OT:RR:CTF:CPMM H301362 KSG

Ms. Zita Pan
Zuru LLC
228 Nevada Street
El Segundo, CA 90245

RE: Tariff classification of diapers for babies

Dear Ms. Pan:

This letter is in reference to your request for reconsideration of New York Ruling ("NY") N296283, dated August 24, 2018. In your request for reconsideration you included a new sample diaper ("sample 2") which was received November 9, 2018. We are treating your letter as a new request for a binding ruling regarding the classification of diapers for babies that are made of the materials contained in sample 2 under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

FACTS:

You provided a sample diaper ("sample 1") along with the request for NY N296283. Sample 1 was sent to the Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") Laboratory to determine the composition of the diaper. The CBP Laboratory Report dated July 25, 2018, for sample 1 determined that it was composed of 51% cotton fibers, 38% polypropylene and polyethylene non-wovens and plastic films, 9.9% SAP and 1.1% polyester tape. Based on the CBP Laboratory Report for sample 1, the sample 1 diaper was classified in subheading 9619.00.3300, HTSUS, which provides for cotton diapers. Sample 1 is not available to re-test it.

Sample 2 was sent to the CBP Laboratory for analysis of the composition of the materials. In a CBP Laboratory Report dated February 27, 2019, CBP determined that sample 2 is composed of six layers. The first layer is composed of 100% polypropylene. The second, fourth, fifth and sixth layers are composed of 100% polyethylene. The non-woven fabric of the third layer is composed of 100% polypropylene. The fibrous material of the third layer is composed of 100% fluff pulp/ wood fibers. The sixth layer is the layer closest to the baby's skin.

ISSUE:

What is the tariff classification of diapers for babies made of the materials contained in sample 2?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.

The HTSUS subheadings under consideration are the following:

9619.00 Sanitary towels (pads) and tampons, diapers and diaper liners for babies and similar articles, of any material:

9619.00.11 Of paper pulp

Diapers of other textile materials:

Of cotton:

9619.00.33 Other

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The EN for heading 9619, HTSUS, explains that many of the articles in this heading are composed of (a) an inner layer (e.g., of nonwovens) designed to wick fluid from the wearer's skin and thereby prevent chafing; (b) an absorbent core for collecting and storing fluid until the product can be disposed of; and (c) an outer layer (e.g., of plastics) to prevent leakage of fluid from the absorbent core.

The diapers for babies are not fully described in one heading and therefore, cannot be classified according to GRI 1. The diapers for babies are considered composite goods and therefore, are classified according the GRI 3(b).

In New York Ruling Letter (NY) N268304, dated July 11, 2016, CBP considered the tariff classification of diapers for babies based on the CBP Laboratory Report analysis of sample 1, which was submitted with the ruling request for NY N268304. CBP relied on the CBP Laboratory Report for sample 1 in NY N268304. The essential character of the diapers under GRI 3(b) was determined to be the material that absorbs the fluids away from the body, in other words, the absorbent core. In NY N268304, the absorbent core was determined to be cotton. Accordingly, the diaper described in NY N296283 was properly classified based on the CBP Laboratory Report findings of sample 1 and we affirm that ruling.

The CBP Laboratory Report for sample 2, which was submitted along with your request for reconsideration, concluded that the absorbent core in this case is paper pulp. Accordingly, the diapers for babies for sample 2 are properly classified in subheading 9619.00.11, HTSUS.

HOLDING:

By application of GRI's 3 and 6, the diapers for babies described in the CBP Laboratory Report for sample 2 are classified in subheading 9619.00.11, HTSUS. The column one, general rate of duty is free.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided for at www.usitc.gov.

Sincerely,

Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division