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HQ 081923

December 1, 1988

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 081923 DSN


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9050

Mr. David L. McClees
President, Talus Corporation
400 Riverside Street
Portland, Maine 04103

RE: Classification of a shoulder cushion

Dear Mr. McClees:

This is in response to your letter of December 28, 1987, in which you requested tariff classification under both the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA), and the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for a "wedgit" nonslip shoulder cushion. Our New York field office has furnished you with an answer regarding classification under the TSUSA, and under the HTSUSA for the separate components, as well as GSP eligibility. This ruling letter concerns classification under the HTSUSA of the complete wedgit shoulder cushion.


The "wedgit" shoulder cushion is designed to assist a person in carrying their luggage. The cushion is composed of a foamed polyester plastic pad with a polyester-cotton blend fabric cover. The fabric cover is 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton. The cushion is designed to be attached to a luggage strap by wrapping the fabric cover flap around the luggage strap and securing it to the cushion with the Velcro closure. The cushion presumably provides comfort as well as preventing the luggage from slipping from a user's shoulder.


How is an article classified when it is composed of components made of different materials?


Classification of goods in the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. There are no headings which specifically refer to this type of merchandise. GRI 2(a), refers to articles which are incomplete or unfinished. GRI 2(a) is inapplicable to the instant case because the merchandise is finished. GRI 2(b) provides that any reference in a heading to a material shall be taken to include combinations of that material with other materials, and that classification of goods consisting of more than one material shall be according to the principles of Rule 3 if they are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings. In the instant case, the shoulder cushion consists of a foamed polyester plastic pad, and a textile fabric cover, creating a situation where the article is classifiable under two headings.

GRI 3(a) provides that the heading with the most specific description of the merchandise is to be preferred. The heading that is applicable to the foamed polyester plastic pad is heading 3926, which provides for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials. The heading applicable to the textile fabric cover is heading 6307, which provides for other made up articles of textile fabrics. Both headings are equally descriptive, and therefore, we must proceed to GRI 3(b).

Under GRI 3(b), mixtures and composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. According to the Explanatory Notes which constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, essential character may be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

We believe that the essential character of the "wedgit" is imparted by the foamed polyester plastic pad because the pad is indispensable to the functioning of this article. The merchandise cannot be considered a shoulder pad without the presence of the pad. Inasmuch as the shoulder pad is supposed to provide comfort as well as preventing slippage off the shoulder, the plastic pad is essential to the objective of this article.

If the plastic pad were removed, the article would no longer provide comfort nor prevent slippage. The cover serves to protect the plastic pad from wear and also to hold the plastic pad in place.


In view of the foregoing, the shoulder cushion is properly classified under subheading 3926.90.9050, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of heading 3901 to 3914, other, other, other, and dutiable at the rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem unless eligible for GSP treatment.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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