to Chapter 46, HTSUS, when read in conjunction with the General EN to Chapter 46 cited above makes it clear that Chapter 46 encompasses strips of plastics with apparent widths above 5 mm, suitable for plaiting and interlacing. The ribbon at issue here is described by the above notes. It is made of plaiting material consisting of the metalized plastic strips over 5 millimeters in width and they are bound together in parallel strands, in the form of sheets, using a monofilament.

The second possible heading to consider is heading 6002, HTSUS, which provides for "[o]ther knitted or crocheted fabrics". While the subject ribbon has clearly been manufactured on a knitting machine, the question is whether this fabric meets the definition of "other knitted or crocheted fabrics" as intended under heading 6002, HTSUS.

The ENs to Chapter 60, page 826, state that "[t]he headings of this Chapter cover knitted or crocheted fabrics, regardless of which of the textiles of Section XI are used to make the goods..." The fabric in question is a warp-knit fabric and subheading 6002.43.0000, HTSUS, provides for warp knit fabrics of man-made fibers. In addition, the filament yarn, which is one of the components of this fabric, is provided for under either heading 5402 or 5404 and is therefore a textile component. The strips not exceeding 5 mm in width would be classified under heading 5404, HTSUS, if imported separately, and would also be considered a textile component. The only components that could be in question are the 11 millimeter strips. See, Legal Note 1(g) to Section XI.

Moreover, General Explanatory Note (A)(II) to Chapter 60, page 825, states that "[w]arp knits consist of a number of threads running in the direction of the warp (i.e., along the length of the fabric) each thread forming loops interlocking alternatively with loops in rows to left and right." This also describes the ribbon at hand. Thus, because the fabric is made on a knitting machine and some of the component materials (the monofilament and the 5 millimeter strips) are textiles, the fabric could be classified under heading 6002 as other knitted fabric.

The ribbon in question is a good consisting partly of plaiting material and partly of knitted textile material. Therefore, it is prima facie classifiable under heading 4601, HTSUS, and heading 6002, HTSUS, respectively. GRI 2(b) states that:

(b) . . . Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

As the ribbon consists of more than one material, the principles set forth in GRI 3 are to be utilized to render a final classification determination.

GRI 3(a) states the following:

When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods. . . , those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to the goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

In heading 6002, HTSUS, the term "knitted fabrics", since it names a particular type of construction and a particular type of article would appear to provide a specific description. Similarly, under heading 4601, HTSUS, the term "plaiting materials. . . bound together in parallel strands" describes both a type of construction and a type of article and is a specific description of this product. Therefore, as both headings specifically describe the type of construction (knitted or bound together) and the type of article (fabric or material) they are equally specific in describing this ribbon. Therefore, we cannot resort to GRI 3(a) in classifying this ribbon. We look to GRI 3(b), which provides the following:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Regarding "essential character", EN VIII to GRI 3(b), page 4, states that:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In making the essential character determination, we can ignore the textile filaments and metalized yarns as they can be considered either part of the plaiting (since they serve to bind the plaiting substance as per the EN to Chapter 46) or part of the knitted fabric. The three wide strips constitute 33 millimeters in total width, while the two 5 millimeter strips constitute 10 millimeters in total width. Since the ribbon is primarily decorative in use, its appearance is the primary factor in determining its essential character. The dominant visual impression is provided by the wide strips, since they constitute significantly more of the surface area of the ribbon than do the narrower strips. Therefore, the plaiting material provides the essential character and this ribbon is classifiable under subheading 4601.99.0000, HTSUS.


The ribbon is classifiable under subheading 4601.99.0000, HTSUS, which provides for "[p]laits and similar products of plaiting materials, whether or not assembled into strips; plaiting materials, plaits and similar products of plaiting materials, bound together in parallel strands or woven, in sheet form, whether or not being finished articles (for example, mats, matting, screens): [o]ther: [o]ther. The rate of duty is 3.36% ad valorem.

NYRL 874310 hereby is revoked.

In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days from it publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: