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HQ 961550

July 17, 2001

CLA2 RR:CR:TE 961550 SG


TARIFF NO.: 4809.90.7000

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
9901 Pacific Highway
Blaine, Washington 98230

RE: Application For Further Review of Protest No. 3004-97-100429; Classification of Transfer Paper: Decalcomania Paper; Coated Paper

Dear Sir:

This is in response to the request for further review of a protest timely filed by Border Brokerage Co. Inc., on behalf of Joto Paper Ltd., against your decision on the proper classification of transfer paper manufactured in Japan which was imported from Canada. The paper was initially classified as carbon or similar copying papers weighing over 15g/m², in subheading 4809.10.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were then sent to the National Import Specialists for classification advice. The following was determined: if in rolls and width did not exceed 36cm or in sheets and no side exceeds 36cm, the paper would be classified in subheading 4816.90.0000, HTSUSA, whether it is simplex or duplex paper; if it was larger would be classified as decalcomania paper, simplex in subheading 4809.90.4000, HTSUSA, the duplex (Xerox AB-X paper B) would be classified in subheading 4809.90.6000, HTSUSA, as decalcomania paper, duplex. The rate was advanced. The importer has protested the rate advanced classification of the simplex larger sized paper and claims the proper classification of this paper is as other (transfer paper), impregnated, coated or both but not otherwise treated under subheading 4809.90.7000, HTSUSA. A sample of the larger sized paper, identified as ‘Paper A’ was submitted. Our decision follows.


The paper under protest is a coated transfer paper which we are advised is used in color copiers to transfer images to textile fabrics. It is used by owners of color laser copiers such as Xerox and Canon, and by users of a commercial heat press which allows the images to be transferred onto fabrics. It is our understanding that the transfer papers are either a duplex (two sheet) system or a simplex (one sheet) system.


Whether the proper classification of transfer paper is in subheading 4809.90.4000, HTSUSA, as simplex decalcomania paper or in subheading 4809.90.7000, HTSUSA, as other (transfer paper), impregnated, coated or both but not otherwise treated?


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, 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 GRI's may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's.

The protestant contends that the sample (Paper A) which exceeds 36 cm, is not decalcomania paper, and should be classified in subheading 4809.90.7000, HTSUSA, as other (transfer paper), impregnated, coated or both but not otherwise treated.

The Dictionary of Paper, 5th Edition, edited by Michael Kouris (1996) defines decalcomania and decalcomania paper as follows:

Decalcomania-A process of transferring printed designs to porcelain, wood, glass, marble, etc. It consists usually in gumming the paper or other film bearing the colored picture onto the object and them removing the paper with warm water, the colored picture remaining. Often shortened to decal.

Decalcomania paper -An absorbent paper made of cotton fiber mixed with chemical woodpulps or of chemical woodpulps alone, having a smooth, uniform finish and formation with a good wet strength. It is usually made without sizing and in a light-natural color. The basis weights range from 50 to 90 pounds (25-38 inches-500). The base paper is coated with a solution of gum arabic and starch in water (the decalcomania solution). The finished paper is of two types: simplex or single absorbent paper stock coated with the decalcomania solution; duplex or double-heavy backing paper on which is laminated a very high grade of thin or tissue paper, on which in turn is coated the decalcomania solution which is to receive the printed impression. The heavy backing paper serves to give support to the tissue sheet as it goes through the press and in the placing of the printed design in its proper position on the subject. It is used in the manufacture of ceramic or mineral transfers, for curved surfaces and for very fine lettering.

The sample of the ‘Paper A’ has been analyzed by the Customs Service Office of Laboratories and Scientific Services (lab). It was found to be a single sheet of paper (simplex) coated on one side with talc. The sample consists of three layers. The first layer is paper, the other two layers are plastic. The two plastic layers are composed of a copolymer consisting of vinyl acetate, vinyl chloride, and etheylene. The paper was determined to have the following characteristics: weight- 85.85 grams/sq. meter; thickness- 0.10 mm; ash content- 14% and; composition-chiefly bleached chemical pulp fibers. No evidence of gum arabic or starch coating was found. Accordingly, it was the conclusion of the lab that the sample of Joto transfer paper (‘Paper A’) could not be decalcomania paper since it is not “coated with a solution of gum arabic and starch in water”.

Upon a review of the laboratory analysis of ‘Paper A’, the Customs Service is now of the opinion, that it is not decalcomania paper and therefore cannot be classified as such.


The Joto transfer paper (‘Paper A’) is classifiable in subheading 4809.90.7000, HTSUSA, which provides for “Carbon paper, self-copy paper and other copying or transfer papers (including coated or impregnated paper for duplicator stencils or offset plates), whether or not printed, in roll or sheets: Other: Other: Impregnated, coated or both, but not otherwise treated.”

Therefore, based on the foregoing discussion, you are instructed to ALLOW the protest.

In accordance with Section 3A (11)(b) of Customs Directive 0993550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.treas.gov., by means of the Freedom of Information Act and other methods of public distribution.


John A. Durant, Director

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