Mr. John T. Irvine
One Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10020
RE: The tariff classification of printed transfers from Germany.
Dear Mr. Irvine:
In your letter dated September 27, 1991, you requested a
tariff classification ruling.
The merchandise in question is bleached, U.S. origin kraft
paper which will be returned to this country after being design-
printed in Germany. You state that in Germany, custom designs
for the garment and upholstery industries will be printed onto
the paper with sublimation dyes that are suspended in varnish.
After being rewound onto smaller rolls, the printed paper will be
shipped to converters in the United States, who will apply it,
under heat and pressure, to synthetic fabric. This procedure
will result in a "sublimation transfer" of the color image to the
fabric. (The paper, which loses only some of its dyes during the
transfer, can then be discarded, sold to "seconds houses" for
additional, lower quality transfers, or sold as inexpensive gift
You note that you have obtained an advisory opinion that
subheading 4809.20.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
States (HTS), might be the appropriate classification for the
above-described merchandise. That subheading provides for
certain self-copy paper of a kind used to make one or more copies
of an original document. However, we find all provisions in
heading 4809 to be inapplicable because they generally encompass
papers designed to receive and reproduce images from an external
source, as opposed to papers already printed with such images.
We also considered subheading 9802.00.50, HTS, which
provides for a duty only upon the value of foreign repairs or
alterations done on articles exported for such advancement and
subsequently returned to the United States. This provision, too,
is inapplicable, since prior Customs decisions have precluded it
when the foreign operations destroy the identity of the article,
create new or commercially different articles, or constitute part
of a manufacturing process begun in the U.S.
Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the printed
transfers will be 4908.90.0000, HTS, which provides for transfers
(decalcomanias), other than vitrifiable. The rate of duty will
be 15.4 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
Jean F. Maguire
New York Seaport