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NY N016452

September 14, 2007



TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9980

Ms. Sandra R. Neely
Taylortec, Inc.
16152 E. Club Deluxe Road
Hammond, LA 70403

RE: The tariff classification of life jacket components from Taiwan

Dear Ms. Neely:

In your letter dated August 29, 2007, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You have submitted illustrations depicting various components for a life jacket. The components are made of foamed material that has been die-cut to shape and coated with vinyl paint. After importation the components will be stenciled with printed information, combined with belts, straps, webbing, buckles and snaps, and assembled into Coast Guard approved finished life jackets. You included a breakdown listing the components of the foam as 30% nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), 52% polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 18% fillers and other materials.

You suggest classification in subheading 3921.12, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics: of polymers of vinyl chloride: combined with textile materials. This provision is limited to products in the form of rectangular plates and sheets that have not been further worked, and that are made of plastics combined with textile materials. The imported products are not combined with textile material, and are in the form of non-rectangular contoured and shaped life jacket components.

You state that the raw foam that you currently import for your rescue tubes is imported in subheading 4016.10.0000, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber articles of cellular rubber. You have not indicated whether the foam material in the life jacket components is the same construction as the foam material for the rescue tubes. We note that the vest in the pictures submitted with your request is imprinted with the statement “closed cell plastic foam.” There is no reference to rubber foam. Moreover, there is no evidence that a formulation consisting of 30 percent NBR and 52 percent PVC meets the tariff definition of synthetic rubber.

Legal note 4(a) of Chapter 40, HTSUS, defines synthetic rubber as "unsaturated synthetic substances which can be irreversibly transformed by vulcanization with sulfur into non-thermoplastic substances which, at a temperature between 18 and 29 degrees C, will not break on being extended to three times their original length, and will return, after being extended to twice their original length, within a period of 5 minutes, to a length not greater than 1 1/2 times their original length." If you believe that the material comprising the life jacket components meets the Chapter 40 note 4(a) definition of synthetic rubber, then please provide twelve cross-linked dumbbell-shaped specimens for testing and verification. For purposes of this test, substances necessary for the cross-linking, such as vulcanizing activators or accelerators, may be added; the presence of substances as provided for by note 5(b)(ii) and (iii) is also permitted. However, the presence of any substances not necessary for the cross-linking, such as extenders, plasticizers and fillers, is not permitted. Submit samples prepared as described above, accompanied by the compounding recipe and the percent by weight of all ingredients.

The applicable subheading for the life jacket components, when made of a formulation that does not meet the tariff definition of synthetic rubber, will be 3926.90.9980, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of plasticsother. The rate of duty will be 5.3 percent ad valorem.

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/.

You currently manufacture these components in the United States and mark the finished life jackets as “American Made.” You ask whether the life jackets may be similarly marked when the imported components are assembled in the United States with strapping material to form finished life jackets. The determination of whether a product may be marked as “American Made” is under the primary jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission. Consequently, any inquiries regarding the use of phrases reflecting U.S. origin should be directed to the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement, 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.

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 Joan Mazzola at 646-733-3023.


Robert B. Swierupski

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