Ms. Michelle Cuevas-Castillo
5513 Eric Street
Allendale, MI 49401
RE: The tariff classification of dual-use Diaper Liners/Baby Wipes from China
Dear Ms. Cuevas-Castillo:
In your letter, dated May 17, 2017, you requested a classification ruling. The ruling was returned to you for additional information, which was received by this office on June 26, 2017. Samples and product specifications were provided for review. The samples will be retained.
The “NuaBaby nappy liners/wipes” are sheets of non-woven textile designed for use both as disposable diaper liners and as baby wipes. You state that the biodegradable textile is polylactic acid, derived from corn. The sheets are packaged 75 in a pull-pack pouch. As a diaper liner the diaper-sized rectangular sheet is placed on top of a diaper, next to the baby’s skin, to catch solid waste and allow for easy disposal. The sheets can alternatively be sprayed with water and used as baby wipes. They are not pre-moistened or infused with soaps.
The dual-use diaper liner/baby wipes potentially are classifiable in two competing tariff headings. As diaper liners they are classifiable in heading 9619, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which specifically names (eo nominae) diaper liners in the heading language. As baby wipes they are classifiable in heading 5603, HTSUS, which provides for pieces of non-woven textile, as no heading specifically names baby wipes.
Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 3 states, “When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows: GRI 3(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description.” In this case the eo nominae description of diaper liners is more specific. Further, Note 1(f) to Chapter 56, HTSUS, excludes articles of heading 9619 from classification in chapter 56.
In your submission you propose classification in subheading 9619.00.1530, HTSUS, as diaper liners of paper, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibers. We disagree, as the stated material of your product is a polylactic acid non-woven textile, derived from corn starch.
The applicable subheading for the Nappy Liners/Wipes will be 9619.00.7400, HTSUS, which provides for Sanitary towels (pads) and tampons, diapers and diaper liners for babies and similar articles, of any material: Other, of textile materials: Other (than knitted or crocheted): Of man-made fibers. The general rate of duty will be 16% 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 the World Wide Web at https://hts.usitc.gov/current.
We note that the submitted samples are marked, “Designed in Ireland” prominently on the front of the retail packaging next to the main product label, with the country of origin, “Made in China” on the back. This marking is not in conformity with Customs regulations.
Part 134, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. CBP has recognized that the presence of a geographic location, other than the country in which the article was produced, on an imported article or its container may mislead the ultimate purchaser as to the true country of origin. Therefore, in cases where the name of a location in the U.S. or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced appears on an imported article or its container, 19 CFR 134.46, provides that there shall appear, legibly and permanently, in close proximity to such words, letters, or name, and in at least a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by "Made in", "Product of", or other words of similar meaning.
CBP has ruled that in order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name of the locality other than the country of origin appears. The purpose of this section is to prevent the possibility of misleading or deceiving the ultimate purchaser as to the actual origin of the imported good.
To be in conformity you can reconfigure the marking with “Designed in Ireland” and “Made in China” on the same side of the packaging and ensure that the lettering of the China marking is in at least comparable size. Alternatively, the reference to Ireland can be removed.
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 Charlene Miller at Charlene.Miller@dhs.gov.
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division