Mr. Brett Stewart
Michaels Stores Procurement Company
3939 West John Carpenter Freeway
Irving, TX 75063
RE: The tariff classification of self-adhesive printed paper in rolls from China
Dear Mr. Stewart:
In your letter, dated February 11, 2021, you requested a tariff classification ruling. The ruling was requested for SKU# 10512701, “lithographically printed paper self-adhesive washi tapes”. Photos and product information were submitted for our review.
The documents and photos submitted indicate that SKU# 10512701 includes “washi tapes” of multiple designs and widths. All are made of lithographically-printed paper that is coated on one side with adhesive. Each is imported in roll form and none exceeds 15cm in width. The photos provided show that the washi tape is printed in multiple repeating patterns, such as graphic images and text phrases.
In your letter, you suggest that the lithographically-printed, self-adhesive washi tapes are classifiable in subheading 4911.91.2020, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for Pictures, designs and photographs: Printed not over 20 years at the time of importation: Other: Lithographs on paper or paperboard: Not over 0.51 mm in thickness: Posters. We believe that this tariff code was claimed in error and that you had intended to claim 4911.91.2040, HTSUS, which provides for items other than posters. Regardless, we disagree with classification in either provision.
The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized System (ENs) for Chapter 49 state that “The term “printed”… does not, however, include coloration or decorative or repetitive-design printing.” We believe that this language clearly precludes the washi tape – which is printed with coloration and decorative or repetitive-design printing – from classification in Chapter 49. Even without this note, however, we find that consideration under the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) also disqualifies classification in Chapter 49.
Classification is governed by the GRIs, taken in order. The washi paper may be considered within two headings, 4811 and 4911. Heading 4811 provides for Paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding and webs of cellulose fibers, coated, impregnated, covered, surface-colored, surface-decorated or printed, in rolls or rectangular (including square) sheets, of any size, other than goods of the kind described in heading 4803, 4809 or 4810). Heading 4911 provides for Other printed matter, including printed pictures and photographs. When goods are, prima facie, classifiable in two different headings, GRI 3 is considered. Rule 3(a) instructs that “the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description.” The instant item is paper which has been coated on one side with adhesive, is surface-decorated or printed, and is in rolls. The washi tape is plainly described by the language of heading 4811. Heading 4911, on the other hand, provides only for “Other printed matter”. This only vaguely describes the tape. Therefore, in accordance with GRI 3a, the washi tape is classified in heading 4811, as this heading provides the most specific description.
The applicable subheading for the lithographically printed, self-adhesive paper washi tape will be 4811.41.2100, HTSUS, which provides for Paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding and webs of cellulose fibers, coated, impregnated, covered, surface-colored, surface-decorated or printed, in rolls or rectangular (including square) sheets, of any size, other than goods of the kind described in heading 4803, 4809 or 4810: Gummed or adhesive paper and paperboard: Self-adhesive: Other: In strips or rolls. The rate of duty will be free.
Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 4811.41.2100, 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 4811.41.2100, 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.
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 https://hts.usitc.gov/current.
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 Laurel Duvall at [email protected].
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division