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HQ 962070

December 1, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 962070 MBG


TARIFF NO.: 5609.00.4000

Mr. Ralph Natale
American Shipping Company, Inc.
140 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

RE: The tariff classification of an elastic strap from China or Korea; Revocation of NY Ruling C86384.

Dear Mr. Natale:

On April 14, 1998, Customs issued New York Ruling Letter (NY) C86384 to your company on behalf of Strong Man Building Products, Corp., regarding the tariff classification of an elastic strap consisting of a rubber core covered with a man-made textile material from either China or Korea. The cords were classified under subheading 5609.00.3000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Our New York office asked us to revoke that ruling to reflect classification of the cords under subheading 5609.00.4000, HTSUSA.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY C86384 was published on October 28, 1998, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 32, Number 43.


The merchandise under reconsideration is an elastic strap which is used to secure tarpaulins. It consists of a length of rubber core material covered with a man made textile material. On one end of the strap is a small plastic hook. The other end is stapled to a short (two inch) length of hard plastic. The entire strap measures ten inches in length.


Whether the strap is classifiable as cordage of man made fibers (i. e., nylon) under subheading 5609.00.3000, or as cordage of other materials (i. e. rubber) under subheading 5609.00.4000?


Classification of goods under HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Heading 5609 covers "Articles of yarn, strip or the like of heading 5404 or 5405, twine, cordage, rope or cables, not elsewhere specified or included."

Note 10 Section XI states that elastic products consisting of textile materials combined with rubber threads are classified as textile products in Section XI.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), while not legally binding, are recognized as the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. The EN to heading 5609 state that the heading includes:

[Y]arns, cordage, rope, etc. cut to length and looped at one or both ends, or fitted with tags, rings, hooks, etc. (e.g., shoe laces, clothes lines, towing ropes) ships' fenders, unloading cushions, loading slings, dish "cloths" made of a bundle of yarns folded in two and bound together at the folded end, etc.

In this case, the elastic strap with a hook meets the perimeters set forth in the EN. Accordingly, they are classifiable under heading 5609.

At the subheading level, we must determine if the strap is classifiable according to its rubber or textile components. The cord is not classifiable solely on the basis of GRI 1, and, therefore, the remaining GRIs will be applied in the order of their appearance.

GRI 2(a) is inapplicable in this instance as it refers to incomplete or unfinished articles. GRI 2(b) states that classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance (i.e., the rubber and textile components in this case) shall be according to the principles of GRI 3. GRI 3(a) sates that the heading which provides the more specific description is to be preferred to one that is more general. However, when two headings each refer to part only of the materials in mixed goods, as in the present case, the headings are to be regarded as equally specific. GRI 3(b) directs that the goods are to be classified as if they consisted of the material which gives them their essential character.

In this case, it is the rubber that imparts the essential character to the elastic strap. The purpose of this strap is to secure tarpaulins and it is the rubber that allows the cord to stretch, bend and wrap around in performing such a function. GRI 6 provides that classification of subheadings will use the same GRI rules. Therefore, upon determining there is not a more specific provision for the rubber component, the elastic strap is classifiable under subheading 5609.00.4000, which provides for cordage of "other materials." Classification of elastic straps in this subheading is consistent with prior Customs rulings for like products. For further analysis see Customs Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 959968, dated March 31, 1997, which classified ponytail holders consisting of rubber cores wrapped in man-made textile as articles [of] other [textile material]; HQ 953297, dated March 24, 1993, and HQ 959546, dated January 27, 1997 which classified bungee cords composed of a rubber core with man made textile cover under HTSUSA 5609.00.4000.


This ruling revokes NY C86384 and classifies the strap under subheading 5609.00.4000, HTSUSA, which provides for "Articles of yarn, strip or the like of heading 5404 or 5405, twine, cordage, rope or cables, not elsewhere specified or included: Other." It is dutiable at the general column one rate of 6.2 percent ad valorem.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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