Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Upholstery Fabric Ruling Highlights Difficulty of Applying "Coated" Fabric Provisions of Tariff Schedule

In a recent Binding Ruling Letter (NY N236994), dated, December 11, 2013, to Mr. Brett Ian Harris, of Pisani & Roll LLP, 1629 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, U.S. Customs and Border Protection addressed the tariff classification of a woven and knit bonded fabric from China. The ruling request was made on behalf of Global Textile Alliance, Inc. The product will be imported in widths of 143-150 centimeters and will be used for upholstery.

The style "Mkuze" is a bonded fabric consisting of a woven face fabric laminated to a brushed knit backing fabric. The face fabric is characterized by a resemblance to the leathery skin of a hippopotamus. The face fabric has been brushed, dyed and coated with polyurethane in a hot stamping process. According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) laboratory analysis, the polyester face fabric is composed of 54.1% staple yarns and 45.9% non-textured filament yarns of different colors, is of satin weave construction, weighs 176.0 gm2, and bears a pattern created by applying a plastic coating on portions of the surface of the fabric. The warp knit non-pile backing fabric is composed wholly of polyester and weighs 123 g/m2. The bonded fabric as a whole weighs 321.2 g/m2.

Mr. Harris suggested that style Mkuze be classified as a coated fabric under subheading 5903.20.2500, with a rate of duty of 7.5 percent ad valorum. Customs responded that "since the plastic adhesive that bonds the fabric layers together is not visible to the naked eye, and the plastic coating on the face fabric only partially covers the fabric surface, creating a design, this fabric is excluded from classification as coated fabrics of textile in heading 5903." Customs classified the fabric at 5515.12.0040, (other woven fabrics of synthetic staple fibers: of polyester staple fibers: mixed mainly or solely with man-made filaments, satin weave or twill weave) The rate of duty will be 12 percent ad valorem.

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