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HQ 964997

May 20, 2002

CLA-2 RR: CR: GC 964997 TPB


TARIFF NO.: 5605.00.9000

David M. Murphy
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP 245 Park Avenue
33rd Floor
New York, N.Y. 10167-3397

RE: Tinsel Conductors (Style T3270)

Dear Mr. Murphy:

This is in response to your letter dated March 8, 2001, to the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, on behalf of Global Wires, Inc. (“Global”), requesting the classification of tinsel conductors (Style T3270) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Your request, together with a sample, was sent to this office for reply. In preparing this ruling, consideration was also given to your supplemental submission of April 1, 2002.

By your letter of May 7, 2002, you have stated that Global is currently importing the tinsel conductor through the Port of Boston. Accordingly, by copy of this ruling, we are advising the Port Director as to our decision as to the classification of this product.


The merchandise at issue is one of several styles of electrical wire known in the trade as “tinsel conductors.” Electrical tinsel conductors are used primarily where low levels of current carrying capacity and flexibility are required.

A tinsel conductor is made by rolling a round wire into a flat ribbon. Then, one or more ribbons are closely spiraled around a textile material to make a tinsel strand. Several such strands may then be twisted together to form the completed tinsel conductor. The conductor materials commonly used for tinsel are CDA Alloy 110, which is copper, and CDA Alloy 162, which is 1% cadmium copper. Depending on the end application, the ribbon may be bare or electro-plated with silver or tin. Tin and silver facilitate soldering and silver serves as a barrier between copper or copper alloy and fluoropolymer and other insulations processed at temperatures above the melting point of tin.

Typical applications for tinsel conductors include decorative and electrical, biotechnical and medical, telecommunications, robotics, voice coil lead wire for speakers, electric shaver cord, hearing aid cords and microphone receiver cords. The most widely understood application is in the spiraled flexible cord used on telephone handsets.


Is tinsel conductor classified under heading 5605, HTSUS, which provides for “metalized yarn, whether or not gimped, being textile yarn or strip or the like of heading 5404 or 5405, combined with metal in the form of thread, strip or powder or covered with metal.”, or under heading 7413, HTSUS, which provides for “stranded wire, cables, plaited bands and the like, including slings and similar articles, of copper, not electrically insulated”?


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). 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 HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Metalized yarn, whether or not gimped, being textile yarn or strip or the like of heading 5404 or 5405, combined with metal in the form of thread, strip or powder or covered with metal:

7410 Copper foil (whether or not printed or backed with paper, paperboard, plastics or similar backing materials) of a thickness (excluding any backing) not exceeding 0.15mm:

7413 Stranded wire, cables, plaited bands and the like, including slings and similar articles, of copper, not electrically insulated:

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) 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.

The relevant ENs state, in pertinent part, as follows:

56.05 This heading covers: (1) Yarn consisting of any textile material (including monofilament, strip and the like and paper yarn) combined with metal thread or strip, whether obtained by a process of twisting, cabling or by gimping, whatever the proportion of metal present. The gimped yarns are obtained by wrapping metal thread or strip spirally round the textile core which does not twist with the metal.

Exclusionary note (d) to the 56.05 EN states:

The heading does not include:

(d) Wire or strip of gold, silver, copper, aluminum or other metals (Sections XIV and XV).

You argue that this indicates that wire articles (even those laid on a textile core) are excluded from classification under heading 5605, HTSUS. To the contrary, we interpret this to mean that it excludes the metal wire or strip by itself, not when the metal wire or strip, is combined with the textile material.

Foil classified in this heading is obtained by rolling, hammering or electrolysis. It is in very thin sheets (in any case, not exceeding 0.15 mm in thickness).

Exclusionary note (c) to the 74.10 EN states:

This heading does not include:

(c) Metallised yarn of heading 56.05.

The Explanatory Note to heading 73.12 applies, mutatis mutandis, to this heading.

Because of its excellent electric conductivity, copper is commonly used in the manufacture of electric wires and cables; these remain in the heading whether or not with a core of steel or other metal, provided the copper predominates by weight (see Note 7 to Section XV). Emphasis original.

Stranded wire, ropes, cables, plaited bands, slings and the like, of iron or steel, not electrically insulated.

The heading covers stranded wire (or wire strand) obtained by closely twisting together two or more single wires of all sizes which are in turn formed by twisting such strands together. Provided they remain essentially articles of iron or steel wire may be laid on textile cores (hemp, jute, etc.) or covered with textiles. Emphasis original.

Note 7 to Section XV, provides, in pertinent part as follows:

Classification of composite articles:

Except where the headings otherwise require, articles of base metal (including articles of mixed materials treated as articles of base metal under the General Rules of Interpretation) containing two or more base metals are to be treated as articles of the base metal predominating by weight over each of the other metals.

The merchandise at issue consists of several gimped multifilament strands (i.e. plies) each gimped (i.e. wrapped) with a copper alloy ribbon. All of these plies are twisted together to form the final yarn, which will be used as a tinsel conductor.

Heading 5605, HTSUS, provides for metalized yarn, whether or not gimped, being textile yarn, or strip or the like of heading 5404 or 5405, combined with metal in the form of thread, strip or powder or covered with metal. The 56.05 EN indicates that the metal strip may be twisted around a textile and that the proportion of metal to textile is irrelevant. Clearly, the subject merchandise meets the terms of heading 5605, HTSUS, and is in concordance with the EN.

Additionally, Section XI EN, General Note (I)(B)(2), Table I (page 920, 2002 Ed.) places metalized yarn in heading 56.05 “in all cases.” There is no allowance for conductive properties in any of the section, chapter or explanatory notes. Customs has also previously classified combinations of cotton and stainless steel yarns plied together, wherein the metal strand conducted an electrical signal to a sensor in a machine in heading 5605, HTSUS. See NY 839254, dated April 13, 1989.

You suggest subheading 7413.00.10, HTSUS, as the correct provision for the tinsel conductor. Heading 7413 provides, in part, for stranded wire of copper. Stranded wire is made by closely twisting together two or more single wires. The provision permits articles with a core of steel or other metal to remain in this heading provided the copper predominates by weight. There is no mention here about the combination with textile. EN 74.13 does, however, refer us to EN 73.12 for further guidance with the appropriate substitution of terms. The EN to 73.12 permits wire, ropes and cables to be laid on a textile core provided they remain essentially an article of steel.

In this case, a round wire is rolled into a flat ribbon, which is then wrapped around a textile core. The EN 73.12 allows for wire to be wrapped around a textile core, and while a wire is the basis for the ribbon, it is necessary for us to determine whether the flattened ribbon meets the definition of wire. If it does, then when it is twisted, it would satisfy the “strand” definition. Notes 1(f) and 1(g) to chapter 74, HTSUS, provide for wires and foil and reads, in pertinent part, as follows:


Rolled, extruded or drawn productswhich have a uniform solid cross section across their whole length in the shape of circles, ovals, rectangles (including squares), equilateral triangles or regular convex polygons (including “flattened circles” and “modified rectangles”). The thickness of such products which have a rectangular (including “modified rectangular”) cross section exceeds one-tenth the width.

Plates, sheets, strip and foil

Flat-surfaced productscoiled or not, or solid rectangular (other than square) cross section with or without rounded cornersof a uniform thickness that are:
of rectangular (including square) shape with a thickness not exceeding one-tenth of the width.

The supplemental information that you submitted on April 1, 2002, indicated that the metal portion of what is the end product initially begins as 14 gauge (0.0641 inches in diameter) copper alloy round wire that is then silver plated (to enhance conductivity). The wire is then drawn to a diameter of 0.00325 inches and rolled. Your letter indicates that Global Wire’s specifications do not set maximum or minimum tolerances for the thickness of the wire used to make stranded wire. The maximum and minimum width is specified at 0.0110 to 0.0120 inches. While the thickness may vary, it is estimated to be approximately 0.0006 to 0.0008 inches. As the thickness of the rolled wire does not exceed one-tenth the width, it does not satisfy the terms of note 1(f) to Chapter 74, HTSUS, and cannot be considered “wire,” which EN 73.12 requires to be wrapped around textile. The filament, therefore, would not be classifiable under heading 7413, HTSUS, which applies the notes of heading 7312, HTSUS, mutatis mutandis. You argue that, even if the copper alloy does not meet the width/thickness guideline of note 1(f) to chapter 74, HTSUS, it meets the definition of stranded wire under EN 73.12. We disagree. The EN indicates that stranded wire is obtained by closely twisting two or more wires together, and that wire may be laid upon a textile core. Since the copper alloy does not meet the definition of wire prior to its being wrapped around the textile core, it also cannot meet the definition of a “strand,” and therefore, cannot be considered stranded wire for purposes of classification.

You argue in the alternative that if the tinsel conductor does not meet the definition of “wire,” it is provided for as a strip of less than 0.15 mm in thickness under Note 1(g) to chapter 74, heading 7410, HTSUS. However, this heading makes no provision for the intertwining of strip with a textile core. Furthermore, exclusionary note (c) to EN 74.10 indicates that the heading does not include metalized yarn of heading 56.05, HTSUS.

Therefore, by virtue of GRI 1, the tinsel conductor is properly classified under subheading 5605.00.90, HTSUS, which provides for metalized yarn, whether or not gimped, being textile yarn or strip or the like of heading 5404 or 5405, combined with metal in the form of thread, strip or powder or covered with metal; other. HOLDING:

For the reasons stated above, the subject tinsel conductors are to be classified under subheading 5605.00.9000, HTSUS, which specifically provides for “Metalized yarn, whether or not gimped, being textile yarn or strip or the like of heading 5404 or 5405, combined with metal in the form of thread, strip or powder or covered with metal: other.” The textile category number is 201. The column one rate of duty will be 13.6% ad valorem.

The designated textile category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office. The Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels) is also available on the Customs Electronic Bulletin Board (CEBB) which can be found on the U.S. Customs Service Website at .

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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