Mr. John M. Peterson and
Ms. Maria E. Celis
Neville Peterson LLP
17 State Street - 19th Floor
New York, New York 10004

RE: Tariff classification of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel beads from Japan.

Dear Mr. Peterson and Ms. Celis:

In your letter dated February 21, 2008, on behalf of Kuraray America Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling. Your sample is being returned.

Kuraray PVA-Gel PG-170-S hydrogel beads consist of cross-linked polyvinyl alcohol and sodium alginate (polysaccharide). Composed primarily of polyvinyl alcohol, the hydrogel is highly hydrophilic and has a porous, mesh-like structure with a high affinity for microorganisms. This affinity or adsorption property allows the spherical hydrogel beads with a diameter of 4 millimeters to hold up to 1 billion microorganisms. Microorganisms enter and multiply towards the inner part of the beads where they are entrapped and immobilized. PVA-Gel is used as an alternative to the activated sludge method in the treatment of wastewater.

In your letter you suggest classification under heading 3914.00.60 HTSUS, which provides for ion-exchangers based on polymers of headings 3901 to 3913, in primary forms. Ion-exchangers of this heading are cross-linked polymers containing active ionic groups (usually sulphonic, carboxylic, phenolic or amino groups). These active ionic groups enable the polymers, when brought into contact with a solution of an electrolyte, to exchange one of their own ions for one of those (of the same sign, positive or negative) contained in the solution. However, the PVA-Gel at issue functions by an affinity or adsorption mechanism and not by ion-exchange.

The applicable subheading for the Kuraray PVA-Gel PG-170-S polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel beads, will be subheading 3905.99.8000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for: Polymers of vinyl acetate or of other vinyl esters, in primary forms; other vinyl polymers in primary forms; Other:Other: Other. The rate of duty will be 5.3% 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 World Wide Web at

This merchandise may be subject to the requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which are administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Information on the TSCA can be obtained by contacting the EPA at 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Mail Code 70480, Washington, D.C., by telephone at (202) 554-1404, or by visiting their website at

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 entry documents filed at the time merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Frank Cantone at 646-733-3038.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity
Specialist Division