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HQ 958702

March 19, 1996
RR:TC:TE 958702 SK


TARIFF NO.: 5903.90.2500

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

RE: Revocation of NYRL 891702 (11/19/93); classification of coated fabric; Note 2(a)(1) to Chapter 59; heading 5903, HTSUSA; coating rendered visible to the naked eye if manually separable from underlying fabric.

Dear Mr. Quiroz:

On November 19, 1993, the New York port issued you New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 891702 in which Customs classified three different weights of coated fabric under subheading 5407.20.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Upon reconsideration, this office deems that classification to be in error. Our analysis follows.


The merchandise at issue in NYRL 891702 consists of three different weights of woven fabric made of polypropylene material 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

8.5 oz. 13.0 x 13.0 threads/inch


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

6.5 oz. = 271 grams/square meter

8.5 oz. = 298 grams/square meter

This office is in possession of samples of all three fabric weights 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."

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: coated fabric is classifiable in this heading if the coating is visible to the naked eye. This standard does not allow the examiner to take the "effects" of coating into account. 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 a coating, 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 three of the subject fabrics. It is on this basis that Customs deems the subject fabrics visibly coated.


NYRL 891702 is revoked.

The three fabric weights 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 their coated and uncoated states.

In accordance with section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057), 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
Tariff Classification Appeals

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