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HQ 955451

December 28, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 955451 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 3917.32.0050

Mr. Michael Veny
Walker International Transportation, Inc. 182-16 147th Avenue, Suite 201
Jamaica, New York 11413-3711

RE: Plastic Drinking Straws; Not Other Household Articles of Plastics

Dear Mr. Veny:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of October 11, 1993, on behalf of your client, Tibus, Inc., concerning the tariff classification of various types of drinking straws, to be imported from South Korea, Japan, and Germany. Samples of four different types of straws were submitted with your inquiry.


Each type of sample consists of from three to six straws of a particular shape and size, individually wrapped in thin plastic film and attached to a card which describes the particular item number, dimensions, style name, etc. The straws (and film) are comprised of polypropylene resin, and measure between 98 and 150 mm. in length, and between 4 and 6 mm. in diameter. The items will be sold to beverage companies, which in turn will affix a straw to each cardboard carton of beverage sold at retail.


Whether the plastic drinking straws are classified in heading 3924, HTSUSA, as other household articles of plastics; or in heading 3917, HTSUSA, as tubes, pipes and hoses of plastics.


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.

Chapter 39, HTSUSA, covers plastics and articles thereof. Heading 3924, HTSUSA, provides for "Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics." Although the EN to heading 3924 mentions a wide array of plastic articles covered by the heading, only funnels approximate the functional properties of a drinking straw.

Heading 3917, HTSUSA, provides for "Tubes, pipes and hoses and fittings therefor (for example, joints, elbows, flanges), of plastics." Note 8 to Chapter 39 states in pertinent part that:

"[f]or purposes of heading 3917, the expression "tubes, pipes and hoses" means hollow products, whether semimanufactures or finished products, of a kind generally used for conveying, conducting or distributing gases or liquids (for example, ribbed garden hose, perforated tubes).

The EN to heading 3917 indicates that the tubes, pipes and hoses covered by the heading may be rigid or flexible.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952264, issued November 25, 1992, this office considered the tariff classification of plastic sports beverage bottles and their components, including plastic, reusable, drinking straws, eleven inches in length. We noted that, while drinking straws are not part of the category of merchandise known in the trade as tubes, the straws met the definition set out above in Note 8 to Chapter 39, being hollow products of a kind used to conduct liquids. The straws were found to be covered by heading 3917, HTSUSA.

Although in this case, the drinking straws are not intended for reuse, we do not find the distinction to be significant for purposes of classification within heading 3917. Therefore, the plastic drinking straws are classified in subheading 3917.32.0050, HTSUSA.


The plastic (polypropylene resin) drinking straws are classified in subheading 3917.32.0050, HTSUSA, the provision for "Tubes, pipes and hoses and fittings therefor (for example, joints, elbows, flanges), of plastics: Other tubes, pipes and hoses: Other, not reinforced or otherwise combined with other materials, without fittings, Other." The applicable duty rate is 3.1 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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