Mr. Ernest Spinner
BFB Enterprises, Inc.
P.O. Box 28180
Panama City Beach, FL 32411

RE: Reconsideration of NY J80371; The tariff classification of Winlex 4101 from China.

Dear Mr. Spinner:

This is in reply to your request for reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) J80371, dated February 7, 2003, regarding the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of bulk Winlex 4101 (a pentaerythritol ester of rosin), used in a wide variety of adhesives due to its stability and polymer capabilities. In NY J80371, CBP classified the product in subheading 3806.30.00, HTSUS, which provides for “Rosin and resin acids, and derivatives thereof; rosin spirit and rosin oils; run gums: Ester gums.” You ask that we reconsider NY J80371 and classify Winlex 4101 in subheading 3806.90.00, HTSUS, which provides for “Rosin and resin acids, and derivatives thereof; rosin spirit and rosin oils; run gums: Other.”

FACTS: Winlex 4101 is a pentaerythritol ester of rosin (CAS #8050-26-8) created by the reaction of gum rosin (CAS #8050-09-7, C20H30O2) with pentaerythritol and fumaric acid under heat and pressure. It provides heat and aging stability and skinning resistance in hot melt adhesives. Customs Laboratory Report NY20070475, dated May 7, 2007, states, in pertinent part, “it is the opinion of the laboratory that the product labeled Winlex 4101, light yellow glassy lumps, is an ester gum of rosin or resin acids. It is obtained by esterification of rosin or resin acids with pentaerythritol (a polyhydric alcohol).” ISSUE:

What is the correct classification of Winlex 4101?


Merchandise imported into the United States is classified under the HTSUS. 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 HTSUS and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms ofthe 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 headings 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 HTSUS, 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 HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are the following:

3806 Rosin and resin acids, and derivatives thereof; rosin spirit and rosin oils; run gums:

* * * * *

3806.10.00 Rosin and resin acids

3806.20.00 Salts of rosin, of resin acids or of derivatives of rosin or resin acids, other than salts of rosin adducts

3806.30.00 Ester gums

3806.90.00 Other

The ENs to heading 3806 state, in pertinent part, the following:

* * * * * (C) ESTER GUMS Ester gums are obtained by esterification, with ethylene glycol, glycerol or other polyhydric alcohol, of rosin or resin acids or, of their oxidised, hydrogenated, disproportionated (dehydrogenated) or polymerised derivatives. These ester gums are more plastic than natural resins and this makes them suitable for mixing with pigments and other materials.

(D) OTHER (I)Derivatives of rosin and resin acids

* * * * * (5)   Monohydric alcohol esters of rosin or resin acids. The esters classified here include those known as “resonates” or “abietates”, e.g., the methyl, ethyl and benzyl esters and “methyl hydroabietate”, which are used, in particular, as plasticisers for cellulose lacquers. * * * * *

Under GRI 1, the classification of the merchandise at the heading level is not in dispute. You agree that heading 3806 describes the merchandise as a derivative of rosin or of resin acids. A derivative is “a compound formed . . . by simple chemical processes in which the nucleus or skeleton of the parent substance exists.” Van Nostrand’s Encyclopedia of Chemistry, 5th Ed. (John Wiley and Sons, p.475). However, you believe that derivatives of rosin would be classified in subheading 3806.90.00, HTSUS, as an other derivative of rosin. This is incorrect.

Essentially, the heading text includes seven different types of chemical compounds: (1) rosin; (2) resin acids; (3) derivatives of rosin; (4) derivatives of resin acids; (5) rosin spirit; (6) rosin oils; and (7) run gums. As we move to GRI 6, we see that the subheadings of heading 3806 are not broken out in the same way as the heading text. The subheadings include only four groups: “Rosin and resin acids”, which follows the heading text, “salts of rosin and of resin acids, etc.” and “ester gums,” which are not specified as such in the heading text, and substances other than those listed. While the “other” subheading must necessarily encompass everything in the heading text not specifically listed, such as rosin spirit, rosin oils, run gums, and derivatives of rosin and of resin acids, derivatives which are listed in superior subheadings are not caught in the “other” provision. The instant substance, derived from the esterification of rosin with a polyhydric alcohol, is certainly a derivative. EN 36.08(D)(I)(5) describes certain esters of rosin as derivatives. However, ester gums in particular, are not classified with other esters of rosin. Rather, they are classified in their own subheading, that being subheading 3806.30, HTSUS. Here, the laboratory report concludes that the product is an ester gum and the description of its manufacture matches that in the ENs for ester gums. Therefore, the instant product is an ester gum of subheading 3806.30.0000, HTSUS.


Winlex 4101 is classified in heading 3806, HTSUS, specifically in subheading for Winlex 4101 will be 3806.30.0000, HTSUS, the provision for: “[r]osin and resin acids, and derivatives thereof; rosin spirit and rosin oils; run gums: ester gums.” The rate of duty will be 6.5 percent ad valorem. Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at


New York Ruling Letter (NY) J80371, dated February 7, 2003, is affirmed with regard to the classification of Winlex 4101.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division