Mr. Alex Romero
A. F. Romero & Co., Inc.
291 Ave. Campillo
P.O Box 989
Calexico, CA 92231
RE: The tariff classification of a paint roller head and handle from Mexico.
Dear Mr. Romero:
In your letter dated December 18, 2002, you requested a ruling on behalf of Lakim Indusries d/b/a Quali-Tech Mfg. Co., of Rancho Dominguez, CA, on tariff classification.
You submitted a sample of a paint roller, composed of a handle and a head. Your letter initially asks the classification of the head if imported separately. It is composed of a cardboard core, approximately 6½” in length, covered with a napped fabric. You state your belief that the correct classification for this item is 9603.40.2000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for paint rollers. You make this claim even though you acknowledge both that the head is a part of the paint roller and that there is no parts provision within heading 9603.
You cite previous rulings to back up your claim, specifically NY E88564 and NY I82307, neither of which mentions the handle in describing a paint roller. However, in both cases, a handle was presumed to be understood as part of the paint roller without being specifically mentioned or described.
You also state your belief that the head alone imparts the essential character of a paint roller and you claim, by virtue of General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 2(a), that this is sufficient to classify the head alone as a paint roller. GRI 2(a) provides guidance for the classification of incomplete and unfinished articles. It states,
Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.
Part V of the Explanatory Note (EN) to GRI 2(a) explains this:
The second part of Rule 2 (a) provides that complete or finished articles presented unassembled or disassembled are to be classified in the same heading as the assembled article. When goods are so presented, it is usually for reasons such as requirements or convenience of packing, handling or transport.
Thus, the meaning of “incomplete or unfinished” means not a part, whether or not that part imparts the essential character of the item, but all of the parts of an item shipped together but not assembled. In the case of a paint roller, it would mean an equal number of handles and heads shipped together, each pair, perhaps, to be assembled by the ultimate retail consumer.
It is our opinion that the imported head by itself does not possess the essential character of a complete paint roller, due to the significance of the missing part, the handle. Therefore, it is not classifiable under the provision for paint rollers.
The applicable subheading for this product will be 6307.90.9889, HTS, which provides for other made up textile articles, other. The general rate of duty will be seven percent ad valorem.
You also ask for the classification of the handle if imported separately. The applicable subheading for this product will be 7326.20.0070, HTS, which provides for other articles of iron or steel wire, other. The rate of duty will be 3.9% ad valorem.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R.177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Mitchel Bayer at 646-733-3102.
Robert B. Swierupski