CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082675 SS
David O. Elliott, Esq.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York, N.Y. 10016
RE: Tariff classification of fiber-reinforced cellulosic
plastic sausage casings
Dear Mr. Elliott:
Thank you for the recent additional submissions regarding
fibrous sausage casings. We have reviewed all the facts
including our previous determinations regarding the composition
of fiber-reinforced cellulosic plastic casings, Headquarters file
061462, May 27, 1983, and classification of this same casing
under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
Annotated (HTSUSA), Headquarters file 081006, October 6, 1987.
This is our decision.
The merchandise in question is fiber-reinforced cellulosic
plastic sausage casings. This merchandise generally consists of
fibrous paper, regenerated cellulose and glycerin. However, the
facts indicate that in some instances cellulosic casings may not
contain paper. When paper is used in this type of casing, its
function is to provide uniformity and sizing control for the
What is the proper tariff classification under the HTSUSA
for fiber-reinforced cellulosic plastic sausage casings?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, HTSUSA, provides
that "classification shall be determined according to the terms
of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes."
Heading 3917, HTSUSA, provides for "Tubes, pipes and hoses
and fittings therefor (for example, joints, elbows, flanges), of
plastics." Note 8 to Chapter 39 provides, in pertinent part,
that "[f]or purposes of heading 3917, the expression "tubes,
pipes and hoses"... also includes sausage casings...."
"Plastics" is defined for the tariff schedule in Note 1 of
Chapter 39; the term includes cellulose and its chemical
derivatives of heading 3912.
Heading 4823, HTSUSA, provides for other articles of paper.
The Explanatory Notes for this heading state that this heading
includes sausage casings.
Neither heading, by its terms, covers sausage casings
composed of more than one material. However, GRI 2(b) provides
Any reference to goods of a given material or substance
shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting
wholly or partly of such material or substance. The
classification of goods consisting of more than one material
or substance shall be according to the principles of Rule 3.
Thus, GRI 2(b) expands heading 3917 to include tubes
consisting partly of plastics, and heading 4823 to include
articles partly of paper. Following GRI 3(a), since each of
these headings refers to part only of the materials contained in
the casings, the two headings are to be regarded as equally
specific, and classification is then to be determined under GRI
GRI 3(b) provides that goods consisting of different
materials "shall be classified as if they consisted of the
material .... which gives them their essential character, insofar
as this criterion is applicable." The Explanatory Notes for GRI
3(b) state that "[t]he factor which determines essential
character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may,
for example, be determined by the nature of the material or
component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of
a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods."
In the instant case, the regenerated cellulose generally
dominates by weight in reinforced casings. It thoroughly
permeates the paper, which by itself is highly porous and will
not hold its helical shape. Some casings are made of regenerated
cellulose without a paper reinforcement, clearly implying that
paper is not essential for the production of a cellulosic casing.
While the reinforced casings provide greater strength and
uniformity for larger meat products, this attribute does not
change the fact that they are still cellulosic casings. They are
not essentially paper casings to which some regenerated cellulose
is added. Rather, they are cellulosic casings which have been
reinforced with paper for greater strength and uniformity.
In light of the above facts and applicable rules of tariff
classification, the material which imparts the essential
character to the product in issue is the regenerated cellulose.
Counsel's argument that the merchandise in issue is properly
classifiable under subheading 3917.10.50, HTSUSA, based on a
previous U.S. Customs Headquarter's Internal Advice, 162/79, file
073604, and on the basis that the cross-reference between the
Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (TSUSA) and the
HTSUSA indicates that the merchandise in issue is properly
classifiable under the above cited subheading, fails on several
The Internal Advice and rulings cited by counsel were under
the TSUSA. Under this system of classification, the principle
governing classification of the sausage casings in issue was the
"chief value" concept. This concept has no application under the
HTSUSA, which is the basis for this decision. Further, the
cross-reference of the TSUSA and the HTSUSA has no legal
significance. This cross-reference is designed to assist the
user in translating a known classification in the TSUSA into a
likely classification under the HTSUSA, and should not be viewed
as a substitute for the traditional tariff classification
process. See 22 Cust. Bull. 10 (1988), 53 Fed. Reg. 27447
The merchandise in issue in the instant case, fiber-
reinforced cellulosic plastic sausage casings, is properly
classifiable under subheading 3917.10.10, HTSUSA, as sausage
casings of cellulosic plastics materials. The decision set forth
in file 081006 is affirmed.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division