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RE: The tariff classification of a three-layer polyurethane-coated brushed polyester fabric from China
Dear Ms. Liang:
In your letter dated March 29, 2019 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Gum Tree Fabrics, Inc. Six samples, depicting the product at each stage of manufacture, were provided to this office. The samples, which were very informative, will be retained in this office for file and training purposes.
Pinnacle Brushed is a woven fabric, coated on one side with two layers of a plastics material. You state that this product will be used for upholstery, and will be imported as piece goods in roll form, 56 inches in width and in lengths of 30 to 35 yards, with no sewing, grommets or further working. According to the information provided with this request and previously, the subject material has a three-layer construction. The top outer layer consists of compact polyurethane (“PU”) that has been printed and embossed to simulate leather. The middle layer is a cellular PU. The bottom layer is a woven fabric composed of 85% polyester and 15% cotton fibers, constructed of light grey yarns in the warp direction and dark grey yarns in the weft direction, providing a striated heathered effect. The woven backing fabric has been brushed. The two PU layers weigh 267 grams per square meter (g/m2) and the backing fabric weighs 178 g/m2, for a total coated fabric weight of 445 g/m2 (thus not over 70% by weight of rubber or plastic).
In your submission, you describe the manufacturing process as follows: one side of the fabric is brushed, and a base layer of PU is applied to the other side. After the second layer of PU is applied, the leather-imitation texture, which was printed on paper, is transferred from paper to the PU layer, and then rubbed and rolled. You have provided examples of each stage of the process, showing the fabric layers in the brushed and un-brushed state.
The classification of textile and plastic combinations is determined by the Notes found in Chapters 39 and 59, and in Sections VII and XI of the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTSUS). Classification is also guided by the Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), which have been ruled to be the official interpretation of the Harmonized Code at the international level.
Note 2(a)(5), HTSUS, states in pertinent part, the following:
2. Heading 5903 applies to
(a) Textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastic material (compact or cellular), other than: […]
(5) Plates, sheets or strip of cellular plastics, combined with textile fabric, where the textile fabric is present merely for reinforcing purposes (chapter 39)…
The General Explanatory Notes to Chapter 39, in the section titled “Plastics and textile combinations,” explain the term “merely for reinforcing purposes” as follows:
In this respect, unfigured, unbleached, bleached or uniformly dyed textile fabrics, felt or nonwovens, when applied to one face only of these plates, sheets or strip, are regarded as serving merely for reinforcing purposes. Figured, printed or more elaborately worked textiles (e.g., by raising) and special products, such as pile fabrics, tulle and lace and textile products of heading 58.11, are regarded as having a function beyond that of mere reinforcement.
The Subheading Notes to Section XI define dyed fabric and fabric of yarns of different colors:
(f) Dyed woven fabric […] (i) is dyed a single uniform colour other than white (unless the context otherwise requires) or has been treated with a coloured finish other than white (unless the context otherwise requires), in the piece; or (ii) consists of coloured yarn of a single uniform colour.
(g) Woven fabric of yarns of different colours […] (other than printed woven fabric): (i) consists of yarns of different colours or yarns of different shades of the same colour (other than the natural colour of the constituent fibres); (ii) consists of unbleached or bleached yarn and coloured yarn; or (iii) consists of marl or mixture yarns.
Since the woven backing fabric is woven of yarns of different shades of the same color, and the surface of the fabric has been brushed or “raised,” the backing fabric serves for more than mere reinforcement purposes. Therefore, this coated fabric is not excluded from Chapter 59, HTSUS.
The applicable subheading for Pinnacle Brushed will be 5903.20.2500, HTSUS, which provides for Textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902: With polyurethane: Of man-made fibers: Other: Other. The duty rate will be 7.5% 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 https://hts.usitc.gov/current.
Effective July 6, 2018, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) imposed an additional tariff on certain products of China classified in the subheadings enumerated in Section XXII, Chapter 99, Subchapter III U.S. Note 20(b), HTSUS. The USTR imposed additional tariffs, effective August 23, 2018, on products classified under the subheadings enumerated in Section XXII, Chapter 99, Subchapter III U.S. Note 20(d), HTSUS. Subsequently, the USTR imposed further tariffs, effective September 24, 2018, on products classified under the subheadings enumerated in Section XXII, Chapter 99, Subchapter III U.S. Note 20(f) and U.S. Note 20(g), HTSUS. For additional information, please see the relevant Federal Register notices dated June 20, 2018 (83 F.R. 28710), August 16, 2018 (83 F.R. 40823), and September 21, 2018 (83 F.R. 47974). Products of China that are provided for in subheading 9903.88.01, 9903.88.02, 9903.88.03, or 9903.88.04 and classified in one of the subheadings enumerated in U.S. Note 20(b), U.S. Note 20(d), U.S. Note 20(f) or U.S. Note 20(g) to subchapter III shall continue to be subject to antidumping, countervailing, or other duties, fees and charges that apply to such products, as well as to those imposed by the aforementioned Chapter 99 subheadings.
Products of China classified under subheading 5903.20.2500, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to the additional 10 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, in addition to subheading 5903.20.2500, HTSUS, listed above.
The tariff is subject to periodic amendment so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Notice cited above and the applicable Chapter 99 subheading.
This ruling is being issued under the assumption that the subject goods, in their condition as imported into the United States, conform to the facts and the description as set forth both in the ruling request and in this ruling. In the event that the facts or merchandise are modified in any way, you should bring this to the attention of Customs and you should resubmit for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2. You should also be aware that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic Customs laboratory analysis at the time of importation and to verification by Customs, and the fabric may be reclassified at that time.
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 Maribeth Dunajski at [email protected]
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division