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 0956476 - HQ 0956632 > HQ 0956484

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 956484

August 19, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 956484 NL


TARIFF NO.: 4008.21.0000; 4016.99.6050; 5906.99.2000; 6307.90.9989

Mr. James L. Gregory
C.F. Liebert, Inc. Customs Brokers
# 8 12th Street
P.O. Box 1890
Blaine, WA 98231-1890

RE: Classification for Unassembled Parts for "Zodiac" Inflatable Boat; GRI 2(a); Vulcanized Rubber; Rubberized Textile Material

Dear Mr. Gregory:

This is in reply to your letter dated January 17, 1994, in which you requested a ruling on the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of certain cut pieces of coated fabric used to assemble an inflatable boat. The request was on behalf of Zodiac Hurricane Technologies, Inc. Pursuant to the request of the Area Director, New York Seaport, your client provided supplementary information and samples by letters dated April 7 and April 27, 1994.


The imported merchandise consists of all the cut pieces of coated fabric required to assemble a 10 man model F470 "Zodiac" inflatable boat. This type of craft is principally used by the military. After importation the parts will be assembled, mainly by gluing, trimming, honing and buffing, to complete the boat in the U.S. Other parts, including the floorboards, transom, valves, D rings, lifelines and handles will be supplied and delivered separately to the place of assembly. According to the supplementary information, assembly requires 34 hours of labor.

The three sample fabrics which comprise the shell of the inflatable boat are made from textile fabric coated on one side with hypalon, known in the trade as a synthetic rubber, and on the other side with neoprene. The sample fabrics, varying in weight, are designated as FB 20207, FB 30015, and FB 30010.

You submit that the imported article is classifiable pursuant to subheading 8906.00.9090, HTSUS, which provides for: "Other vessels, including warships and lifeboats other than row boats: Other, Other."


Whether the imported article is classifiable as an unassembled vessel of heading 8906, or as a coated textile fabric.


Classification under the HTSUS 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 HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

GRI 2(a) states:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also be taken to include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), presented unassembled or disassembled.

The EN for GRI 2(b) states, at paragraph (VII):

For the purposes of this Rule, "articles presented unassembled or disassembled" means articles the components of which are to be assembled either by means of simple fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by riveting or welding, for example, provided only simple assembly operations are involved.

In this case we cannot agree with your claim that the imported cut fabric may be classified as an unassembled vessel. The technical complexity of the assembly process, and the time required to accomplish it, indicate that the assembly process is more than a simple one. Although the fabric is undoubtedly an important constituent of a finished inflatable boat, it does not alone impart the essential character of an inflatable boat. The transom, floor, valves, and other items which are not imported with the fabric are needed before the unassembled article could be considered to have the essential character of a boat. Moreover, we find it doubtful even if all these constituents were imported together that the boat could be considered merely unassembled, as the labor needed to impart the boat's dimensions and characteristics includes gluing at least 50 pieces of fabric (as well as buffing, trimming, and honing) to close tolerances.

Accordingly, the imported fabric pieces must be classified individually. Classification of this fabric must take into account all three of its constituents: Hypalon, which is considered a plastics material of Chapter 39, HTSUS; Neoprene, which is a synthetic rubber of Chapter 40, HTSUS, and the inner fabric (assumed to be man-made) of Part XI (Textiles).

The notes and ENs to Chapters 39 and 40 include no guidelines for the classification of textile fabrics coated on one side with plastic and on the other with synthetic rubber. Notwithstanding the presence of the Hypalon plastic material, we believe such fabrics may be classified as "rubberized textile fabrics" within the meaning of note 4 to Chapter 59. This note defines "rubberized textile fabrics" of heading 5906 as including textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with rubber, weighing not more than 1500 grams per square meter or, if weighing more more than 1500 grams per square meter, containing more than 50 percent by weight of textile material.

Analysis of the three samples indicates rubberized material of varying weights. Samples FB 20207 and FB 30015 appear to weigh less than 1500 grams per square meter, while sample FB 30010 appears both to weigh more and to contain less than 50 percent by weight of textile material. Thus, Samples FB 20207 and FB 30015 are classifiable in heading 5906, HTSUS, pursuant to Note 4 of Chapter 59, while Sample FB 30010 appears to be a rubber material of Chapter 40.

However, the materials of samples FB 20207 and FB 30015 will be articles of heading 5906 only to the extent that they are in the form of cut pieces in squares and rectangles. Otherwise, if they are further shaped or worked, they will be classifiable in Chapter 63 as other made up textile articles; specifically, subheading 6307, which provides for other made up textile articles.

The pieces of sample FB 30010 are classifiable in chapter 40, at heading 4008.21, which provides for plates, sheets and strip of vulcanized noncellular rubber other than hard rubber. Sheets which have been further worked and shaped are classifiable in heading 4016, which provides for other articles of vulcanized rubber.


The cut and shaped pieces of rubberized textile materials used to assemble an inflatable boats are classified as follows: Squares and rectangles of fabrics FB 20207 and FB 30015 are classified in subheading 5906.99.2000, HTSUS, if containing more than 70 percent by weight of rubber, with duty of 4.2 percent ad valorem; or in subheading 5906.99.2500 if containing 70 percent or less by weight of rubber, with a duty of 8.5 percent ad valorem. If products of France, products of this subheading are not subject to textile restraints at this time. Pieces of Fabrics FB 20207 and FB 30015 which are further worked or shaped beyond cutting into squares and rectangles are classified in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUS, with duty of 7 percent ad valorem. The fabric of sample FB 30010 is classified in subheading 4008.21.0000, HTSUS, with a duty of 3.4 percent ad valorem. If such sheets are worked or shaped further than cutting into square or rectangular shapes, they are classified in subheading 4016.99.6050, HTSUS, with a duty of 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant
Director, Commercial

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: