CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087649 CMR 854047
Ms. Mary Beth Moran
The Buffalo Customhouse
Brokerage Co., Inc.
Peace Bridge Plaza Warehouse
Buffalo, New York 14213
RE: Classification of rolls of polyurethane foam
Dear Ms. Moran:
This ruling is in response to your letter of June 28, 1990,
on behalf of Apple Athletic Products, Inc., requesting classifi-
cation advice regarding rolls of polyurethane foam. This office
received a sample piece of foam with your letter.
The submitted sample is a swatch of foamed, or cellular,
polyurethane foam plastic with one smooth, flat surface and one
bubbled surface. The plastic sheet is made in the United States
by Centaur in Chicago, Illinois. It is exported to Canada in
rolls of 150 feet. When exported to Canada, both sides of the
rolls are smooth and flat. In Canada, Apple Athletic runs the
rolls through a laminator or embossing machine to create a
bubbled surface on one side. [You state it is an laminator
machine; however, the National Import Specialist for this
merchandise has indicated that the processing is more likely
performed on an embossing machine.] The rolls are then sent back
to the United States and sold as an underlay for carpeting.
Is the polyurethane foam imported in rolls classified under
heading 3918, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things,
floor coverings of plastics, whether or not self-adhesive, in
rolls or in the form of tiles, or heading 3921, HTSUSA, which
provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of
Does the polyurethane foam qualify as a "good originating in
the territory of Canada" under the United States-Canada Free-
Trade Agreement (CFTA)?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the
General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that
"classification shall be determined according to the terms of the
headings and any relative section or chapter notes, provided such
headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the
remaining GRIs taken in order]."
The Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation
of the HTS at the international level, provide some guidance in
deciding under which heading the subject polyurethane foam should
Heading 3918 provides for, among other things, floor
coverings of plastics, whether or not self-adhesive, in rolls or
in the form of tiles. The Explanatory Notes for the heading
state in pertinent part:
The first part of the heading covers plastics of the
types normally used as floor coverings, in rolls or in the
form of tiles. It should be noted that self-adhesive floor
coverings are classified in this heading.
* * *
It should be noted that this heading includes articles
printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representa-
tions, which are not merely incidental to the primary use of
the goods * * *.
Heading 3921 provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil
and strip, of plastics. The Explanatory Notes for the heading
state in pertinent part:
This heading covers plates, sheets, film, foil and
strip, of plastics, other than those of heading 39.18, 39.19
or 39.20 or of Chapter 54. It therefore covers only
cellular products or those which have been reinforced,
laminated, supported or similarly combined with other
materials. * * *
In order to determine which heading most specifically
describes the polyurethane foam underlay, we must decide if the
underlay may be considered a floor covering.
Although the polyurethane foam underlay material covers
flooring when used as carpet underlay, we do not believe it falls
within the common meaning of floor coverings. Floor coverings
are commonly thought to be articles such as carpets, rugs, mats,
etc. These are articles which cover a floor area and which are
open to view. Carpet underlay, on the other hand, is not seen,
but is under the perceived floor covering, i.e. the carpet.
Therefore, we do not believe carpet underlay is encompassed
within the common meaning of floor covering.
We believe the polyurethane foam is eligible for treatment
as a "good originating in the territory of Canada" under the
CFTA. General Note 3(c)(vii)(B)(2)(I) of the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States provides in pertinent part:
goods imported into the customs territory of the United
States are eligible for treatment as "goods originating in
the territory of Canada" only if--
(2) they have been transformed in the territory of
Canada and/or the United States, so as to be subject--
(I) to a change in tariff classification as
described in the rules of subdivision (c)(vii)(R)
of this note...
Since the polyurethane foam sheets exported to Canada are
manufactured in the United States, we believe they are trans-
formed in the United States, so as to be subject to a change in
tariff classification as described in the rules of subdivision
Your letter is being forwarded to the Value and Special
Admissibility Branch so that that office may address your
questions regarding country of origin and marking. They will
respond separately at a later date.
The rolls of polyurethane foam are classified in subheading
3921.13.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for other plates, sheets,
film, foil and strip, of plastics, cellular, other. As a good
"originating" in Canada, the polyurethane foam is dutiable at a
rate of 3.3 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division