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
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
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
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
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
Jean F. Maguire
New York Seaport