CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086837 CMR 850308

A.N. Deringer, Inc.
30 West Service Road
Champlain, New York 12919-9703

RE: Classification of mineral felt imported in rolls

Dear Sir:

This ruling is in response to your letter of March 7, 1990, on behalf of Papier Kingsey Falls Inc., regarding the classifi- cation of mineral felt imported from Canada. Samples and merchandise literature were submitted.


The samples submitted consist of nine rectangular-shaped sheets of mineral felt which measure approximately 8.5 inches by 11 inches. However, the submitted literature indicates the mineral felt will be imported in rolls.

The mineral felt is composed of talc, tar, waste paper, latex and fiberglass. The primary materials making up the mineral felt are talc and tar, 60 percent and 20 percent by weight, respectively. The mineral felt is described in the literature as "a heavyweight non-asbestos felt with parallel glass yarn reinforcement and a high grade bitumen compatible with hot enamels."

This product is used as a pipeline wrap to protect against corrosion. It provides protection against damage from moisture, soil bacteria, and fungi, and resists rock penetration, impact and abrasion.


Which material provides the essential character of the mineral felt?



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]."

GRI 2(a) refers to incomplete or unfinished goods and complete or finished goods presented unassembled or disassembled and is inapplicable in this case. GRI 2(b), however, refers to goods consisting of mixtures or combinations of substances. The mineral felt consists of five substances combined together and thus, falls within the scope of GRI 2(b).

GRI 2(b) provides that the classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of GRI 3.

GRI 3(a) provides that the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings which offer more general descriptions, but that when two or more headings refer to part only of materials or substances contained in mixed goods the headings are to be regarded as equally specific.

Possible classification headings for the mineral felt refer only to the materials of the mineral felt and so must be regarded as equally specific. Therefore, classification is determined according to GRI 3(b) which requires classification according to the material or component which imparts the essential character of the good.

Talc and tar are the primary materials used in the mineral felt. Together, they make up 80 percent by weight of the mineral felt while the waste paper, latex and fiberglass make up the remaining 20 percent. Additionally, the talc and tar each play major roles in the functional value of the mineral felt. Therefore, Customs believes the essential character of the mineral felt is derived from either the talc or the tar.

Therefore, the headings at issue are heading 6807, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of asphalt or of similar material (for example, petroleum bitumen or coal tar pitch) and heading 6815, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of stone or of other mineral substances (including articles of peat), not elsewhere specified or included.


Essential character may be determined by various factors, such as bulk, value, quantity, weight, nature of the material, or the role the material plays in relation to the use of the goods. In this case, due to the nature of the mineral felt, we believe that the last criterion, the role of the material, is the factor which should be used to determine which material, if any, imparts the essential character to the good.

According to your submission of February 28, 1990, "the basic main product design is the inorganic content (talc) for its inearth properties i.e. the product does not decompose in the ground." The use of the talc in the mineral felt, as opposed to an organic material, gives the mineral felt a useful life of more than 50 years.

The tar, impregnated throughout the felt's mass, adds more impermeability to the felt. The addition of the tar to the felt greatly enhances the felt's ability to protect pipelines against corrosion.

The qualities imparted to the mineral felt by the talc and the tar are each essential to the value of the mineral felt. Without the impermeability imparted by the tar, pipeline would not be adequately protected against corrosion; without the added life span imparted by the talc, pipeline would have to be continuously re-wrapped with the mineral felt. Both qualities, impermeability and life span, play extremely important roles in the use of this product. We cannot say that one is clearly more important or valuable than the other. Therefore, classification is determined by GRI 3(c) which requires classification in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

Heading 6815, HTSUSA, occurs last in the schedule and so, the mineral felt is classified in that heading.


The mineral felt at issue is classified in subheading 6815.99.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, articles of other mineral substances, not elsewhere specified or included, other articles, other, talc. The rate of duty for articles within this provision is free.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division
6cc: Area Director, New York Seaport
1cc: CITA
1cc: Legal Reference Section
1cc: Phil Robins