United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2002 HQ Rulings > HQ 965775 - HQ COPYOF96 > HQ 965820

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 965820

October 3, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965820 mbg


TARIFF NO.: 5911.90.0080

Mr. Lawrence M. Friedman
Ms. Beata Kolosa
303 East Wacker Drive
Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601

RE: Classification of furnace filter

Dear Mr. Freidman and Ms. Kolosa:

This is in response to your letter dated July 15, 2002, on behalf of 3M Company, regarding the classification of a Filtrete™ furnace filter under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (“HTSUSA”).


The subject merchandise is an air filter for use in domestic forced air furnaces. The filters are ready to use when purchased and are available in several standard sizes: 16 inches by 25 inches; 20 inches by 20 inches; and 20 inches by 25 inches. The filters consist of Filtrete™ filter medium, a metal mesh support and a cardboard frame. The Filtrete™ medium is described as a nonwoven filter cloth comprised of a nonwoven web of electrostatically charged polpropylene fibers weighing 20 to 70 grams per meter squared (“g/m2”).

You have provided that the subject merchandise is manufactured in the Netherlands and then shipped in rolls to Mexico where it is laminated with hot melt glue to an expanded metal grid, which serves as support for the web. The supported web is pleated, cut to size and then bonded to a cardboard frame. A paper with added information is inserted and the package is shrink wrapped in polyolefin for shipment. ISSUE:

What is the proper classification for the subject merchandise under the HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). GRI 1 provides that classification 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 GRI may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (“EN”) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

There is no dispute that the subject merchandise is used for furnaces. You assert that the subject merchandise is properly classified in subheading 8421.39.8090, HTSUSA, as other filtering or purifying apparatus for gases rather than in subheading 5911.90.0080, HTSUSA, as other textile products for technical uses.

Heading 8421, HTSUSA, specifically provides for “Centrifuges, including centrifugal dryers; filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus, for liquids or gases; parts thereof.” Section XVI, Note 1(e) provides: “This section does not cover transmission or conveyer belts or belting of textile material (heading 5910) or other articles of textile material for technical uses (heading 5911).”

The ENs for heading 8421 further state, in pertinent part, the following:


Subject to the general provisions regarding the classification of parts (see the General Explanatory Note to Section XVI), the heading covers parts for the above-mentioned types of filters and purifiers. . . .

It should be noted, however, that filter blocks of paper pulp fall in heading 48.12 and that many other filtering elements (ceramics, textiles, felts, etc.) are classified according to their constituent material. (emphasis added).

In addition, the General EN to Section XVI state:

This section does not, however, cover . . . Textiles articles, e.g. transmission or conveyer belts (heading 5910), felt pads and polishing discs (heading 5911).

Furthermore, Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c), provides:

In the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires a provision for parts of an article covers products solely or principally used as a part of such articles but a provision for “parts” or “parts and accessories” shall not prevail over a specific provision for such part or accessory.

Customs disagrees with your assertion that the subject merchandise should be classified as a part of a filtering machine in heading 8421, HTSUSA. Customs notes that the parts provision of heading 8421, HTSUSA, is less specific than the heading for textile materials for technical purposes (discussed infra). Furthermore, Customs notes that the subject merchandise is imported separately from the filtering machinery. Even if considered a “part” of the filtering machinery, the subject merchandise is excluded from this heading due to the textile composition from which it is constructed since the EN to heading 8421 identifies that textile filtering elements are classified according to their constituent material. The ENs further state that heading 8421 excludes textile articles such as those classifiable in heading 5910 or 5911. Therefore, the merchandise is excluded from heading 8421, HTSUSA.

Heading 5911, HTSUSA, provides for textile products and articles for technical uses so long as they are specified in Note 7 to Chapter 59, HTSUSA. Note 7 to Chapter 59 reads:

Heading 5911 applies to the following goods, which do not fall in any other heading of section XI:

(a) Textile products in the piece, cut to length or simply cut to rectangular (including square) shape (other than those having the character of the products of headings 5908 to 5910), the following only:

(i) Textile fabrics, felt and felt-lined woven fabrics, coated, covered or laminated with rubber, leather or other material, of a kind used for card clothing, and similar fabrics of a kind used for other technical purposes, including narrow fabrics made of velvet impregnated with rubber, for covering weaving spindles (weaving beams);

(ii) Bolting cloth;

(iii) Straining cloth of a kind used in oil presses or the like, of textile material or human hair;

(iv) Flat woven textile fabrics with multiple warp or weft, whether or not felted, impregnated or coated, of a kind used in machinery or for other technical purposes;

(v) Textile fabric reinforced with metal, of a kind used for technical purposes;

(vi) Cords, braids and the like, whether or not coated, impregnated or reinforced with metal, of a kind used in industry as packing or lubricating materials;

(b) Textile articles (other than those of headings 5908 to 5910) of a kind used for technical purposes (for example, textile fabrics and felts, endless or fitted with linking devices, of a kind used in papermaking or similar machines (for example, for pulp or asbestos-cement), gaskets, washers, polishing discs and other machinery parts).

The EN to heading 5911, HTSUS state that “textile products and articles of this heading present particular characteristics which identify them as being for use in various types of machinery, apparatus, equipment or instruments or as tools or parts of tools.”

Furthermore, Section B to the EN for heading 5911 specifically addresses textile articles of a kind used for technical purposes. The EN state in pertinent part:

All textile articles of a kind used for technical purposes (other than those of headings 59.08 to 59.10) are classified in this heading and not elsewhere in Section XI (see Note 7(b) to the Chapter); for example:

(1) Any of the fabrics of (A) above which have been made up (cut to shape, assembled by sewing, etc.) for example straining cloths for oil presses made by assembly of several pieces of fabric; bolting cloth cut to shape and trimmed with tapes or furnished with metal eyelets or cloth mounted on a frame for use in screen printing.

(9) Bags for vacuum cleaners, filter bags for air filtration plant, oil filters for engines, etc.

The EN further state that “the textile articles of this heading may incorporate accessories in other material provided the articles remain essentially articles of textile.” The cardboard frame and metal mesh support are applied to the textile fabric and the fabric serves as the unifying component of the merchandise which then filters out the unwanted particles. As such, the cardboard frame and metal mesh support combined with the textile filter medium do not preclude classification of the subject merchandise within heading 5911, HTSUSA. Therefore, the subject merchandise is provided for in heading 5911, HTSUSA.

This classification is consistent with prior rulings on Filtrete™ fabric and similar fabric in which the merchandise was classified under heading 5911, HTSUSA. See e.g., Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HQ”) 954138, dated June 15, 1993; HQ 956909, dated January 31, 1995; HQ 955244, dated April 4, 1994; and NY 863512, dated June 11, 1991.


The subject merchandise is classified in subheading 5911.90.0080, HTSUSA as “Textile products and articles, for technical uses, specified in note 7 to this chapter: Other: Other.” The general column one duty rate is 4.5 percent ad valorem.


Myles Harmon, Acting Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: