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HQ 956772

December 9, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956772 GG


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9590

Ms. Dorie Peper
Import Manager
P.O. Box 55326
Houston, TX 77255-5326

RE: Classification of tents made from plastic coated woven textile fabric and steel frame

Dear Ms. Peper:

This is in response to your request of June 23, 1994, for a ruling on the tariff classification of tents made in China and Taiwan.


The merchandise at issue is two tents, each consisting of a steel frame covered on the top and down the four legs by textile fabrics woven from polyethylene strips each under 5 millimeters in width. The fabrics are coated on both sides with a thin translucent plastic layer. The plastic coating on the fabric of the tent made in Taiwan is blue; blue and white coatings encase the material used in the tents of Chinese origin. The sides of the tents are open to the elements. The importer describes the tents as arbors.


How are the tents properly classified?


Articles are classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA)in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's.

Heading 6306, HTSUSA, specifically provides for tents.

However, the tents currently under consideration cannot be classified under this heading, because Chapter 63 falls under Section XI of the HTSUSA, and Note 1(h) to Section XI excludes woven fabrics coated with plastics, or articles thereof, of Chapter 39. As we shall see, the tents are articles of woven fabrics covered with plastics, classifiable under Chapter 39.

Precluded from classification as a tent under heading 6306, HTSUSA, the arbors, which are made up from plastic coated woven polyethylene fabric and steel frames, must be treated as a composite good. GRI 2(b) directs that merchandise consisting of more than one material or substance is to be classified according to the principles of GRI 3.

GRI 3(a) provides that each heading will be considered equally specific when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in composite goods. The steel frames are structures of iron or steel of heading 7308, HTSUSA. Two separate provisions must be examined in determining under which heading the textile component of the arbors falls.

Heading 5903, HTSUSA, covers textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902 [tire cord fabric]. Chapter Note 2(a)(3) excludes from heading 5903 products with textile fabric coated on both sides with plastics, provided that the coating can be seen with the naked eye. The note places such products in Chapter 39.

Chapter 39 of the HTSUSA covers plastics and articles thereof. The General Explanatory Note to this chapter provides, in pertinent part, the following:

Plastics and textile combinations

... [T]he classification of plastics and textile combinations is essentially governed by Note 1(h) to Section XI ... The following products are also covered by this Chapter:

(b) Textile fabrics and nonwovens, either completely embedded in plastics or entirely coated or covered on both sides with such material, provided that such coating or covering can be seen with the naked eye with no account being taken of any resulting change of color;

In determining whether a plastic coating is visible to the naked eye, no account should be taken of any resulting change in color, reflectivity, fabric stiffness, or other property which causes the viewer to see the effect rather than the presence of plastic material. See HRL 084165, dated June 26, 1989; HRL 089548, dated October 17, 1991; and HRL 953937, dated December 17, 1993. However, in the instant analysis it is apparent upon examination of the subject fabrics that they are visibly coated on both sides with plastic. The translucent plastic laminate is easily separated, by hand, from the underlying woven polyethylene strip, and visibility is based on this factor.

The applicable heading within Chapter 39 for the textile component of the tent is heading 3926, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastic and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914. Resort must be made to GRI 3(b) because headings 3926 and 7308, HTSUSA, refer to part only of the materials contained in the arbors, therefore, they are equally specific.

GRI 3(b) provides that classification is to be determined by the material or component that imparts the essential character to the good. Previously, we have concluded that the protection from the elements provided by a tent's covering is a more significant factor than the support to the structure given by the metal frame in determining essential character. See HRL 086548, dated April 12, 1990. Accordingly, the plastic coated fabric confers the essential character to the tents under consideration.

In accordance with GRI 3(b), the tents are classifiable as articles of plastic under heading 3926, HTSUSA.


The tents are classifiable as other articles of plastic and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914, other, other, other, under subheading 3926.90.9590, HTSUSA, dutiable at the rate of 5.3% ad valorem. They are not subject to a textile category. Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant
Director, Commercial

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