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NY 813806

September 20, 1995

CLA-2-41:RR:NC:WA:353 813806


TARIFF NO.: 4104.29.9070

Mr. Donald Stein
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
1501 M Street N.W., Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20005-1702

RE: The tariff classification of leather croupons from Argentina, Brazil and/or Uruguay

Dear Mr. Stein:

In your letter dated August 17, 1995, received in our office on August 21, 1995, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Lackawanna Leather Company. A sample swatch, which was wet when received, was submitted with your request and was subsequently forwarded to our Customs Laboratory for analysis and technical input. We apologize for the delay our response.

The submitted sample is asserted by Lackawanna Leather to be from leather "croupons", i.e. the center cut of a whole hide, which have been further prepared after tanning, and then imported into the United States to be made into upholstery leather for furniture. The croupons are stated to be approximately 24 square feet a hide.

The appearance and color of the sample strongly suggest that it is indeed well tanned. The blue color penetration evenly through the cutting is typical of chrome tanned leather with no additional coloring agents. The sample specimen has a lack of grain features and is clearly a relatively light flesh split. In spite of the industry practice of using the term croupon with tanned hide and pigskin, the term would never be applied to a flesh split. Splits are typically considered grossly inferior, low value by-products of leather production. In contrast a coupon is a premium cut from the hide. Also the term "crust" in one reference is inappropriate. Crust stock would be fatliquored, retanned and partially or completely colored. This sample appears to have been only tanned and treated with fungicide. The sample appears to be a simple chrome tanned flesh split. It is certainly not a prime "center hide" cut in as much as it has no grain ( a very heavy layer including the grain has been mechanically split off).

Classification of the instant merchandise under subheading 4104.31.40 or 4104.39.40, HTSUSA, is incorrect. GRI 6 states that "classification of goods in the subheadings[ (i.e., beyond the four digit level)] of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those headings..." Explanatory Note (III) to this rule provides that "the scope of a twodash heading shall not extend beyond that of the onedash heading..." Therefore, in order for merchandise to be classified in subheading 4104.31.40 or 4104.39.40, HTSUSA, it must be classifiable in subheading 4104.31 or 4104.40, HTSUSA.

Subheading 4104.31 or 4104.39, provides for bovine or equine leather that must be either parchment-dressed or prepared after tanning. The instant merchandise appears not to have been further prepared after tanning but to be merely wet blue.

The applicable subheading for the instant merchandise will be 4104.29.9070, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Leather of bovine or equine animals, without hair on, other than leather of heading 4108 or 4109: Other bovine leather and equine leather, pretanned, tanned or retanned but not further prepared, whether or not split: Other: Other: Other..... Wet blues: Split: Other.. The rate of duty will be 4.7 percent ad valorem. The rate for 1996 will be 4.3 percent ad valorem.

The instant merchandise, from Argentina, is subject to Countervailing Duty (CVD) Case Number C-357-803. The product covered by this investigation is leather. The types of leather that are subject to this investigation include bovine(Excluding upper and lining leather not exceeding 28 square feet, buffalo leather, and upholstery leather), sheep (excluding vegetable pretanned sheep and lambskin leather), swine, reptile (excluding vegetable pretanned and not fancy reptile leather), patent leather, calf and KIP patent laminated, and metalized leather. Leather is an animal skin that has been subjected to certain treatment to make it serviceable and resistant to decomposition. The leather included within the scope of this investigation includes those classified in HTS 4104.29.90.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Martin Weiss at 212-466-5881.


Roger J. Silvestri

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