CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 959797 MGM

Port Director U.S. Customs Service 111 W. Huron St. Buffalo, NY 14202

Re: Protest 0901-96-101817; Solvent Black 7

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision regarding Protest 0901-96-101817, concerning your classification of a dyeing material, Solvent Black 7, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (Annotated) (HTSUSA). All HTSUSA provisions and rates of duty discussed below are those which were in effect in 1996.


Solvent Black 7, CAS No. 8005-02-5, a number listed in the Chemical Appendix to the HTSUSA, is a synthetic organic dyeing material. Customs Laboratory Report 2-1997-21846, dated June 13, 1997, states that "it is soluble in organic solvents which is characteristic of a solvent dye. Unlike a basic dye, it is not soluble in water." This dye is also known as "nigrosine oil soluble" and "C.I. Solvent Black 7."

Protestant was directed to enter the merchandise under subheading 3204.12.50, HTSUSA, as "Synthetic organic coloring matter...: Acid dyes...: Other: Other." Protestant asserts that the merchandise is properly classified under subheading 3204.13.1000, HTSUSA, as "Synthetic organic coloring matter...: Basic dyes...: Basic Black 7." The entry here protested was made on February 26, 1996, and liquidated on June 14, 1996. A protest was timely filed on July 23, 1996.


Is synthetic organic dye Solvent Black 7 properly classified under subheading 3204.13.1000, HTSUSA ?


Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUSA. Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which requires otherwise, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUSA and are to be considered statutory provisions of law.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order. GRI 6 requires that the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings, any related subheading notes and, mutatis mutandis, to the GRIs.

In understanding the language of the HTSUSA, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA. See, T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).

The protestant argues that this dye should be classified under subheading 3204.13.1000, HTSUSA, as a basic dye. The ENs to Chapter 32 state that "basic dyes are water-soluble cationic dyes." The Customs laboratory report states that Solvent Black 7 "is soluble in organic solvents which is characteristic of a solvent dye. Unlike a basic dye, it is not soluble in water." Accordingly, it is not a basic dye classifiable in subheading 3204.13.1000, HTSUSA. Although this subheading does contain an eo nomine provision for "Basic black 7," this is a separate and distinct compound with a separate CAS registry number, 6363-84-4.

Subheading 3204.12.50, HTSUSA, the subheading under which the entry of merchandise was liquidated, provides for acid dyes. The Ens to Chapter 32 define acid dyes as "water soluble anionic dyes which are applied to nylon, wool, silk, modacrylic fibres or leather." Inasmuch as Solvent Black 7 is insoluble in water it is not properly classified in subheading 3204.12.50, HTSUSA.

Subheading 3204.19.2500, HTSUSA, provides for solvent dyes not specifically named elsewhere but listed by CAS number in the Chemical Appendix to the Tariff Schedule. The ENs state that solvent dyes "are dissolved in organic solvents and applied to synthetic fibres." This is consistent with the Customs laboratory report. Within heading 3204, solvent dyes are specially provided for in subheading 3204.19, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other, including mixtures of coloring matter of two or more of the subheadings 3204.11 to 3204.19: Solvent dyes and preparations based thereon." As Solvent Black 7 is not among those dyes here specifically listed by name and is listed in the Chemical Appendix, it is properly classified in subheading 3204.19.2500, HTSUSA.


Solvent Black 7 is properly classified under subheading 3204.19.2500, HTSUSA, at a rate of duty of 17.3% ad valorem. As this is the rate of duty under which the merchandise was originally liquidated, the protest should be denied.

In accordance with section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office together with the Customs Form 19, Notice of Action, to the Protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of this decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director Commercial Rulings Division