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HQ 963581

March 31, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963581 MBG


TARIFF NO.: 3926.20.9050

Mr. Peter A. Powell
C.H. Powell Company
1 Intercontinental Way
Peabody, MA 01960

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

Dear Mr. Powell:

This is in reply to your letter dated May 28, 1999, on behalf of Seneca Sports Inc., requesting a ruling on the classification of safety vests coated with vinyl.


The article under consideration is a costume construction site child’s vest, which is constructed of woven nylon mesh fabric, completely coated in orange vinyl. The edges of the vest are bound with white tape. There is a hook and loop tape front closure, and in lieu of side seams, the back is connected to the front by means of two 1-1/2 inch wide elastic strips. The vest is made for a child and will be part of the PW206 Construction Site Set that includes the construction vest, a non-protective toy hard hat, foam sawhorse cross bar and two blow molded sawhorse supports. The vest is imported in bulk from China, without any other components.


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


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.

In XTC Products, Inc. v. United States, 15 Ct. Int’l Trade 348, 352, 771 F. Supp. 401, 405 (1991), the U.S. Court of International Trade stated that “[i]t is well established that an imported article is to be classified according to its condition as imported . . . .” See also, United States v. Citroen, 223 U.S. 407 (1912). The vest is imported separately from any other part of the Construction Site Set. In its condition as imported, it is a safety vest made of nylon mesh fabric coated on both sides. As such, it must be classified in a heading which most specifically describes it, in its condition as imported.

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 Note2(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)).


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

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