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HQ 963020

January 4, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963020 gah


TARIFF NO.: 4016.91.0000

Mr. Stephen McKeever
Davies, Turner & Co.
113 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: classification of bathtub mat

Dear Mr. McKeever:

This is in regards to your letter of June 25, 1999, in which you requested a binding ruling on behalf of Ginsey Industries for a bathmat.


The merchandise at issue is a rubber bathtub mat imported from China. There is a floral printed textile fabric just visible under a thin translucent top covering of rubber. It appears that the textile fabric was incorporated with the rubber at the time the mat was formed or molded (vulcanized). The textile, though visible, does not lie on the top surface. The mat has been molded to create a raised pattern on the surface and a raised molded edge. Anti-slip suction cups have been formed on the bottom of the mat. It measures 16 by 27 inches (40.5 by 70 cm) and weighs approximately 29 ounces (822 grams) or approximately 85 ounces per square yard (2900 grams per square meter).


Is the bathtub mat classified as a textile floor covering of heading 5702, HTSUSA, or an article of rubber of heading 4016, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs.

Heading 5702 covers carpets and other textile floor coverings, woven, not tufted or flocked, whether or not made up, including AKelem@, ASchumacks@, Karmanie@ and similar hand-woven rugs. The floor covering at issue incorporates a layer of textile fabric within a rubber mat. However, Chapter 57 Note 1 states that the term carpets and other textile floor coverings means
floor coverings in which textile materials serve as the exposed surface of the article when in use and includes articles having the characteristics of textile floor coverings but intended for use for other purposes.

The bathtub mat is intended for use within the bathtub rather than covering floors, so the Note appears to address classification of this article. In HQ 963021, dated , we reconsidered NY D89855 on similar merchandise and reasoned that the textile fabric incorporated in the mat, while visible through the rubber when it is in use, does not serve as the exposed surface of the article. Rather, the rubber covers the textile fabric, making the exposed surface of the mat rubber. Thus, as we found in HQ 963021, this bathtub mat is not defined as a textile floor covering within the meaning of Note 1 to Chapter 57.

Section XI, note 1(ij) states that the Section does not cover woven, knitted or crocheted fabrics, felt or nonwovens, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with rubber, or articles thereof, of chapter 40. The instant mat is so described.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). The General Explanatory Note to chapter 40 at page 626 states that the classification of rubber and textile combinations are governed by various legal notes, including, for current purposes, Section XI, note 1(ij).

Heading 4016 covers other articles of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber. The EN to the heading includes therein floor coverings and mats (including bath mats),
other than rectangular (including square) mats cut from plates or sheets of rubber and not further worked than surface-worked (see the Explanatory Note to heading 40.08).

The EN to heading 4008 sets limits for textile and rubber combinations included therein. The instant bathmat would fall within the scope of heading 4008 but for exclusion (b) of the EN to heading 4008, which states:

Plates, sheets and strip, whether or not surface-worked (including square or rectangular articles cut therefrom), with bevelled or moulded edges, or with rounded corners, openwork borders or otherwise worked, or cut into shapes other than rectangular (including square)(heading ...40.16).

The instant bathmat has a raised moulded edge and rounded corners, and is therefore classifiable in heading 4016.


The rubber bathmat with the embedded printed textile fabric is classified in subheading 4016.91.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber, other, floor coverings and mats, dutiable at 2.7 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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