Ms. Barb Carman
BCB International Inc.
1010 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14213-1501
RE: The tariff classification of Octoart and Octolux sheets from Canada
Dear Ms. Carman:
In your letter dated February 11, 2013, on behalf of Octopus Products Ltd., you requested a tariff classification ruling.
Two sample swatches of decorative panel products were provided with your letter. The panels are used as ceiling elements, wall paneling, furniture components and displays. The Octoart residential line consists of methyl methacrylate acrylic (MMA) panels which are surface laminated with natural and tinted plant fibers such as mulberry, water hyacinth, bamboo and tamarind leaf. The fibers are added to create a decorative effect and do not provide any reinforcement or structural properties. Some versions of Octoart, such as those used for shower doors, are constructed with the natural plant fibers between two sheets of acrylic. The Octoart industrial line is similar, but made with polycarbonate instead of acrylic.
The Octoart panels will be imported in sheets measuring 48 inches by 96 inches. The standard thickness is 1/8 inch, though the sheets may be ordered in thicknesses of 1/16, 3/16, 3/8, 3/4 and 1 inch. You have stated that the sheets are not flexible, i.e., in the dimensions as imported, they cannot be bent so that two sides touch to form an oval and then return to their original shape without creasing, cracking or distortion.
The applicable subheading for the Octoart acrylic sheets will be 3920.51.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials: of acrylic polymers: of poly(methyl methacrylate): other. The general rate of duty will be 6.5 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the Octoart polycarbonate sheets will be 3920. 61.0000, HTSUS, which provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials: of polycarbonates, alkyd resins, polyallyl esters or other polyesters: of polycarbonates. The general rate of duty will be 5.8 percent ad valorem.
The Octolux panels are aluminum alloy sheets consisting of aluminum with magnesium, zinc, manganese, chromium, nickel and lead. You indicate that the thickness exceeds .2 mm but does not exceed 6.3 mm. The panels may be imported in rectangular shapes or in shapes other than rectangular.
The applicable subheading for the Octolux aluminum panels, when imported in rectangular shapes, will be 7606.12.3090, HTSUS, which provides for aluminum plates, sheets and strip, of a thickness exceeding 0.2 mm, rectangular (including square), of aluminum alloys, not clad, with a thickness of 6.3 mm or less, other. The general rate of duty will be 3 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the Octolux aluminum panels, when imported in shapes other than rectangular, will be 7606.92.3090, HTSUS, which provides for aluminum plates, sheets and strip, of a thickness exceeding 0.2 mm, other, of aluminum alloys, not clad, with a thickness of 6.3 mm or less, other. The general rate of duty will be 3 percent ad valorem.
Sample swatches of the materials will also be imported. The individual swatches are cut to small sizes, none larger than 4.5 inches by 3.5 inches, drilled and assembled onto a chain, or otherwise assembled into a binder, kit box, or onto a board to illustrate the color, finish, and type of surface material. You state that these swatches will be used exclusively for soliciting sales in the United States of the foreign produced decorative panels. You ask whether these sample swatches may be eligible for duty free treatment under subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS. This subheading provides for the free entry of any sample valued not over $1.00 each, or marked, torn, perforated, or otherwise treated so that it is unsuitable for sale or for use otherwise than as a sample, to be used in the United States only for soliciting orders for products of foreign countries. The controlling factor under this statute is whether the importer uses the samples for the purpose of soliciting purchase orders for foreign merchandise and the creation of demand for future orders. The purpose behind the importation and distribution of the samples must be the stimulation of sales through exposure for public consumption.
When the items are valued at more than $1.00 each, as is likely the case with these sample chains, binders, kit boxes and boards, they may not be entered free of duty under subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS, unless they are marked as samples or treated in some way to render them unsuitable for commercial sale or any use other than as samples for obtaining orders for similar articles. The small size of the samples and the punched holes render the swatches unsuitable for use other than as samples for obtaining orders for similar articles.
As long as the sample swatches represent the actual full size sheets to be ordered, as long as the sheets are produced in a foreign country, and as long as the swatches are used in the United States to solicit orders of the foreign-made sheets or stimulate demand for them so as to increase future orders, then the swatch chains, binders, kit boxes and boards, whether or not valued over $1.00 each, are eligible for duty free treatment in subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS.
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 http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
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 Joan Mazzola at (646) 733-3023.
Thomas J. Russo
National Commodity Specialist Division