The doormat, which is imported from China by Big Lots Stores Inc. contains a fibrous top surface created by a 100 percent polyester flock and a crumb rubber base. The mat will measure 18 x 30 inches. It will be available in three styles. All of the mats include the word "Welcome" along with either a flower and brick design, pebble design, or large flower design.
The importer suggested classification of the subject doormats under subheading 4016.91, HTSUS, which provides for floor coverings and mats of vulcanized rubber. Were that correct the rate of duty would be 2.7%. The importer opined that as the rubber comprises the bulk of the mat's constituent material, it should be considered to impart the essential character to product. They cited New York Ruling Letter ("NYRL") 817629, dated January 11, 1996, which covered a doormat constructed of rubber and nylon flocking material, to support your position. However, the doormat covered by NYRL 817629 differs from the product at issue. The surface of this product is covered entirely by a layer of polyester flock, whereas only a portion of doormat's surface in NYRL 817629 was covered by flock. Additionally, the General Harmonized System Explanatory Notes to Chapter 40 states that the classification of rubber and textile combinations is essentially governed by Note 1(ij) to Section XI, Note 3 to Chapter 56, and Note 4 to Chapter 59, and indicates that the following products are covered by Chapter 40:
Felt impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with rubber, containing 50% or less by weight of textile material, and felt completely embedded in rubber; Nonwovens, either completely embedded in rubber or entirely coated or covered on both sides with such material, provided that such coating or covering can be seen with the naked eye with no account being taken of any resulting change of color; Textile fabrics (as defined in Note 1 to Chapter 59) impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with rubber, weighing more than 1,500 g/m2 and containing 50% or less by weight of textile material; Plates, sheets or strip of cellular rubber, combined with textile fabrics (as defined in Note 1 to Chapter 59), felt or nonwovens, where the textile is present merely for reinforcing purposes.
The doormat at issue, consisting of a layer of polyester flock adhered to a base of rubber, does not meet any of the criteria listed above as flock is a textile material, but not a textile fabric. As a result, the article cannot be classified in heading 4016.
Chapter 57, Note 1 states that the term "carpets and other textile floor coverings" means floor coverings in which textile materials serve as the exposed surface of the article when in use. As the top surface of the doormat is made from a textile flock material the item will be classified under heading 5705, HTSUS, as "other carpets and other textile floor coverings, whether or not made up." The applicable subheading for Article 810299732 will be 5705.00.2030, HTSUS, which provides for "Other carpets and other textile floor coverings, whether or not made up: Other: Of man-made fibers." The rate of duty will be 3.3 percent ad valorem.