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NY N008866

March 30, 2007



TARIFF NO.: 5503.20.00, 5503.90.9000, 5601.30.0000

Michael Cone
John M. Peterson
Neville Peterson LLP
17 State Street – 19th Floor
New York, NY 10004

RE: The tariff classification of flock and chopped staple fibers from Japan

Dear Mr. Cone and Mr. Peterson:

In your letter dated March 20, 2007, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Kuraray America Inc., of New York City.

You submitted samples of chopped fibers. Some of the fibers are polyester; the others are polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a synthetic man-made fiber. The fibers are chopped to specific lengths. Some are packaged as either 4mm or 5mm. Others are 8mm, 10mm, or 30mm.

The Explanatory Note to heading 5601, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), describes textile flock as textile fibers not exceeding 5mm in length, produced by cutting textile fibers or tow; chopped fibers are also included.

The applicable subheading for the chopped fibers that do not exceed 5mm, both the polyester and PVA, will be 5601.30.0000, HTSUS, which provides for textile flock. The rate of duty will be Free.

The applicable subheading for the PVA staple fibers that exceed 5mm in length will be 5503.90.9000, HTSUS, which provides for synthetic staple fibers, not carded, combed, or otherwise processed for spinning: Other: Other. The rate of duty will be 4.3% ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the chopped polyester staple fibers that exceed 5mm in length will be 5503.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for synthetic staple fibers, not carded, combed or otherwise processed for spinning: of polyesters. (In order to classify at the ten-digit level, we need to know the construction and the decitex of the fibers.) The general rate of duty will be 4.3% ad valorem.

In your letter you suggest that the proper classification of the chopped staple fibers that exceed 5mm in length is in subheading 6812.10.91, HTSUS, which provides, in part, for asbestos fibers. You base this claim on what you refer to as “the doctrine of similitude appearing in General Note 4 to the HTS.” You are referring, we assume, to General Rule of Interpretation 4, HTSUS, which states that "[g]oods which cannot be classified in accordance with the above rules shall be classified under the heading appropriate to the goods to which they are most akin."

However, GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. Since heading 5503 specifically describes the chopped fibers, there is no need to refer to any GRI other than GRI 1. You also state that the chopped fibers in question are “not . . . intended for any textile uses contemplated for the fibers classified in HTS subheading 5503.90.90.” Please note that there is no such use requirement for merchandise classifiable in heading 5503, HTSUS.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Mitchel Bayer at 646-733-3102.


Robert B. Swierupski

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