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NY G81815

September 29, 2000

CLA-2-39:RR:NC:SP:221 G81815


TARIFF NO.: 3920.99.1000; 9507.90.8000

Mr. Mark B. Uecker
Skirts Plus Corp.
7675 W. Highway 13
P.O. Box 95
Savage, MN 55378

RE: The tariff classification of a silicone sheet, fishing skirt, and fishing skirt material from Vietnam.

Dear Mr. Uecker:

In your letter dated August 17, 2000, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

Three samples were provided with your letter. All are composed of silicone. Part #SH-1 is a noncellular silicone sheet measuring approximately 11 1/2 inches in length by 5 5/8 inches in width by 1/20 inch in thickness. Part #TS-3 is a fishing skirt. It consists of a bundle of individual silicone strips measuring approximately 5 inches in length by 1/32 inch in width, secured by means of a band around the middle. The skirt is intended to be attached to a fish hook to act as a lure. Part #CU-2 is unfinished fishing skirt material made by cutting the silicone sheet into sections measuring approximately 1/2 inch by 5 5/8 inches. Each section is then slit into approximately 20 partial strips. The strips are cut all the way through the thickness of the sheet, but not all the way along the length, resulting in an article which appears to consist of individual strips connected at each end. The skirt material is used to make fishing skirts.

You refer to silicone as a synthetic rubber material and suggest classification of the sheet and the skirt material as rubber sheet in subheading 4008.21.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). Legal note 4 (a) to Chapter 40 of the HTS defines synthetic rubber as applying to unsaturated synthetic substances which can be irreversibly transformed by vulcanization with sulfur into non-thermoplastic substances which meet certain tests for elongation and recovery. Silicone is not an unsaturated substance which can be vulcanized with sulfur, and thus is not considered to be rubber for tariff classification purposes. Instead, it is considered to be a plastics material.

The skirt material cannot be classified as sheets of plastics in heading 3920 of the HTS because legal note 10 to chapter 39 limits that heading to plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, whether or not printed or otherwise surface-worked, uncut or cut into rectangles, but not further worked. The slitting of the sheet into multiple partial strips which are still attached at the ends is considered to be a further working which precludes classification in heading 3920.

In a telephone conversation you suggested as an alternative that the skirt material should be classified in the same provision as the completed skirts. The classification of merchandise under the HTS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to Rules 2 through 6. GRI 2(a) provides that any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article, whether imported unassembled or not, has the essential character of the complete or finished article. This office notes that even though the skirt material is imported without certain essential processing performed on it and cannot be used for fishing in the condition as imported, the incomplete skirt exhibits the approximate size, appearance and feel which constitute the essence of a spinner or jig skirt. It is completed to the stage at which the fundamental characteristic of the finished article is apparent and the use of the material is fixed with certainty. Therefore, this office agrees that, pursuant to GRI 2(a), the fishing skirt material is classified under the tariff provision for the finished artificial bait components.

The applicable subheading for the silicone sheet, item SH-1, will be 3920.99.1000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials: of other plastics, flexible, over 0.152 mm in thickness, and not in rolls. The rate of duty will be 25 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the fishing skirt, item TS-3, and the fishing skirt material, item CU-2, will be 9507.90.8000, HTS, which provides for fishing rods, fish hooks, and other line fishing tackle, parts and accessories thereof, other. The rate of duty will be 55 percent ad valorem.

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 Joan Mazzola at 212-637-7034.


Robert B. Swierupski

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