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HQ 956099

March 25,1994

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 956099 PR


TARIFF NO.: 5609.30.0000

Mr. Wayne H. Sweeney
A. N. Deringer Inc.
P.O. Box 284 Rte. 89
Highgate Springs, VT. 05460

RE: Modification of NY 894310; Classification of Pintlepin Assemblies; Assembly of Components Creates a Made Up Article; Applicability of NAFTA; Nonqualifying Component; De Minimis Rule Not Affected by Weight of Packaging

Dear Mr. Sweeney:

This is in reference to a ruling issued to you by our Area Director, New York Seaport, NY 894310, concerning the classification and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) status of pintlepin assemblies. That ruling was issued in response to your letter of January 24, 1994, forwarding a ruling request by L‚veill‚ et Fils Inc., on behalf of their client Donald Marchand. L‚veill‚ et Fils Inc. has requested that we review that ruling. This ruling is made pursuant to Part 181, Customs Regulations.


This office has not received a sample of the merchandise. However, a sample was available for examination when NY 894310 was issued and the following information is contained in that ruling.

The pintlepin assembly consists of a length of monofilament of polyetheretherketone ("peek") which is connected by a small piece of steel tubing to a length of stainless steel wire which comes to a point like a needle. The monofilament varies in length from 100 to 400 inches, and the stainless steel wire leader is the same length as the monofilament. The monofilament diameter ranges from 0.5 to 0.9 mm, and its linear density ranges from 2679 to 8349 decitex . . . these goods are used to close seams on "Dry Screens," which -2-
are felt belts used to filter water and pulp in the paper making industry. The metal leader and tubing is cut off and discarded after leading the monofilament through the seam of the felt or belt.

You indicate that the monofilament peek originates in England, that the wire originates in the NAFTA territory, and that the steel tubing which joins the two components originates in France. The assembly is made in Canada by soldering these three components together. It is wrapped on a plastic spool and packaged in a blister pack. Data submitted . . . shows that the monofilament peek constitutes 17% of the weight of the finished good.

In NY 894310, Customs ruled that the monofilament imparted the essential character to the pintlepin assembly and, therefore, it was classifiable under the provision for other synthetic monofilaments of 67 decitex or more, with no cross sectional dimension exceeding 1 mm, in subheading 5404.10.8080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). While the classification had not been requested, it was necessary to classify the pintlepin assembly in order to determine if it qualifies under NAFTA. NY 894310 ruled that the pintlepin assembly is not a NAFTA qualifying good.


L‚veill‚ et Fils believes that the merchandise is not classifiable under subheading 5404.10.8080. It is of the view that a pintlepin assembly is properly classifiable under the provision for articles of yarn, or strip or the like, of heading 5404 through 5405, in heading 5609, HTSUSA, because of Section XI Note 8, HTSUSA.

L‚veill‚ et Fils also asks whether the weight of a pintlepin assembly includes the plastic case in which it is packed. If it does, the weight of the monofilament is then less than seven percent of the article and it should not be considered due to the application of NAFTA's de minimis rule. Thus, in the view of L‚veill‚ et Fils, the goods are NAFTA qualifying and duty-free under subheading 9905.39.02, HTSUSA, which specifically provides for pintlepin assemblies.



Imported goods are classifiable according to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) of the Harmonized Tariff -3-

Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA). GRI 1 provides that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings in the tariff and according to any pertinent section or chapter notes. GRI 2(a) is not applicable in this situation. GRI 2(b) provides that a reference to a material in a heading shall be taken to include mixtures or combinations of that material with other materials and that any reference to goods of a given material shall be taken to include goods partly of that material; if goods consist of more than one material, then classification will be according to GRI 3. GRI 3(a) requires that where two or more headings describe the merchandise, the more specific will prevail; but if two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials in the goods, then classification will be by GRI 3(b). GRI 3(b) states that the material or component which imparts the essential character to the goods will determine their classification. In the event that the applicable headings are equally specific, or that no material or component imparts the essential character, then the goods are classifiable according to GRI 3(c) under the provision which occurs last in numerical order among those provisions being considered.

Section XI Note 7, HTSUSA, provides that the expression "made up" means, among other things, "Assembled by sewing, gumming or otherwise." Following this definition, pintlepin assemblies which consist of three components combined into a single unit are "made up".

Section XI Note 8 states, "Chapters 50 to 55 . . . do not apply to goods made up within the meaning of note 7 above." Accordingly, because subheading 5404.10.8080 is in chapter 54, pintlepin assemblies cannot be classified under that subheading.

Since pintlepin assemblies are made from three different materials and there is no eo nomine provision which specifically provides for pintlepin assemblies, pursuant to GRI 2(b), classification is determined by GRI 3.

Subheading 7326.20, HTSUSA, provides for other articles of steel wire and, as noted by the initiator of the ruling request, subheading 5609.00 provides for articles of yarn or strip of heading 5404. Thus, GRI 3(a) is not applicable because two or more headings each refer to part only of the pintlepin assemblies.

As stated above, under GRI 3(b), if one of the components or materials impart the essential character, that component or material determines the classification of the good. In this case, the wire and tubing are cut off and discarded after leading the monofilament through the seam of the felt or belt. Hence, it
is our view that the wire and tubing are present in the assembly merely to facilitate the installation of the monofilament, which is the only portion of the pintlepin assemblies that performs the intended function. As a result, it is the monofilament that imparts the essential character to the pintlepin assemblies and determines their classification. Accordingly, the pintlepin assemblies are properly classifiable in subheading 5609.00.3000, HTSUSA.


General Note 12, HTSUSA, which incorporates Article 401, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), into the HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part:

(b) For the purposes of this note, goods imported into the customs territory of the United States are eligible for the tariff treatment and quantitative limitations set forth in the tariff schedule as "goods originating in the territory of a NAFTA party" only if--

(i) they are goods wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of Canada, Mexico and/or the United States; or

(ii) they have been transformed in the territory of Canada, Mexico and/or the United States so

(A) except as provided in subdivision (f) of this note, each of the non-originating materials used in the production of such goods undergoes a change in tariff classification described in subdivisions (r), (s) and (t) of this note or the rules set forth therein, or

(B) the goods otherwise satisfy the applicable requirements of subdivisions (r), (s) and (t) where no change in tariff classification is required, and the goods satisfy all other requirements of this note; or

(iii) they are goods produced entirely in the territory of Canada, Mexico or the United States exclusively from originating materials.

Since the pintlepin assemblies are produced in Canada from materials of different countries (England, France, and a NAFTA country), they do not meet the eligibility requirements of General Notes 12(b)(i) or 12(b)(iii). -5-

Thus, in order to qualify under General Note 12(b), the materials must undergo the change in classification required by General Note 12(t). For goods classifiable under heading 5609, the rule is a change to that heading "from any other chapter, except . . . chapters 54 through 55." The pintlepin assemblies do not qualify under General Note 12(b)(ii) because the English monofilament, which would be classifiable in chapter 54 in its condition as imported into Canada, does not undergo the requisite change in tariff classification.

It is suggested that if the weight of the plastic packaging materials is considered, the weight of the monofilament becomes less than seven percent of the weight of the article and must be disregarded under General Note 12(f)(vi), HTSUSA,--the "de minimis" rule. Therefore, the monofilament is not required to undergo a required change in classification.

General Note 12(f)(vi), HTSUSA, provides:

(vi) A good provided for in chapters 50 through 63, inclusive, of this schedule that does not originate because certain fibers or yarns used in the production of the component of the good that determines the tariff classification of the good do not undergo an applicable change in tariff classification, provided for in subdivisions (r), (s) and (t) of this note, shall nonetheless be considered to originate if the total weight of all such fibers or yarns in that component is not more than 7 percent of the total weight of that component. (underscoring added)

The "de minimis" rule is not applicable to the pintlepin assemblies for the following reasons.

1. Since the monofilament comprises 100 percent of the component which imparts the essential character to the goods, and which, therefore, determines the classification of those goods, General Note 12(f)(vi), by its terms, is not applicable.

2. The plastic packaging is not considered in this instance because of the applicability of General Note 12(j), HTSUSA, which provides, in pertinent part:

Packaging materials and containers for retail sale. Packaging materials and containers in which a good is packaged for retail sale shall, if classified with the good, be disregarded in determining whether all the non-originating materials used in the production of the good undergo the applicable change in tariff classification set out in subdivision (t) of this note. (italics added) -6-

The wording of General Note 12(j) makes it clear that packaging materials and containers can not be used to defeat the applicability of the tariff shift rules contained in General Note

Accordingly, the plastic packaging is disregarded when determining whether the nonoriginating textile monofilament undergoes the tariff shift required by General Note 12(t).


A. The pintlepin assemblies, which are made from textile monofilaments, steel wire, and steel tubing, are properly classifiable under the provision for articles of yarn, strip or the like of heading 5404 or 5405, in subheading 5609.00.3000, HTSUSA.

B. The pintlepin assemblies, which contain materials from two non-NAFTA countries, one of which does not comply with the tariff shift requirements of General Note 12(t), do not qualify for tariff preference under NAFTA.

Advance ruling requests concerning the applicability of NAFTA to imported goods are subject to the procedures set out in Sections 181.91-181.101, Customs Regulations. Since we find the classification portion of NY 894310 to be incorrect, pursuant to Section 181.100(b)(1)(i)(B), Customs Regulations (C.R.), NY 894310 is modified to reflect the analyses and findings set out in this ruling.

This modification is not retroactive. However, the classification portion of NY 894310 will not be valid for importations of the subject merchandise arriving in the United States after the date of this notice. If it can be shown that you relied on NY 894310 to your detriment, you may apply to this office for relief.


John Durant, Director

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