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HQ 956929

May 23, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:F 956929 RC


TARIFF NO.: 5603.00.9090

Mr. Patrick E. Mines
P. Mines
28 Princess Street
P.O. Box 1197
Fort Erie, Ontario L2A 5Y2

RE: Classification of coconut fiber pads

Dear Mr. Mines:

This is in response to your letter, on behalf of your client, Direct Marketing P.G. Inc., dated August 16, 1994, in which you request a binding classification ruling for coconut fiber mats.

The subject merchandise consists of pads made from coconut fibers. They are to be used in the manufacture of furniture seats to replace foam pads. The pads, manufactured in Sri Lanka, are made from the external covering of the coconut. The compressed pads will be of various sizes and thicknesses. You submitted a sample approximately six by nine inches and about one quarter inch thick. You describe the pads as having been "obtained from the external covering of the coconut. These fibers are coarse, brittle and brown in color, and measure in excess of 5 mm in length."


What is the correct classification of the coconut fiber pads under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) taken in their appropriate order provide a framework for classification of merchandise under the HTSUS. Most imported 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.

Heading 5305, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, coconut fibers (coir), raw or processed but not spun. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, they facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs. It has therefore been the practice of the U.S. Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the ENs when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The EN to heading 53.05 states "the vegetable textile fibres classified here include: ... coconut fibres (coir) ... obtained from the external covering of the nut, ... coarse, brittle and brown in color. They are classified here whether in the mass or in bundles." As such, the coconut fibers, present in the pad material, are textile fibers for tariff purposes.

The EN to heading 5601 notes, in part, "wadding treated with an agglutinating substance and in which that substance has penetrated into the inner layers is classified as a non-woven in heading 56.03, even if the fibres of the inner layers are readily separable." There appears to be an agglutinating substance in the coconut fiber pads. There also appears to be needling involved in the manufacturing operation of these pads. However, we note EN 56.02 states "needled webs of staple fibers in which the needling is complimentary to other types of bonding and needled filament based webs are regarded as non-wovens (heading 56.03)."

Accordingly, we find the fiber pads fall into subheading 5603.00.9090, HTSUS, the provision for non-wovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated, of staple fibers.


We find that the coconut fiber pads are classifiable in subheading 5603.00.9090, HTSUS, as "Non-wovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated: Other: Other, Other non-wovens, whether or not impregnated, coated or covered: Other: Of staple fibers." The applicable rate of duty is 10 percent ad valorem.

Articles classifiable in subheading 5603.00.9090, HTSUSA, fall within the textile category designation 223. Visa and quota requirements may apply to the subject merchandise as a product of Sri Lanka.. The Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), issued by Customs, provides current and vital information in this regard.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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