Mr. Rick Van Arnam
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

RE: The tariff classification of Lubrizol® 3140J

Dear Mr. Van Arnam:

In your letter dated July 19, 2010, on behalf of Lubrizol® Corporation, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The subject product, Lubrizol® 3140J is stated to be a mixture consisting of a hydrocarbon polymer of the polyisobutylene type in mineral oil. You also state that the product is a viscosity modifier additive for base stocks used to formulate gear oils, greases and stationary gas lubricants.

In your letter, you suggest the product should be classified in Heading 2710 because Lubrizol® 3140J, in its imported condition contains 70 percent or more of petroleum oils. However, we disagree. Heading 2710, provides for “preparations not elsewhere specified or included, containing by weight 70 percent or more of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations.” It is clear from the language of this heading, only preparations which are not elsewhere specified or included can be classified here. In order to be classified in this heading, we must first determine if the instant product is more specifically provided for elsewhere in the tariff schedule.

You state Lubrizol 3140J is a “viscosity modifier used in formulating gear oils.” According to Lubrizol’s website, “Viscosity modifiers (VMs) are a key ingredient in many lubricating oils. They are used to improve efficiency, cleanliness and low temperature performance, all while providing durability and protecting equipment from severe wear.” Heading 3811 is more specific than Heading 2710 as it includes “Antiknock preparations, oxidation inhibitors, gum inhibitors, viscosity improvers, anti-corrosive preparations and other prepared additives, for mineral oils (including gasoline) or for other liquids used for the same purposes as mineral oils.” The description of the instant product in your letter and Lubrizol’s website all indicate Lubrizol 3140J is a product more specifically provided for in Heading 3811.

In addition, in understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not dispositive nor legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Per the Explanatory Notes for Heading 2710, it states that “the heading does not include preparations containing petroleum oils or oils obtained from bituminous minerals in any proportion (even exceeding 70 % by weight) covered by a more specific heading in the Nomenclature…, prepared additives for mineral oils (Heading 38.11).`

The applicable subheading for the Lubrizol® 3140J will be 3811.21.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Antilock preparations, oxidation inhibitors, gun inhibitors, viscosity improvers, anti-corrosive preparations and other prepared additives, for mineral oils (…) or for other liquids used for the same purposes as mineral oils: Additives for lubricating oils: Containing petroleum oils or oils obtained from bituminous minerals.” The rate of duty will be 6.5 percent 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 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 Paul Hodgkiss at (646) 733-3046.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division