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HQ 956875

February 6, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956875 SK


TARIFF NO.: 4818.20.0040

Tien-Chin Liang Lou
Verseau International
240 East 76th ST., #3M
New York, N.Y. 10021

RE: Modification of HRL 955790 (2/17/94); classification of a cosmetic wipe; lab test reveals cosmetic wipe to be over 75 percent by weight of pulp fibers; 4818.20.0040, HTSUSA.

Dear Sir:

On February 17, 1994, this office issued you Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 955790 in which Customs classified a cosmetic wipe under subheading 5603.00.9090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Since the issuance of that ruling, this office has been made aware of a factual error which has the effect of changing the classification of the subject merchandise. Accordingly, HRL 955790 is hereby modified and our analysis follows.


The articles at issue are "cosmetic puffs" or "cosmetic wipes," and are generally used for removing make-up. The individual wipes are sheets of tissue-like material, measuring approximately 2 inches by 6 inches, but folded in half to measure approximately 2 inches by 3 inches. The wipes are made from Japanese raw material which is cut to size and put up in 90-count packages in Taiwan.

In HRL 955790, these products were classified in subheading 5603.00.9090, HTSUSA, as nonwoven textiles. This classification was based on the erroneous assumption that the cosmetic wipes consisted of a blend of cotton and rayon textile fibers.

Since the issuance of HRL 955790, another sample of the subject merchandise was submitted to the Customs laboratory for fiber analysis. The lab test revealed that the cosmetic
wipes consisted of over 75 percent bleached pulp fibers and less than 25 percent textile fibers by weight.


Whether the subject cosmetic wipes are classifiable under subheading 5603.00.9090, HTSUSA, as nonwoven textiles, or under subheading 4818.20.0040, HTSUSA, which provides for handkerchiefs, cleansing or facial tissues, of paper pulp?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's.

Heading 4818, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, cleansing tissues of paper pulp. As a Customs laboratory report yields the finding that the subject merchandise is composed of over 75 percent pulp fibers, and the cosmetic wipes or "puffs" are "cleansing or facial tissues," classification is proper within this heading.

We further note that the change in the tariff classification of the cosmetic wipes does not affect the conclusion in HRL 955790 regarding the country of origin of the wipes for marking purposes. We have consistently held that cutting materials to defined shapes or patterns suitable for use in making finished articles, as opposed to mere cutting to length and/or width which does not render the article suitable for a particular use, constitutes a substantial transformation. In this case, the essential character and use of the cosmetic wipe material is predetermined prior to the processing performed in Taiwan. Thus, the country of origin of the wipes is the country in which the material is formed -- Japan.


HRL 955790 is modified.

The cosmetic wipes are classifiable under subheading 4818.20.0040, HTSUSA, which provides for, in part, other cleansing or facial tissues and towels, of paper pulp, dutiable at a rate of 4.8 percent ad valorem.

In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days from its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625
does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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