CLA-2-49:S:N8:234 808304

Ms. Kathleen Crawford
BDP International Inc.
1017 4th Avenue
Lester, PA 19029-1813

RE: The tariff classification of "woodgrain hot stamping foils" (printed transfers or decals) from Germany.

Dear Ms. Crawford:

In your letter dated March 3, 1995, on behalf of your client, Kurz-Hastings, Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling. A sample was submitted and will be retained for reference. It is a sheet of transparent plastic film which bears a printed woodgrain design. It is intended to be pressed, by a heated roller, onto a substrate such as a hardboard or fiberboard panel, a process which will cause the woodgrain image to be transferred and thermally bonded to the board. The clear plastic "spent carrier film" (no longer bearing the image) can then be discarded, and the board, now with a finish replicating the appearance of expensive veneer, can be used in the production of cabinetry, furniture and the like.

The product, referred to as a "woodgrain hot stamping foil" or "Touchwood (TM) Transferfinish," is said to consist of six layers:

1. Polyester carrier film 2. Release coat 3. Protective barrier topcoat 4. Decorative prints 5. Backup color coat 6. Heat-sensitive adhesive

Your client believes that this merchandise is properly classifiable in subheading 3212.10, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "stamping foils." For reasons discussed below, we disagree.

The Harmonized Explanatory Note for stamping foils of subheading 3212.10 indicates that such products, also known as blocking foils, consist of metallic powders, metals, or pigments, on a supporting sheet of any material, which are used, with the application of pressure (and generally of heat), for printing book covers, hat bands, etc., by hand or machine. We believe that this provision contemplates that such printing will be accomplished by a stamping operation, i.e., one in which a heated implement or device selectively stamps out a portion of the metal or pigment to create a specific impression or shape conforming to the outlines of that implement or device. This would be analogous to the making of die-cut or molded parts, in that the shape of the character, mark or design being created is dependent essentially on the configuration of the stamping device rather than on any pattern or image already on the foil.

By contrast, the foils under review bear complete printed "pictures" (of wood veneer) which are simply intended to be transferred, in their entirety, to fiberboard panels and the like. A heated roller is used to completely strip the foils of their pre-existing images; there is no necessity or intention to "stamp out" or create characters, logos, or designs by means of a specially-shaped external source.

We thus find that the instant products answer more specifically to the provision for transfers (decalcomanias), in heading 4908, HTS. The goods of this heading consist of a coated substrate or carrier (i.e., paper or plastic) bearing printed pictures, designs or lettering intended to be transferred to a permanent surface, by means of pressure and either moisture or heat.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the "Touchwood (TM) Transferfinish Woodgrain Hot Stamping Foils" will be 4908.90.0000, HTS, which provides for transfers (decalcomanias), other than vitrifiable. The rate of duty will be 13.9 cents per kilogram.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director
New York Seaport