Ms. Cheryl D. Costa
11960 Westline Industrial Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63146
RE: The tariff classification of cellulose fiber-cement flooring from China.
Dear Ms. Costa:
In your letter dated November 23, 2020, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, CFL Flooring Limited Co., Ltd.
The merchandise under consideration is referred to as “STN engineered stone tiles and planks.” From the information you provided, these are flooring panels which measure 90 millimeters to 600 millimeters wide by 600 millimeters to 2000 millimeters long by 8 to 10 millimeters thick. The flooring is layered, consisting of a .1-millimeter-thick layer of resin, a .2-millimeter-thick decorative top layer consisting of impregnated paper or thermoplastic, a 7.5-milimeter-thick core layer of cement consisting of magnesium oxide mixed with sawdust, a .2-millimeter-thick layer of foil, and an optional backing of cork, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) plastic, irradiation cross-linked polyethylene (IXPE) foam, or polyester felt, which measures between 1 to 2 millimeters thick.
The STN engineered stone tiles and planks are composite goods comprised of different materials that are classifiable in different headings. Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) taken in order. GRI 3(b) of the HTSUS provides, in relevant part, that composite goods which cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a) shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The magnesium oxide/sawdust cement core provides the essential character of the STN engineered stone tiles and planks.
You state that the magnesium oxide/sawdust cement layer consists of 65% by weight of magnesium oxychloride cement intimately mixed with 35% by weight of sawdust. In an email sent to this office on December 9, 2020, you indicated that the sawdust component strengthens the magnesium oxide cement.
In your ruling request you suggest classification of the STN engineered stone tiles and planks in 6808.00.0000, HTSUS as panels, boards, tiles, blocks and similar articles of vegetable fiber, of straw or of shavings, chips, particles, sawdust, or other waste, of wood, agglomerated with cement, plaster or other mineral binders. However, classification of an article in 6808 requires that the vegetable materials retain their own identity in the body of the binder. In an email sent to this office on December 3, 2020, you provided photographs of the magnesium oxide/sawdust core. The photographs demonstrated that the sawdust component does not retain its own identity within the magnesium oxide cement. Classification in 6808.00.0000, HTSUS, is precluded.
The applicable subheading for the STN engineered stone tiles and planks will be 6811.82.0000, HTSUS, which provides for “Articles of asbestos-cement, of cellulose fiber-cement or the like: Not containing asbestos: Other sheets, panels, tiles, and similar articles.” The general rate of duty will be Free.
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.
Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 6811.82.0000 HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, in addition to subheading 6811.82.0000, HTSUS, listed above.
The HTSUS is subject to periodic amendment so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Note cited above and the applicable Chapter 99 subheading. For background information regarding the trade remedy initiated pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, you may refer to the relevant parts of the USTR and CBP websites, which are available at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/enforcement/section-301-investigations/tariff-actions and https://www.cbp.gov/trade/remedies/301-certain-products-china, respectively.
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 Nicole Sullivan at [email protected].
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division