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HQ 084015

June 12, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084015


TARIFF NO.: 3924.90.5000

Ms. Ruby L. Wood
Vice President
Evans And Wood & Co.
P.O. Box 610005
D/FW Airport, Texas 75261

RE: Tariff classification of a shoe rack, sweater/accessory rack and an underbed bag produced in Taiwan.

Dear Ms. Wood:

Your letter dated February 21, 1989, addressed to our Dallas office concerning the tariff classification of a shoe rack, sweater/accessory rack and an underbed, has been referred to this office for a direct reply to you.


The shoe rack is, by weight, 40 percent 70D nylon/PVC, 33 percent clear PVC sheet, 20 percent wood board, 5 percent velcro/rivets and 2 percent polyethylene board. The total weight of the unit is .7 kilograms (kg). This article is used in the home to organize and save closet space.

The sweater/accessory rack is, by weight, 30 percent 70D nylon/PVC, 16 percent clear PVC sheet, 49 percent wood board, and 5 percent velcro/rivets. The total weight of the unit is 1.65 kg. This article serves the same purpose as the shoe rack.

The underbed bag is, by weight, 68 percent 70D nylon/PVC, 20 percent clear PVC sheet and 12 percent plastic zipper. The total weight of the unit is 0.5 kg. This article is used to store items which can then be placed under the bed.


What material imparts the essential character to the above- listed articles?


In applying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), the Customs Service must follow the terms of the statute. Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]." In other words classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

In this instance GRI 3 is applicable. Its relevant portions read as follows:

3. When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, 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, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) state in pertinent part as follows:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, 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.

It is our position that PVC imparts the essential character to the products in issue. Although nylon helps to reinforce the plastic sheeting, it is the plastic sheeting which forms the protective surface of the articles and constitutes the most distinctive characteristic of the articles. The PVC is the component which is indispensable to the designated uses of the products.


The shoe rack, sweater/accessory rack and the underbed bag are classifiable under subheading 3924.90.5000, HTSUSA, as other household articles, of plastics, other, other, with duty at the rate of 3.4 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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