Background

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a Court of International Trade ruling that imported sausage casings are classified as other made-up textile articles under HTSUS 6307.90.98 (7 percent duty). The plaintiff had argued for classification as plastic tubes under HTSUS 3917.39.0050 (3.1 percent duty).

The casings at issue are composed of a woven textile sheet coated with a layer of plastic on one side. The court states that the textile material gives the casing its strength and shape and allows it to absorb dyes and aroma substances and transfer them into the encased product, while the plastic coating helps prevent moisture transmission into or out of the casings. The casings are imported as flattened tubes wound around a cardboard core.

Like the CIT, the CAFC rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the casings are completely embedded in plastics and are thus excluded from HTSUS Section XI (which includes heading 6307) pursuant to Note 2(a)(3) to HTSUS Chapter 59. Specifically, the court said that for a textile to be completely embedded in plastic it must be entirely firmly fixed in a surrounding mass of plastic. The casings at issue, however, are only coated on one side and the coating material only fills the interstitial spaces between the textile fibers.

For more information on tariff classification issues, please contact customs attorney Deb Stern at (305) 894-1007.

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