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HQ 966083

June 19, 2003

CLA-2:RR:CR:TE 966083 JFS


TARIFF NO.: 5911.90.0080

Mr. Sanjiv R. Malkan
President and CEO
Synfil Technologies
P.O. Box 31486
Knoxville, TN 37930-1486

RE: Request for Reconsideration of NY I86458; Revocation of NY I84014; Cylindrical Air Filters; Textile Articles for Technical Use; Heading 5911, HTSUSA.

Dear Mr. Malkan:

This is in response to your request for reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) I86458, dated October 1, 2002, wherein Customs and Border Protection (CBP) classified flat panel air filters in heading 5911, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). In your request for reconsideration, you request that CBP classify the flat panel air filters consistent with CBP’s ruling in NY I84014, dated July 18, 2002, wherein CBP classified cylindrical air filters in heading 8421, HTSUSA. CBP has considered both rulings. For the reasons that follow, this ruling revokes NY I84014.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1) Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)) as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-82, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186), notice of the proposed revocation of NY I84014, was published on April 23, 2003, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 37, Number 17. As explained in the notice, the period within which to submit comments on this proposal ended on May 23, 2003. No comments were received in response to this notice.


The sample considered in NY I84014, is a representative sample of a line of filters referred to as Synfil™ Synthetic HEPA™ Circular Air Filters. The filters are cylindrical in shape, are non-fiberglass and non-PTFE, and are used in household air purifiers. The internal filter medium is composed of extruded polypropylene filaments forming a non-woven material that is folded into a circular accordion shape. The filter medium is inserted into a circular plastic mesh housing and secured in place by means of rubber rings placed on each end of the housing. The sample measures approximately 10 ¾ inches in diameter.

In NY I84014, CBP classified the filters in subheading 8421.39.8015, HTSUSA, which provides for “Centrifuges, including centrifugal dryers; filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus, for liquids or gases; parts thereof: Filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus for gases: Other: Other, Dust collection and air purification equipment: Other. The general column one rate of duty is Free.


Whether the subject cylindrical air filters composed of a textile filter medium that is encased in a plastic mesh housing and has rubber rings on each end are classified in heading 5911, HTSUSA, as articles of textile for technical use?


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’s). 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 GRI may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN’s) represent 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. The EN’s, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings.

You assert that the subject merchandise is properly classified in heading 8421, HTSUSA, as a part of purifying or filtering machinery, rather than in heading 5911, 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.”

Note 1(e) to Section XVI provides that the section does not cover “[t]ransmission or conveyor belts or belting of textile material (heading 5910) or other articles of textile material for technical uses (heading 5911).” The General EN to Chapter 84, page 1393, also excludes from classification in Chapter 84, articles of textile material for technical uses (heading 5911). The EN’s to heading 8421, HTSUSA, further provide that textile filtering elements are to be classified according to their constituent material. The EN’s 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.

Moreover, the ENs for heading 8421, HTSUSA, state, in pertinent part, that:


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, at page 1385, state:

This section does not, however, cover . . . (c) 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.

CBP does not believe that the subject merchandise should be classified as a part of a filtering machine in heading 8421, HTSUSA. CBP notes that the parts provision of heading 8421, HTSUSA, is less specific than the heading for textile materials for technical purposes (discussed infra). Furthermore, CBP 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 by operation of Note 1(e), which excludes textile materials for technical uses (heading 5911).

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, HTSUSA, 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’s for heading 5911 specifically addresses textile articles of a kind used for technical purposes. The EN’s 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’s further state that “the textile articles of this heading may incorporate accessories in other material provided the articles remain essentially articles of textile.” The instant filters consist of the textile filter medium that is encased with plastic mesh housing and secured by rings at each end. It is the textile material, by filtering out the unwanted particles in the air, that serves as the unifying component of the filters. Accordingly, the plastic mesh housing and rubber rings do not preclude classification of the subject merchandise within heading 5911, HTSUSA.

In NY I86458, CBP classified a filter that was 16 inches square and approximately 1 ¾ inches thick. The filter medium was identical to the filter medium used in the instant cylindrical filter. The filter medium was housed in a cardboard frame. CBP classified the filter in subheading 5911, HTSUSA. Likewise, in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 965820, dated October 3, 2002, CBP classified filters designed to be used in domestic forced air heating and cooling systems in heading 5911, HTSUSA. The filters were described as follows:

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 polypropylene fibers weighing 20 to 70 grams per meter squared (“g/m2”).

CBP conducted the same analysis as above and concluded that the cardboard frame and metal mesh did not preclude the classification of the filters in heading 5911, HTSUSA.

The instant cylindrical filters are substantially similar to those filters considered in HQ 965820 and NY I86458. Although, the instant filters have a more substantial housing, the primary function of the filters is still carried out by the textile material. Accordingly, the addition of the non-textile materials is not substantial enough to keep them from being essentially articles of textile. For rulings classifying filters and filter media in heading 5911, HTSUSA, see 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.


NY I84014, dated July 18, 2002, is hereby revoked. The subject merchandise is classified in subheading 5911.90.0080, HTSUSA, which provides for “Textile products and articles, for technical uses, specified in note 7 to this chapter: Other: Other.” The general column one duty rate is 4.2 percent ad valorem.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


Myles Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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