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NY 888157

September 23, 1993

CLA-2-56:S:N:N6:350 888157


TARIFF NO.: 5603.00.9050

Mr. Rufus E. Jarman, Jr.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

RE: The tariff classification of paper/man-made fiber material, from Taiwan.

Dear Mr. Jarman:

In your letters dated July 7 and 14, 1993, on behalf of The Hansen Paper Company, you requested a classification ruling.

The subject merchandise, which was not identified as to style or quality number, is a composite material made from a layer of wood pulp paper and a layer of a nonwoven textile material that have been hydroentangled together to form a single fabric. You state that the product consists, by weight, of approximately 57.3 percent paper pulp and 42.7 percent textile (approximately 16.11 percent rayon and 26.59 percent polyester). It is indicated that the weight of the material is 75 g/m.sq. and will be imported in rolls that typically range from 100 cm to 165 cm in width and a linear length in excess of 1,000 meters. Some of the material will be treated with a water repellency chemical and the product will come in a variety of colors, including white and blue. You do not indicate the end use for this material, but it is of the kind used in hospitals and clean rooms to make surgical drapes, gowns and similar disposable products.

You believe that the treated material should be classified as a coated or impregnated paper under HTS subheading 4811.90.80 and the untreated material under HTS subheading 4805.60.90 as an other untreated paper. To this end you cite the Explanatory Notes to chapter 48 regarding mixtures of wood pulp and textile fibers, and HRL's 081976 and 084024. However, the materials, which were the subject of these two Headquarters rulings, were made from a single slurry mixture of wood pulp and textile fiber, both in chief weight of wood pulp.

You also refer to HRL 086629, in which products were classified as textile articles not only because the textile fibers predominated in weight, but that Headquarters considered the textile to impart the essential character to the material. The "Sontara" material of this Headquarters ruling is similar in construction to the material under consideration - a layer of paper and a layer of textile hydroentangled together. In this situation, because of the method of construction, component weight is not a
prime consideration and we look to see which component imparts the essential character to the material.

We consider that both components (counter to the position expressed in HRL 086629) equally contribute to the overall specifications and performance of the subject material. Since neither component imparts the essential character to the material, we refer to General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3 (c), which states:

When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3 (a) or 3 (b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

Between HTS headings 4805, 4811 and 5603, heading 5603 appears last.

This is Headquarters position expressed in their ruling letter 084362 of August 11, 1989. The therein subject material, also Sontara, consisted, by weight, of 55 percent wood pulp and 45 percent polyester, plus or minus 2 percent for both components. This position of equal essential character has been consistently followed for material of this type of construction.

Following GRI 3 (c) we consider this material to be classified under subheading 5603.00.9050, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated, obtained by mechanical entanglement, of staple fibers. The duty rate will be 12.5 percent ad valorem.

This merchandise falls within textile category designation 223. Based upon international textile trade agreements, products of Taiwan are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa..

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

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.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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