CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086978 CRS

Mr. Anthony F. Britti
Sevan International
424 North Frederick Avenue
Suite 6A
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

RE: Cigarette Filter Rods

Dear Mr. Britti:

This is in response to your letter dated March 9, 1990, to our New York office, in which you requested a ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) concerning the classification of cigarette filter rods. Samples were submitted with your request.


The merchandise in question consists of cigarette filter rods manufactured in and imported from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The rods are made from acetate tow filter (a wadding of man-made fibers) wrapped in paper and are approximately 0.75 cm in diameter. While the length of the rods is variable, you state that you are currently considering importing the filter rods in 9.0 cm and 10.5 cm lengths. The 9.0 cm rods are 0.068 grams paper and 0.665 grams pulp. The 10.5 cm rods are 0.084 grams paper and 0.706 grams pulp. Once imported, the filter rods will be segmented and attached to cigarette rods to form finished cigarettes.


Whether the acetate filter rods in question are classifiable in heading 5601, or heading 6307, HTSUSA.


Articles are classified under the HTSUSA in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of articles is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided the headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order. In particular, GRI 4 provides that goods 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.

Heading 5601, HTSUSA, covers, inter alia, wadding of textile materials and articles thereof. The Explanatory Notes (February 1990), which constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (four and six digits), provide in pertinent part at EN 56.01(A) that heading 5601 covers:

wadding in the piece or cut to length, and articles of wadding other than those covered more specifically by other headings of the Nomenclature...

The Notes refer specifically to certain articles of wadding which are covered by heading 5601 and also provide that certain other articles are excluded. No mention, however, is made of cigarette filter rods.

Nevertheless, as the articles in question are made from wadding of acetate tow, a man-made filament classifiable in heading 5601, and since heading 5601 covers both wadding of textile materials and articles thereof, it is Customs' opinion that the filter rods --articles of textile wadding-- are classifiable in heading 5601.

This issue was also addressed in a May 1987 decision of the Brussels Tariff Nomenclature Committee and the Interim Harmonized System Committee (NC/58/May 87; IHSC/8/May 87). The Committees' report stated:

1. The Nomenclature Committee and the Interim Harmonized System Committee examined the classification in the Harmonized System of rods for making cigarette filter tips, described in present Classification Opinion 59.01/1 which was retained in square brackets at their October 1986 session.

2. The discussions revealed a clear preference within both Committees for classification in heading 56.01 rather than heading 63.07.

* * *

4. The Committees finally agreed, by a very large majority, to classify these filter rods in HS heading 56.01 (sub- heading 5601.22), by application of Interpretative Rule 4.

While Customs is also of the view that cigarette filter rods are classifiable in heading 5601, we believe that this result can be reached without resort to GRI 4. Pursuant to GRI 1, i.e., according to the terms of the headings, Customs considers that the filter rods at issue are classifiable in heading 5601 as articles of wadding.


The acetate filter rods in question are classifiable in subheading 5601.22.0090, HTSUSA, under the provision for wadding, other articles of wadding, of man-made fibers, other. Pursuant to General Note 3(b), HTSUSA, articles classifiable in this subheading which are the product of the Soviet Union are subject to the rates of duty in column 2. The filter rods are therefore dutiable at 74 percent ad valorem; the textile category is 669.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, 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 that you 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 available for inspection at your local Customs office.

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