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HQ 961111

Oct. 13, 1998

CLA-2 CO:RR:CR:TE 961111 SG


TARIFF NO: 5602.10.9090

Mrs. Reenat Sandhu
First Secretary (Commerce)
Embassy of India
2536 Massachussetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

RE: Classification of coir needle felt

Dear Mrs. Sandu:

This is in response to your letters of October 24, 1997, and November 4, 1997, regarding a number of shipments of coir rolls and hemp necklaces from India. A sample of the coir was submitted for our examination. Inasmuch as we have not yet received the sample of the necklace, this ruling will only relate to the coir. The necklace will be addressed in a separate ruling. We regret the delay in responding to your inquiry.


The importer questions the classification of a number of shipments of coir rolls that were entered at the port of Minneapolis. U.S. Customs classified the first shipment of coir rolls under subheading 5305.19.0000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for coconut, abaca... and other vegetable textile fibers, not elsewhere specified or included, raw or processed but not spun;...: of coconut (coir): other. You indicate that a week later when the importer attempted to enter a second shipment of the same merchandise under the same tariff classification they were advised that the coir rolls should be classified in subheading 5601.29.0090, HTSUSA, as wadding of textile materials and articles thereof;...: other, rather than subheading 5305.19.0000, HTSUSA. It is unclear from your correspondence whether the second entry was rejected and resubmitted at the new classification or accepted and the new classification determined from a sample pulled from the shipment. The third shipment of coir has been detained pending receipt of the required visa from India as the classification was changed from subheading 5601.29.0090, HTSUSA, to subheading 5602.10.9090 HTSUSA, which provides for felt, whether or not impregnated,

coated, covered or laminated: needleloom felt and stitch-bonded fiber fabrics: other: other, and is subject to quota/visa restraints from India for category 223.

A letter from the Coir Board of India which states that coir needle felt is an item manufactured out of coir fibre, extracted from coconut, and not comparable with cloth or other materials manufactured out of wool or cotton, and cannot be taken as felt, was enclosed. The Coir Board felt the coir should be classified under subheading 5311.00.0200, HTSUSA.

The coir in question is of needleloom (needle felt) construction.


Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable as woven fabric of Heading 5311, HTSUSA, or as felt of Heading 5602, HTSUSA?


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 determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Textiles: Fiber to Fabric, 5th Edition (1975), p. 161 , states the following concerning felt:

Before 1952, it was believed that felt could be made only from wool or fur.
Then technicians at DuPont created a process for making felt from man-made fibers by carding, cross-lapping or air dispersion, followed by passing the batt through a needle punching machine containing numerous barbed needles. (Needle-punching felt is now made of virtually every kind of fiber.) (Emphasis added).

Understanding Fabrics: From Fiber to Finished Cloth (1982), p. 54, states the following concerning felt:

Felt fabric structure is a nonwoven fabric structure produced directly from fibers forming an interlocking, uniform, compact matted layer or material by either the traditional form of wool felting, or the needle-felting process. Fibers used in the production of felt include: fine or coarse wool, hair, cotton, sisal, jute, (bold added) fine rayon and fine or coarse man-made fibers.

The Coir Board refers to the product as coir needle felt, but thinks it is not cloth or material manufactured out of wool or cotton, and therefore not felt. This is not a prerequisite for needle felt. In fact, felt can be made from many kinds of fibers, including sisal fibers, using the needleloom technique. Consequently, we reject the claim that the merchandise at issue is not felt.
Review of the sample merchandise confirms that it is not classified in subheading 5311.00,


HTSUSA, as a woven fabric made from yarns, as the coir is not woven, nor is it made of yarns. In addition, classification under subheading 5305.19, HTSUSA, is precluded as the sample coir fibers have undergone further manufacture and subheading 5305 , HTSUSA, is limited to just the coir textile fibers.

Heading 5602, HTSUSA, provides for felt. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, state at page 850, in pertinent part, that this heading also includes needleloom felt which is made either:

(1) by punching a sheet or web of textile staple fibers (natural or man-made), without a textile fabric base, with notched needles; or

(2) by needling such textile fibers through a base of textile fabric or other material which is finally more or less hidden by the fibers.

The needleloom technique makes it possible to obtain felt from non-felting vegetable fibers (for example, jute) or man-made fibers.

The manufacturing process by which the subject coir is made is consistent with the processes used for making needleloom felt described in the ENs. Consequently, the merchandise at issue is classifiable in Heading 5602, HTSUSA.

In addition,round planter liners, made from material classifiable in Heading 5602, HTSUSA, fall under Heading 6307, HTSUSA.


The merchandise at issue is classified under subheading 5602.10.9090, HTSUSA, which provides for felt, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated, needleloom felt and stitch-bonded fiber fabrics, other, other. The rate of duty is 11.7 percent ad valorem, and the textile category is 223.

Round planter liners made of needleloom felt are classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles, including dress patterns other: other: other: other: other. The rate is duty is 7 percent.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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