CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 967325 KSH
Mr. Martin W. Dooley
Multimodal International, Ltd.
2100 East Devon Avenue, Suite C
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
RE: Classification of extruded polypropylene mesh
Dear Mr. Dooley:
This is in reply to your letter dated August 5, 2004, in which you requested a ruling regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of extruded polypropylene mesh. Your request for classification was forwarded to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Headquarters and upon review by the Office of Regulations and Rulings, the subject merchandise is classified in heading 3926, HTSUSA, for the reasons set forth below.
A sample was submitted to this office for examination and was considered with your request.
The product at issue is identified as “TSX-312 PT (PP-Net).” It is a non-woven mesh fabric of polypropylene that is produced by extrusion. It is imported in 1040mm x 100m rolls and is used as the outer protective netting of the filter after being cut to size from the roll material.
Whether the extruded polypropylene mesh is classified in heading 3926,
HTSUSA, or heading 3920, HTSUSA.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General
Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.
Heading 3920, HTSUSA, provides for “Other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials.”
Note 10 to Chapter 39, HTSUS, provides:
In headings 3920 and 3921, the expression “plates, sheets, film, foil and strip” applies only to plates, sheets, film, foil and strip (other than those of chapter 54) and to blocks of regular geometric shape, whether or not printed or otherwise surface-worked, uncut or cut into rectangles (including squares) but not further worked (even if when so cut they become articles ready for use).
The term "sheets” is not defined in the text of the HTSUSA or the Explanatory Notes. When terms are not so defined, they are construed in accordance with their common and commercial meaning. Nippon Kogasku (USA), Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982). Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources. C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F.2d 1268 (1982).
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Webster’s) (1986) defines "sheeting," in relevant part, as "1: material in the form of sheets or suitable for forming into sheets: as . . . b: material (as a plastic) in the form of a continuous film . . . ." Id. at 2092. Webster’s defines "sheet," in relevant part, as "3 a: a broad stretch or surface of something that is usu. thin in comparison to its length and breadth . . . ." Id. at 2091. The Oxford English Dictionary (2d Ed. 1989) defines "sheet" as "9. a. A relatively thin piece of considerable breadth of a malleable, ductile, or pliable substance." Id. at 224.
The Court of International Trade has also examined the term sheet in
various cases. In 3G Mermet Fabric Corp. v. United States, 135 F. Supp. 2d 151 (2001), the Court defined "sheet" as a "material in the form of a continuous stem
covering or coating."
In Sarne Handbags Corp. v. United States, 100 F. Supp. 2d 1126 (2000),
the Court defined the term "sheeting" as follows:[T]he common meaning of "sheeting" is material in the form of or suitable for forming into a broad surface of something that is unusually thin, or is a material in the form of a continuous thin covering or coating.
In HQ 965889, dated March 17, 2003, geotextile material manufactured from woven mesh visibly coated on both sides with plastics was classified in heading 3926, HTSUSA. In so doing, we determined that the open spaces of the geotextile material were large enough that the material could not be considered to have a "broad surface." The unusually wide spacing in the weave interrupts any sort of surface continuity that could be formed, with each warp and weft yarn essentially standing alone, except where they intersect. The weave was not tight enough, and the yarns were not close enough, for them to form a continuous surface.
Similarly, the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Harmonized System Committee (HSC) classified substantially similar merchandise in subheading 3926.90, HTSUSA. See Annex L/5 to Doc. NC0590B2 (HSC/29/May 2002). The HSC did not consider the geotextile material, with its large open weave, to be a "sheet." See Annex G/11 to Doc. NC0510E2 (HSC/28/Nov. 2001).
The instant extruded polypropylene mesh, like the geotextile material of HQ 965889 and that classified by the HSC, has open spaces and cannot be considered to have a broad surface. Thus, the mesh lacks the continuity necessary to be classified as a sheet of plastics of heading 3920, HTSUSA. Accordingly, the extruded polypropylene mesh is classified in subheading 3926.90.9880, HTSUSA, which provides for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Other: Other, Other."
The extruded polypropylene mesh is classified in subheading 3926.90.9880, HTSUSA, which provides for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Other: Other, Other." The general column one rate of duty is 5.3% ad valorem.
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 the local CBP office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division