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HQ 958462

November 2, 1995
CO:R:C:T 958462 SK


TARIFF NO.: 5903.90.2500

Rafael Quiroz, Jr.
International Customs Services
7100 San Bernardo, Suite 307
P.O. Box 3259
Laredo, TX 78044

RE: Classification of coated fabric; Note 2(a)(1) to Chapter 59; heading 5903, HTSUSA; coating visible if separable from underlying fabric; HRL 953937 (12/17/93); 956772 (12/9/94); 953937

Dear Mr. Quiroz:

This is in response to your letter of September 20, 1995, in which you request a binding classification ruling for four weights of woven coated fabric. Your request is made on behalf of four importers: Marino Technologies of Opa-Locka, Florida; Ricketts Bags of Tampa, Florida; Polytex Fibers of Houston, Texas; and Dewitt Co. of Sikestown, Missouri. With the exception of the 5.0 ounce fabric, these same fabrics were the subject of Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 956946, issued to you on behalf of your client, Cady Bag Co. of Pearson, Georgia, on April 6, 1995. Coated and uncoated samples of each fabric weight were submitted to this office for examination.


The subject merchandise consists of four different weights of woven fabric made of polypropylene material that is laminated on one side with a thin, clear film of polypropylene plastic. The specifications of the subject materials are as follows:


100% Polypropylene Material

3.0 oz. 10.2 x 10.2 threads/inch

6.5 oz. 12.0 x 11.2 threads/inch

5.0 oz. 11.8 x 10.0 threads/inch

8.5 oz. 13.0 x 13.0 threads/inch


3.0 oz. coating = 21 grams/square meter fabric = 91 grams/square meter
5.0 oz. coating = 37 grams/square meter fabric = 200 grams/square meter

6.5 oz. coating = 21 grams/square meter fabric = 250 grams/square meter
8.5 oz. coating = 21 grams/square meter fabric = 277 grams/square meter

3.0 oz. = 112 grams/square meter

5.0 oz. = 237 grams/square meter

6.5 oz. = 271 grams/square meter

8.5 oz. = 298 grams/square meter

Samples of all four fabric weights were submitted to this office in both their coated and uncoated states. The strips of all materials, both coated and uncoated, are
of a high saturation white hue with shiny surface. The strips are somewhat translucent and have been crimped or folded from wider widths giving them a certain degree of thickness.


Whether the coating on the subject fabrics is visible to the naked eye so as to warrant classification under heading 5903, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied in the order of their appearance.

Heading 5903, HTSUSA, provides for "[T]extile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902." Chapter Note 2(a)(1) to Chapter 59 states that heading 5903 precludes:

"[F]abrics in which the impregnation, coating or covering cannot be seen with the naked eye (usually chapters 50 to 55, 58 or 60); for the purpose of this provision, no account should be taken of any resulting change of color."

As noted supra, heading 5903 provides for only those fabrics which are visibly coated. If, upon unaided visual examination, there is the suggestion of the presence of plastic coating, it is then within Customs' discretion to examine the fabric under magnification. See HRL 082644 of March 2, 1990.

The sole criterion upon which Customs is to determine whether fabric is coated for purposes of classification under heading 5903, HTSUSA, is based on visibility: fabric is coated and is classifiable in this heading if the plastic coating is visible to the naked eye. This standard does not allow the examiner to take the "effects" of plastic coating into account. Plastic coating will often result in a change of color, or increase
a fabric's stiffness; these are factors which, while indicative of the presence of plastic, may not be taken into account in determining whether the plastic itself is visible to the naked eye.

In the instant analysis, examination of the subject fabrics yields the finding that they are visibly coated with plastic. The translucent plastic laminate is manually separable from the underlying woven polypropylene strip on all four of the subject fabrics. It is on this basis that Customs deems the subject fabrics visibly coated.


The four fabric weights at issue are classifiable under subheading 5903.90.2500, HTSUSA, which provides for "[T]extile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902: other: of man-made fibers: other: other," dutiable at a rate of 8.4 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 229.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 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 updated weekly and is available for inspection at a local Customs office.

Due to the nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact a local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

All future requests for binding classification rulings concerning plastic coated fabrics should be accompanied by samples of the subject fabric in both its coated and uncoated states. Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals Division

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