CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087565 CRS

Ms. Rebecca L. Nichols
Edward McNutt
P.O. Box 95003
Little Rock, AK 72295

RE: Nonwoven textile substrate coated on both sides with elastomeric bitumen not classifiable in heading 6805; Note 1(c), Chapter 65.

Dear Ms. Nichols:

This is in reply to your letter dated July 11, 1990, on behalf of your client, Siplast, concerning the classification of an elastomeric bitumen membrane under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted with your request.


The article in question, Teranap, is an elastomeric membrane consisting of a single ply nonwoven polyester substrate coated on both sides with elastomeric bitumen. One side is also coated with a protective polypropylene film. Teranap 331 TP is 3 mm thick and will be imported in rolls ranging in size from 20 m x 2 m to 80 m x 4 m. Teranap 431 TP is identical to Teranap 331 TP, except that it is 4 mm thick.

Teranap, which is manufactured in France, is a waterproofing material used to line reservoirs, dams, canals, recreational lakes, irrigation ditches, tunnels, and ammunition dumps, as well as to protect areas where water run-off is likely to contaminate the water table.


Whether a bituminised elastomeric membrane with a nonwoven textile substrate is classifiable as an article of asphalt or as a nonwoven.


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.

Heading 6807, HTSUSA, provides for articles of asphalt or similar material (for example, petroleum bitumen or coal tar pitch). Although this would seem to encompass the article in question, Note 1(c), Chapter 68, HTSUSA, provides that the Chapter does not cover "coated, impregnated or covered textile fabric of chapter 56 or 59 (for example, fabric coated or covered with mica powder, bituminized or asphalted fabric." Moreover, this is reinforced by the Explanatory Notes, which although not legally binding nevertheless constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. EN 68.05, subparagraph (b), 903, restates the exclusion and directs one in the alternative to either Chapter 56 or 59. Since the textile substrate used in the manufacture of Teranap is a nonwoven fabric of Chapter 56, it is therefore excluded from heading 6807.

Heading 5603, HTSUSA, covers nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, covered or laminated. The Explanatory Notes, provide in pertinent part at EN 56.03, 559, that:

This heading also covers certain "roofing felts" in which the textile fibres are agglomerated with tar or similar substances, and certain products known as "bitumen felts" obtained in the same way but incorporating a small quantity of cork fragments.

The waterproofing material at issue is agglomerated with an elastomeric bitumen (specifically, a styrene butadiene styrene bitumen) and is similar to roofing or bitumen felts and, as such, is classifiable in heading 5603, HTSUSA.


Teranap 331 and 431 are classifiable in subheading 5603.00.9010, HTSUSA, under the provision for nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated: other: other: impregnated, coated or covered with material other than or in addition to rubber, plastics, wood pulp or glass fibers; imitation suede. They are dutiable at the rate of 12.5 percent ad valorem and subject to textile category 223.

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