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HQ 961170

March 24, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961170 MBG


TARIFF NO.: 3926.20.9050

Ms. Nora Schafer
Technol Medical Products, Inc.
7201 Industrial Park Boulevard
Fort Worth, TX 76180

RE: Classification of safety vest made from nylon mesh fabric coated on both sides with plastics

Dear Ms. Schafer:

This is in reply to your letter dated October 10, 1997, on behalf of Technol Medical Products, requesting a ruling on the classification of safety vests coated with vinyl.


The article under consideration is a reflective safety vest, product code SV301, designed to provide high visibility to the wearer. It is constructed of a nylon mesh fabric, which is completely coated with orange colored vinyl. The edges are bound with black bias tape; the center front closure is a hook and loop fastener; in lieu of side seams, the back is connected to the front by means of two ¾ inch wide elastic strips on each side. There are two 1 inch strips of vinyl reflective tape sewn to each side of the vest, beginning at the front hem, extending over each shoulder and ending at the back hem. Components of the vest are fabricated in the United States, assembled in Mexico and re-imported into the U.S. through the port of Del Rio.


What is the proper classification for a safety vest coated with polyvinyl chloride?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes (ENs), represent the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings) and facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Legal Note 2(a)(3) to Chapter 59, HTSUSA, states that Heading 5903 applies to:

Textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastic material (compact or cellular) other than: (3) Products in which the textile fabric is either completely embedded in plastic or entirely coated or covered on both sides with such material, provided that such coating or covering can be seen with the naked eye with no account being taken of any resultant change in color (chapter 39). (emphasis added).

The intent of Note 2(a)(3) to Chapter 59 is to classify those products “embedded in” or “completely covered” with plastics under the headings that provide for plastics or articles of plastics because they have acquired the characteristics of plastics. The fabric comprising the article under consideration is entirely coated or covered with plastics and, therefore, that fabric would be excluded from classification in chapter 59, HTSUSA. Since the fabric from which the vest is constructed is classifiable as a plastics good in chapter 39, the vest is classifiable as an article of plastics. Thus, pursuant to GRI 1, the warning vest is classified in subheading 3926.20.9050, HTSUSA, which provides for other apparel and clothing accessory articles of plastics.

Customs has classified vests similar to the article under consideration under heading 6217, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for other made up clothing accessories and also under heading 6117, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for other made up textile clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted. However, Customs is in the process of revoking those rulings as the classification determinations therein were in error. (NY 848018 (December 21, 1989); HQ 088549 (September 4, 1991); HQ 950212 (September 4, 1991)).

As you acknowledge, insufficient information is provided for Customs to definitely determine whether this article qualifies for a partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA. However, if you would like a ruling on the eligibility of this product under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, please submit the necessary information and we will be happy to issue a ruling.


The instant warning vest, which is made from a knit textile fabric that has been completely covered or coated with plastics, is classified in subheading 3926.20.9050, HTSUSA, which provides for “Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Articles of apparel and clothing accessories (including gloves): Other: other: other.” The general column one rate of duty is 5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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