CLA-2-94:OT:RR:NC:N4:463

Angie Courteau
La-Z-Boy Incorporated
One La-Z-Boy Drive
Monroe, MI 48162

RE: The tariff classification and country of origin of five polyurethane foam seat pieces

Dear Ms. Courteau:

This ruling is being issued in reply to your letter dated June 22, 2022, requesting a ruling on the classification and country of origin of five polyurethane foam seat pieces. In lieu of samples, illustrative literature and product descriptions were provided.

FACTS:

Item 1: The "Universal Slab," 04.000069, is described as a rectangular piece of polyurethane foam, measuring 12" x 6" x 1/2", that will be cut from a foam bun in Mexico and subsequently exported to the U.S. where it will be used in the production of a chair, sofa, or loveseat.

Item 2: The "Seat Side Filler," 04.000352, is described as a 22" long piece of polyurethane foam in the form of a right triangle, with side "a" measuring 3", side "b" measuring 6 1/4" and side "c" measuring 6 15/16", that will be cut from a foam bun in Mexico, joined to another foam piece to form part of a chair seat cushion assembly, and subsequently exported to the U.S. where it will be used in the production of a chair.

Item 3: The "Arm Wrap Poly," 04.000356, is described as a somewhat rectangular, cut-to-shape piece of polyurethane foam, measuring approximately 54 11/16" x 27 1/16" x 1/2", that will be cut from a foam bun in Mexico and subsequently exported to the U.S. where it will be used in the production of a chair.

Item 4: The "Ottoman Core Poly," 04.003408, is described as a disc-shaped piece of polyurethane foam with a diameter of 35 3/4" and a depth of 4" that will be cut from a foam bun in Mexico and subsequently exported to the U.S. where it will be used in the production of an ottoman poly subassembly.

Item 5: The "Front Seat Wrap," 04.003685, is described as a rectangular piece of polyurethane foam, measuring 8 1/2" x 28" x 1/2", with two small notches cut into both long edges that will be cut from a foam bun in Mexico and subsequently exported to the U.S. where it will be used in the production of a reclining sofa.

Images of items 1 through 5 are shown below:

Item 1: "Universal Slab," Part 04.000069

Item 2: "Seat Side Filler," Part 04.000352

Item 3: "Arm Wrap Poly," Part 04.000356

Item 4, "Ottoman Core Poly," Part 04.003408

Item 5: "Front Seat Wrap," Part 04.003685

Scenario 1: MEXICO: Isocyanate (HTSUS 2902.90) and polymeric alcohol (HTSUS 3907.29) of U.S. origin are mixed to produce polyurethane buns (large rectangular pieces). The polyurethane buns are cut in Mexico to produce items 1 through 5 and subsequently exported to the U.S. to manufacture seating.

Scenario 2: UNITED STATES: Isocyanate (HTSUS 2902.90) and polymeric alcohol (HTSUS 3907.29) of U.S. origin are mixed to produce polyurethane buns (large rectangular pieces). The polyurethane buns are exported to Mexico.

MEXICO: Polyurethane buns from the U.S. are cut to produce items 1 through 5 in Mexico. Items 1 through 5 are exported to the U.S. where they will be used to manufacture seating.

ISSUE:

What is the tariff classification and country of origin of the subject merchandise?

CLASSIFICATION:

Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 (together known as legal notes). If 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 2 through 6 are then applied in order.

You suggest that items 1 through 5 be classified in subheading 9401.99.3580, HTSUS, which provides for "Seats (other than those of heading 9402), whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof: Parts: Other: Of rubber or plastics, Other". We disagree.

HTSUS Chapter 39, Note 10, states that the expression "plates, sheets, film, foil and strip" in heading 3921 applies to "blocks of regular geometric shape...uncut or cut into rectangles (including squares) but not further worked (even if when so cut they become articles ready for use)."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes ("ENs") constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. The ENs to Chapter 94 of the HTSUS, "Parts," states: "This Chapter only covers parts, whether or not in the rough, of goods of heading 9401 to 9403 and 9405, when identifiable by their shape or other specific features as parts designed solely or principally for an article of those headings. They are classified in this Chapter when not more specifically covered elsewhere."

Since item 1, the "Universal Slab," 04.000069, is a rectangular block, which meets the definition in HTSUS Chapter 39, Note 10, above ("blocks of regular geometric shape"), it is excluded from Chapter 94 by the ENs to HTSUS Chapter 94, "Parts," above ("classified in this Chapter when not more specifically covered elsewhere") and thus it will be classified in heading 3921, HTSUS. Specifically, the applicable subheading for item 1, the "Universal Slab," 04.000069, will be subheading 3921.13.5000, HTSUS, which provides for "Other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics: Cellular: Of polyurethanes: Other." The general rate of duty will be 4.2% ad valorem.

With respect to the classification of items 2 through 5, which are not rectangular blocks and thus are not classified in HTSUS Chapter 39, the ENs to Heading 9401of the HTSUS, "Parts," states, "[s]eparately presented cushions and mattresses, sprung, stuffed or internally fitted with any material or of cellular rubber or plastics whether or not covered, are excluded (heading 94.04) even if they are clearly specialized as parts of upholstered seats (e.g., settees, couches, sofas). When these articles are combined with other parts of seats, however, they remain classified in this heading. They also remain in this heading when presented with the seats of which they form part."

Since items 2 through 5 are cushions of cellular plastic that have not been combined with other parts of upholstered seats, per the aforementioned EN, they cannot be classified in heading 9401, HTSUS, as seat parts but rather should be classified in heading 9404, which includes, inter alia, "cushions...of cellular rubber or plastics, whether or not covered."

The applicable subheading for item 2, the "Seat Side Filler," 04.000352, item 3, the "Arm Wrap Poly," 04.000356, item 4, the "Ottoman Core Poly," 04.003408, and item 5, the "Front Seat Wrap," 04.003685, will be 9404.90.2000, HTSUS, which provides for "Mattress supports; articles of bedding and similar furnishing (for example, mattresses, quilts, eiderdowns, cushions, pouffes and pillows) fitted with springs or stuffed or internally fitted with any material or of cellular rubber or plastics, whether or not covered: Other: Pillows, cushions and similar furnishings: Other." The general rate of duty will be 6% 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 internet at https://hts.usitc.gov/current.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

You requested a country-of-origin determination for items 1 through 5 under two scenarios. In the first scenario, the foam buns (subheading 3921.13, HTSUS) from which these items are cut will be produced in Mexico and all subsequent processing will be performed in Mexico. In the second scenario, the foam buns (subheading 3921.13, HTSUS) from which these items are cut will be produced in the U.S. and all subsequent processing will be performed in Mexico.

The "country of origin" is defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b) as "the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the "country of origin" within the meaning of this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA or USMCA country, the marking rules set forth in part 102 of this chapter (hereinafter referred to as the part 102 Rules) will determine the country of origin."

Pursuant to section 102.0, interim regulations, related to the marking rules, tariff-rate quotas, and other USMCA provisions, published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2021 (86 FR 35566), the rules set forth in 102.1 through 102.18 and 102.20 determine the country of origin for marking purposes with respect to goods imported from Canada and Mexico. Section 102.11 provides a required hierarchy for determining the country of origin of a good for marking purposes, with the exception of textile goods which are subject to the provisions of 19 CFR 102.21. When applied in sequential order, 19 CFR 102.11 establishes that the country of origin of a non-textile good is the country in which:

(a)(1) The good is wholly obtained or produced;

(a)(2) The good is produced exclusively from domestic materials; or

(a)(3) Each foreign material incorporated in that good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification set out in 19 CFR 102.20 and satisfies any other applicable requirements of that section.

With respect to item 1, the "Universal Slab," which is classified in subheading 3921.13.5000, HTSUS, we use the 19 CFR 102.20(g) marking rules, which read as follows:

3920.10-3921.90: A change to other plates, sheets, film, foil or strip, of plastics, non-cellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials of cellulose or its chemical derivatives, of vulcanized fiber, of subheading 3920.79 from any other good of subheading 3920.79 or from any other subheading; or

A change to any other good of subheading 3920.79 from plates, sheets, film, foil or strip, of plastics, non-cellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials of cellulose or its chemical derivatives, of vulcanized fiber, of subheading 3920.79 or from any other subheading; or

A change to any other good of subheading 3920.10 through 3921.90 from any other subheading, including another subheading within that group.

Under scenario 1, item 1, the "Universal Slab," is made in Mexico from a foam bun that is made in Mexico, exclusively of U.S. origin isocyanate and U.S. origin polymeric alcohol. Since the terms of neither 19 CFR 102.11(a)(1), nor 19 CFR 102.11(a)(2) are met, we proceed to 19 CFR 102.11(a)(3). Since the isocyanate (subheading 2902.90, HTSUS) and polymeric alcohol (subheading 3907.29, HTSUS) each undergo a prescribed tariff shift in Mexico in accordance with the tariff shift rule corresponding to 3920.10-3921.90, above, item 1, the "Universal Slab" is of Mexican origin.

Under scenario 2, the foam bun is made in the U.S. of U.S. origin isocyanate and U.S. origin polymeric alcohol and is thus of U.S. origin in accordance with 19 CFR 102.21(a)(2). Since the transformation in Mexico of the foam bun (subheading 3921.13.5000, HTSUS) into a "Universal Slab" (subheading 3921.13.5000, HTSUS) does not meet the terms of 19 CFR 102.11(a)(1), 19 CFR 102.11(a)(2) or 19 CFR 102.11(a)(3), we proceed to 19 CFR 102.11(b).

19 CFR 102.11(b)(1) states that "the country of origin of the good is the country or countries of origin of the single material that imparts the essential character to the good." Since the bun is made of two precursors, there is no single material that imparts the essential character to the good, so neither 19 CFR 102.11(b)(1), nor 19 CFR 102.11(b)(2), which applies to fungible goods, etc., is applicable.

19 CFR 102.11(c) is inapplicable because it applies only to sets, mixtures and composite goods.

19 CFR 102.11(d)(1) is inapplicable because the bun was not produced by means of minor processing, and 19 CFR 102.11(d)(2) is inapplicable because the bun was not produced by means of simple assembly.

Proceeding through the hierarchy to 19 CFR 102.11(d)(3), the country of origin of the good is the "last country in which the good underwent production," which was Mexico. Therefore, the bun from which item 1, the "Universal Slab," is cut is of Mexican origin.

Under scenario 2, since item 1, the "Universal Slab," is made in Mexico exclusively from a domestic material (the Mexican foam bun), it meets 19 CFR 102.11(a)(2) and is therefore of Mexican origin.

With respect to items 2 through 5, which are classified in subheading 9404.90.2000, HTSUS, we use the 19 CFR 102.20(s), marking rules, which read as follows:

9404.30-9404.90 A change to down- and/or feather-filled goods classified in subheading 9404.30 through 9404.90 from any other heading; or

For all other goods classified in subheading 9404.30 through 9404.90, a change from any other heading, except from heading 5007, 5111 through 5113, 5208 through 5212, 5309 through 5311, 5407 through 5408, 5512 through 5516, 5602 through 5603, 5801 through 5804, 5806, 5809 through 5810, 5901, 5903 through 5904, 5906 through 5907, or 6001 through 6006, or subheading 6307.90.

Since the foreign material in the product, the foam bun, is classified in heading 3921, HTSUS, and items 2 through 5, foam cushions, are classified in heading 9404.90, HTSUS, the tariff shift rule in 19 CFR 102.20(s) is met. Accordingly, the country of origin marking of items 2 through 5 is Mexico.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR Part 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 Seth Mazze at [email protected]

Sincerely,

Steven A. Mack
Director
National Commodity Specialist Division