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NY B85804

June 4, 1997

CLA-2-59:RR:NC:SP:230 B85804


TARIFF NO.: 5904.10.0000; 4411.29.9000

Mr. Richard J. Hartenstine
F. W. Myers & Co., Inc.
20 North Central Avenue (second floor)
Valley Stream, NY 11580

RE: The tariff classification of linoleum and fiberboard flooring from the Netherlands.

Dear Mr. Hartenstine:

In your letters dated April 24 and May 14, 1997, on behalf of your client, Forbo Industries, Inc. (Hazleton, PA), you requested a tariff classification ruling. Literature, technical data and a sample were submitted and will be retained for reference.

The sample consists of two pieces. Piece #1 is a 120 cm x 24 cm plank-like flooring panel comprised of a layer of traditional linoleum which has been laminated (permanently bonded) to a backing of wood fiberboard, which in turn has been "back coated" with a pressure-sensitive adhesive. The layer of linoleum is about 2 mm thick, while its fiberboard backing is about 4 mm thick. The panel has square-cut edges and ends.

Piece #2 is simply a fiberboard plank, also 120 x 24 cm, with a pressure-sensitive adhesive coating on one side. This plank is about 3 mm thick and has square-cut edges and ends. Its density is said to be 0.75 grams per cubic centimeter.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Ron Hattingh of your client's office explained that in their imported condition, pieces 1 and 2 will be put up together, in equal quantities, in retail boxes. (The manufacturer is said to pack the two types together, without release paper, in a way that somehow ensures that they will not stick to each other or their container.) Each box will contain enough material to lay a two square meter area of flooring.

When using this product, the consumer will first place the "type 2" pieces onto the existing subfloor to create an underlayment. The type 2 pieces are put down with their adhesive side up, edge-to-edge and end-to-end. (Nailing them down is not required; "loose-lay construction" is said to have certain advantages.) The "type 1" pieces will then be placed, adhesive side down, on top of the underlayment. This is done in a staggered brickwork-style pattern, i.e., with the top pieces straddling the seams of the lower pieces so as to "lock" the underlayment together.

The product is said to be aimed at the do-it-yourself market, being designed to allow householders to easily install linoleum flooring with satisfactory results without using a contractor. It will be marketed under the names "Marmofloor" and "Artofloor," which are actually the same except for the type of decorative design on the linoleum's surface (marbled and tone-on-tone, respectively).

Since each imported box will contain only a portion of the materials required to lay a whole floor, the two types of pieces in said boxes will not be treated, for tariff purposes, as "goods put up in sets for retail sale," and will therefore be separately classified.

The "type 1" pieces are considered composite goods whose essential character is imparted by the linoleum. Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the laminated linoleum/fiberboard "type 1" pieces will be 5904.10.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for linoleum, whether or not cut to shape. The rate of duty will be 2.9%.

The applicable subheading for the "type 2" underlayment pieces will be 4411.29.9000, HTS, which provides for other (than certain enumerated) fiberboard of a density exceeding 0.5 g/cm3 but not exceeding 0.8 g/cm3. The rate of duty will be 4.7%.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 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 Paul Garretto at 212-466-5779.


Gwenn Klein Kirschner
Chief, Special Products Branch

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