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NY B86508

January 26, 1998

CLA-2-56:RR:NC:TA:350 B86508


TARIFF NO.: 5603.92.0090

Mr. Richard S. Wang
International Symtex Co. (ISC)
17451 Mt. Herrmann Street, Suite A & B
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

RE: The tariff classification of nonwoven disposable "sponges" (wiping cloths), from China.

Dear Mr. Wang:

In your letter dated July 23, 1997, you requested a classification ruling.

In this inquiry, you make reference to NY ruling B87149 of July 9, 1997, and indicate that you now provide additional information so that we may have a better understanding of your product.

In our earlier correspondence, we wrote "While you were not able to provide any further technical information on the telephone concerning the manufacture of the subject merchandise ..."; this alluded to the actual manufacturing process of these "sponges", namely fiber content, whether of filament or staple fiber and actual method of web production, all being factors in the subheading classification of the product. Our classification was based on the physical appearance of the samples.

The information you now supply does not specifically address the method of manufacture, nor does it substantially alter the original facts. That is, you now mention that the pads will be imported non-sterile, are composed of "70% rayon and 30% polyester", and can be used, in addition to medical, surgical and dental applications, in such things as cleaning instruments and wiping up spills, etc.. You were sent a letter, dated June 30, 1997 asking specific questions on how the products were packaged, if repackaging took place, if they were in packages ready to be sterilized, how would they be sold and to whom. Further, lacking, was any sale or advertising literature.

In your present letter, you provided two representative samples: one measuring 2" square folded (4" square unfolded) and one 3" square folded (6" square unfolded). Both samples are of similar construction to the samples you supplied earlier. That is, they are both of nonwoven construction, and, according to our recent laboratory analysis, are composed of a blend of 73.7% rayon/26.3% polyester man-made (staple) fibers. Once again, they appear to be made by a hydroentanglement process. These "sponges" were informally weighed and were found to weigh approximately 41g/m2. Since, they weigh less than 150g/m2, where there is a statistical breakout for mechanical entanglement in the tariff subheading which describes this product, therefore, this is a moot issue.

Additionally, these sponges will be imported in bulk form, i.e., 200 pieces to a sleeve. Noting Section XI, Note 7, and the fact that they will be imported in squares and/or rectangles, they may not be considered to be "made-up articles" within the meaning of the tariff.

These sponges, once again, and based on your letter, appear to be used by doctors and nurses as well as for such things as absorbing, cleaning and wiping up spills. There is no indication that these sponges are exclusively intended (e.g., because of the labels affixed or special folding) for sale directly without re-packing, to users (private persons, hospitals, etc.) for use for medical, surgical, dental or veterinary purposes. We are unaware of how the other products you mention are packaged, sold or used.

Your new correspondence provides no new or additional information of substance that would alter the previously issued ruling.

The applicable subheading for this product remains 5603.92.0090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated, of other than filaments, weighing more than 25 g/m2 but less than 70 g/m2. The duty rate will be 2.5 percent ad valorem.

This merchandise falls within textile category designation 223. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of China are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. 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 that 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 available for inspection at your local Customs office.

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 George Barth at 212-466-5884.


Robert B. Swierupski

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