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1990 harmonized tariff schedule.

1990 Harmonized Tariff Schedule

For the past several years, INDA has been working to expand and improve the categories used by the U.S. government to identify the movement of nonwovens across our borders. With more comprehensive categories, INDA expects that importation trends (such as what is coming from) can be better assessed for their impact on domestic markets.

INDA's efforts are beginning to bear fruit and, since the beginning of this year, a series of "breakouts" have been incorporated into the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) that better categorize nonwovens. Government data reflecting the incorporation of these new breakouts is expected to be available, for the first time, by the end of this month.

New Breakouts

In 1988, INDA was successful in persuading the International Trade Commission (ITC) to provide for a separate heading for nonwoven fabrics, in general, into the tariff schedule.

Once the general category was established, we requested and received additional breakouts by technological process. Specifically, now technological processes are now beging identified in six categories under the HTSUS:

The information resulting from these new breakouts will be compared to the domestic nonwovens roll goods production data that is also being gathered by INDA. By comparing data from both sources, INDA will be able to identify the impact of imports on domestic markets.

Additional Breakouts

While INDA is encouraged by the establishment of these new breakouts, we believe that several additional categories should be adopted to best illustrate the impact of imports on the domestic market. Specifically, INDA has now set its sights on gaining separate breakouts for the spunbonded, melt blown, wet laid chemically bonded, dry laid chemically bonded and dry laid hydroentangled technologies.

To this end, we have been working with senior government officials since early January in hopes of getting these additional breakouts adopted before the next printing of the HTSUS.

While we are guardedly optimistic that we will be successful in having these five additional categories adopted, the officials with whom we have been meeting have expressed some concerns about their implementation.

For instance, there is some concern that Customs agents will not be able to properly differentiate the various types of nonwovens. The feeling is that these agents will not have the knowledge or expertise necessary to tell the difference between an item made from spunbonded fabric and an item made from dry laid hydroentangled fabric.

For this reason, INDA has worked to develop a list of specific identification characteristics that can be used to differentiate the various materials. So that this information will be most helpful to Customs agents, these identification characteristics are based on easily verified objective criteria such as fiber length, weight and texture.

There is also some concern that the amount of material being imported into the U.S. is not sufficient to warrant numerous breakouts. The thinking is that, if there are not many imported items made from nonwoven fabrics, why bother breaking down the categories even further? In its negotiations with the government, INDA has protested that this thinking is not justified.

In the first place, INDA believes the opportunity exists to get ahead of the information curve before imports become a larger factor in the domestic market. In addition, INDA believes that any information detailing import activities will be useful to its member companies and, therefore, should be cultivated.

The Next Step

INDA will continue its efforts to have additional breakouts adopted before the next publication of the HTSUS. In addition, we will also continue to work with Customs officials to help ensure that materials are being properly classified when they enter the country.

Also, beginning this month, when the information is expected to become available, INDA will begin tracking import data based on the breakouts that were adopted at the beginning of this year and will make that information available to our member companies. We expect that this data will be invaluable in helping us to understand the role of foreign goods in the domestic market.
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Title Annotation:Capital Comments; regulations altered to meet needs of nonwoven materials imports
Author:Mayberry, Peter
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Apr 1, 1990
Previous Article:Spunbonded nonwovens in Japan.
Next Article:Failing to plan is planning to fail.

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