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HQ 965178

May 14, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965178 ttd


TARIFF NO: 5607.49.2500

Mr. Joseph R. Hoffacker
Barthco Trade Consultants, Inc.
7575 Holstein Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19153

RE: Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter H82483, dated June 29, 2001; Fibrillated; Polypropylene

Dear Mr. Hoffacker:

This letter is pursuant to Customs reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) H82483, dated June 29, 2001, requested by you on behalf of Big Lots Stores, Inc., regarding classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of certain twisted rope. After review of NY H82483, we affirm that decision. Samples were submitted.


The items under consideration are two samples of rope identified as item number PPM-316100 and item number PPM-1450. Each rope is a 3-strand construction of yellow colored, twisted polypropylene cordage. Item PPM-316100 measures approximately 100 feet by 3/16 inches and item PPM-1450 measures 50 feet by 1/4 inches. In your letter, dated July 26, 2001, you stated that each rope is made from 100 percent polypropylene non-fibrillated strip measuring 26mm in width in its unfolded, untwisted and uncrimped condition. Each sample measures more than 10,000 decitex.


Whether the subject merchandise is made from fibrillated or non-fibrillated strip.


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides, in part, that classification decisions are to be “determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.” In the event that 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 may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute 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 GRI. While neither legally binding nor dispositive of classification issues, the EN provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127-28 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Chapter 56, HTSUSA, provides for, among other things, twine, cordage, ropes and cables. Within Chapter 56, heading 5607, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, both fibrillated and nonfibrillated rope and cordage. The EN to heading 5607, HTSUSA, explain that "[t]his group also includes twine, cordage, ropes and cables obtained from fibrillating strip which has been more or less completely split into filaments by twisting."

Subheading 5607.49.1000, HTSUSA, provides for polypropylene cordage "of wide nonfibrillated strip." Articles classified in this subheading must meet the requirements of Additional U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 56, HTSUSA, which provides:

The term "of wide nonfibrillated strip", as applied to twine, cordage, rope or cables of subheading 5607.49.10, embraces products which contain more than 65 percent by weight of nonfibrillated polyethylene or polypropylene strip (whether folded, twisted or crimped) measuring more than 25.4 mm in width in unfolded, untwisted and uncrimped condition.

Accordingly, where a polypropylene strip is not so split, it can be classified as a nonfibrillated strip if it meets the weight and width requirements set forth in Additional U.S. Note 1. Therefore, nonfibrillated strip must be over 25.4 mm (1 inch) wide and in one unbroken piece when carefully untwisted.

In HQ 083629, dated March 26, 1990, Customs found that the term "fibrillation" requires a strip to be split into visible interconnecting fibrils (fiber-like tears or splits that run along the lengthwise direction of the material). After reviewing various technical literature in HQ 083629, Customs found that among the methods by which plastic strips may be fibrillated (split longitudinally) included the physical twisting process. See Gordon, THE HANDBOOK OF POLYOLEFIN FIBERS (1967). Moreover, in HQ 089586, dated September 12, 1991, we determined that the methods by which plastic strips may be fibrillated (split longitudinally), included the physical twisting process. See also HQ 958963, dated April 3, 1997.

In your letter, dated July 26, 2001, you state that each sample of the subject merchandise is nonfibrillated strip measuring 26 mm in width in its unfolded, untwisted, and uncrimped condition. However, after thorough inspection of the submitted samples, we find that the strips in question are in fact fibrillated. When examined closely, each strip under consideration is split longitudinally into visible interconnecting fibrils (fiber-like tears or splits that run along the lengthwise direction of the material). This fibrillation possibly occurred during the process of twisting the strips into strands, or twisting the strands into the rope. Despite the subject strip being 100 percent polypropylene and having a width greater than 25.4 mm prior to being twisted, it fails to satisfy the requirements of U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 56, HTSUSA. The subject merchandise is comprised of fibrillated polypropylene strip at the time of importation, and is therefore correctly classifiable as fibrillated rope. See also HQ 089586 (cited above) and NY G84245, dated November 30, 2000.


Based on the foregoing, the subject merchandise is classifiable in subheading 5607.49.2500, HTSUSA, which provides for "twine, cordage, ropes and cables, whether or not plaited or braided and whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or sheathed with rubber or plastics: Of polyethylene or polypropylene: Other, not braided or plaited: Other." The applicable rate of duty is 13.4 cents per kilogram plus 7.2 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 201.

NY H82483 is affirmed.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 your client 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 updated weekly and 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 www.customs.gov.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, your client should contact its 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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