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HQ 082194

November 20, 1989

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 082194 SR


TARIFF NO.: 9403.20.0030

Ms. Lisa Bastante
Test-Rite Products
395 Allwood Road
Clifton, NJ 07012

RE: Metal tool chest and cabinet

Dear Ms. Bastante:

This is in reference to your letter dated January 22, 1988, requesting the tariff classification of a tool chest with a roller cabinet under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The country of origin is Taiwan.


The merchandise at issue consists of roller cabinets with tool chests stacked on top. The importer has submitted pictures of different styles. In both styles the tool chest is made of steel and has stacked drawers. The lids on top are closed by means of a key operated lock or tension latches and a hasp for a padlock (on some models). One of the tool chests has a removable storage tray which fits under the lid of the top piece. The tool chests sit on cabinets which are seated on four casters. The cabinets are made of steel and have hinged doors. One cabinet contains a tool set of 281 pieces which appears to be of nominal value.


Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable as a tool chest under 7326, HTSUSA, or as metal furniture under 9403, HTSUSA.


The tool box by itself would be classified under subheading 7326.90.9090, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of iron or steel. The cabinet would be classified under subheading 9403.20.0029, HTSUSA, which provides for other furniture and parts thereof, other metal furniture.

The HTSUSA is interpreted according the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. Under GRI 3(b), goods that are put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified according to the component which imparts the essential character. The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA provide the official interpretation to the tariff schedule at the international level. The Explanatory Note to GRI 3(b) defines goods put up in sets for retail sale as goods which consist of at least two different articles which are prima facie classifiable in different headings, goods which consist of products put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity and are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. The merchandise at issue meets this definition of a set.

The Explanatory Note to GRI 3(b) also states that the essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. Factors which may be used to determine essential character are the nature of the component, its bulk, quantity, weight, or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. Neither of the items at issue imparts the essential character of the merchandise. They both serve the same function. Neither item dominates in the factors listed above. The cabinet has more bulk but the tool chest probably plays a greater role because it stores tools and carries them to where they are needed.

The tools that are contained in one of the models will also be included as part of the set. They appear to be of nominal value and therefore do not equally merit consideration in the determination of which item imparts the essential character.

Under GRI 3(c), goods that cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a) or 3(b), shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.


According to GRI 3(c) the merchandise at issue is classifiable under subheading 9403.20.0030, HTSUSA, as other furniture and parts thereof: other metal furniture, other, other. The rate of duty is 4 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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