Mr. Calvin Chu
Century Multech
3370 Prince Street, Suite 605
Flushing, NY 11354

RE: The tariff classification of a flame retardant from China

Dear Mr. Chu:

In your letter dated November 21, 2017, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

A specification sheet accompanied your letter. Additional information was provided via an e-mail dated December 6, 2017. “Surface Coated Red Phosphorus Flame Retardant Paste” is a red phosphorus flame retardant that is used for back coatings in the manufacture of flame retardant fabrics and textiles. It is said to be a light red to dark red paste, consisting of approximately 52-55 percent red phosphorus and 45-48 percent hydroxyethyl cellulose solution. It will be imported in drums, 1.25 MT per drum.

Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, HTSUS, is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied. In addition, in interpreting the HTSUS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).

The Explanatory Note to heading 3809 states: [t]his heading covers a wide range of products and preparations, of a kind generally used during processing or finishing of yarns, fabrics, paper, paperboard, leather or similar materials, not specified or included elsewhere in the Nomenclature. It includes flame-retardant preparations such as the instant product.

The applicable subheading for the “Surface Coated Red Phosphorus Flame Retardant Paste” will be 3809.91.0000, HTSUS, which provides for “Finishing agents … of a kind used in the textile, paper, leather or like industries, not elsewhere specified or included: Other: Of a kind used in the textile or like industries.” The general rate of duty will be 6 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 Fei Chen at [email protected].


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division