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HQ 958251

October 17, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 958251 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 4802.52.9000

Ms. Kim
Customs Liaison
Inter-Maritime Forwarding Company, Inc.
156 William Street
New York, NY 10038-2689

RE: Tariff classification of uncoated outdoor poster grade paper

Dear Ms. Kim:

This letter concerns your request for a binding ruling on behalf of Chartham Papers regarding the tariff classification of uncoated poster grade paper, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The subject article is imported into the U.S. in large rolls as uncoated outdoor poster grade paper which consists of 100% bleached chemical woodpulp inorganic filler, including titanium dioxide for high opacity. According to our laboratory report, the weight of the paper is 96.1 grams per square meter and the ash content was found to be 5.5%. After coating in the U.S., the paper is printed by computer using the dielectric process. The end product is a billboard poster which can be used either inside or outside withstanding exposure to the weather.


What is the proper tariff classification for uncoated outdoor poster grade paper under the HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA, is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). In the event that the 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 then be applied. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (ENs), which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs. The ENs, although not dispositive nor legally binding, are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128, (August 23, 1989).

In order to properly classify this product in accordance with the HTSUSA, we must first look to the condition of the product immediately upon importation into the United States. The paper is imported to the U.S. as uncoated outdoor poster grade paper. Heading 4802, HTSUSA, specifically provides for uncoated paper "of a kind used for writing, printing or other graphic purposes." It is our understanding that the paper is to be imported in rolls which meet the size specifications of Note 7 to Chapter 48, HTSUSA, for paper classifiable in headings 4801 through 4811, and the specifications of Note 4 to Chapter 48, HTSUSA, for paper eligible for classification in heading 4802.

Clearly, in the condition as imported, uncoated, the subject paper cannot yet be used for the purpose for which it is ultimately intended. However, the ENs to heading 4802 indicate that the heading may include "Base papers and paperboard" thereby suggesting that base papers which will later receive an additional coating for specialized use may be classified in this heading. The ENs provide examples of such base papers that may be classified under this heading, i.e., "Paper and paperboard of a kind used as a base for photo-sensitive, heat-sensitive or electro-sensitive paper or paperboard . . ." and "Base paper and paperboard for conversion into kaolin coated paper and paperboard of heading 4810." The fact that the ENs cite these as examples of base papers and paperboards, suggests that this is not intended to be an all inclusive list of base papers which may be included in this heading.

According to the information you have provided, after the paper is imported to the U.S., it receives a "dielectric coating" which is described as a proprietary formulation containing inorganic pigments and organic binders. The end product is described as a billboard poster which can be used either inside or outside and exposed to the weather. Thus, the imported product may be considered a "base paper" within the meaning of heading 4802, HTSUSA, which is of a kind intended for use in writing or other graphic purposes.

It should be noted, however, that Note 2, to Chapter 48, HTSUSA, states that paper classified in headings 4801 to 4805 may be subjected to " . . . calendering, super-calendering, glazing or similar finishing, false water-marking or surface sizing, and also paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding and webs of cellulose fibers, colored or marbled throughout the mass by any method," but paper and paperboard which have been otherwise processed are excluded (see ENs for heading 4802). Assuming that the paper in question has not undergone any additional processing, other than the methods described in Note 2, it is our determination that the paper is properly classifiable under heading 4802, HTSUSA.


The product identified as outdoor poster grade paper is classifiable under subheading 4802.52. 9000, HTSUSA, which provides for "Uncoated paper and paperboard, of a kind used for writing, printing or other graphic purposes and punch card stock and punch tape paper, in rolls or sheets, other than paper of heading 4801 or 4803; Other paper and paperboard, not containing fibers obtained by a mechanical process of which not more than 10 percent by weight of the total fiber content consists of such fibers: Weighing 40g/m2 or more but not more than 150g/m2: Other," and, as a product of the United Kingdom, is duty free.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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