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HQ 085595

January 26, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085595 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.4500, 8712.00.1020

Ms. Marian R. Shelton
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017

RE: Request for Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter 826863 concerning the classification of a combination bicycle and bicycle bag

Dear Ms. Shelton:

This letter is in response to your request for a reconsideration of NY Ruling Letter 826863, dated January 6, 1988, regarding the classification of a combination bicycle bag and bicycle under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample bicycle bag was submitted for our review.


In New York Ruling Letter 826863, dated January 6, 1988, this office classified a child's bicycle and carry bag under two separate provisions. The bicycle was classified under subheading 8712.00.1020, HTSUSA, which provides for bicycles and other cycles, not motorized: having both wheels exceeding 50 cm but not exceeding 55 cm in diameter. The bicycle bag was classified under subheading 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags: with outer surface of man-made fibers.

The sample article is also a combination plastic bicycle bag and bicycle. The bag is approximately 11 inches long at its widest point by 6 inches high. There is a slide fastener located across the top of the entire bag which is designed to open and close the bag. At either side of the bag there are two short nylon straps which snap around the handlebars of the bicycle. Across the front of the bag as well as on the bicycle is the logo "Starburst." The bicycle wheel measures more than 50 cm and less than or equal to 55 cm in diameter.

Counsel for the importer maintains that Customs erred in classifying the bicycle and accompanying bicycle bag separately. Counsel further argues that the bicycle bag and bicycle are properly classifiable as a "set" as defined in the nomenclature with the bicycle providing the combination with its essential character.


(1) Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable as a "set" for tariff purposes?

(2) If not considered a "set," how are the items properly classifiable?


The classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1, HTSUSA, states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . and according to the following provisions". The "following provisions" include GRI 3(a) and GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, which refer to articles in sets "for retail sale. . .". GRI 3(a) provides that the heading which most specifically describes the goods is preferred and headings for goods in a set are to be considered equally specific. GRI 3(b) states that:
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, as far as this criterion is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b), which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, sets out a three part test for "goods put up in sets for retail sale." The three step definition states the following:

For the purposes of this Rule, the term 'goods put up in sets for retail sale' shall be taken to mean goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are prima facie, classifiable in different headings.

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards).

Since these three steps are listed in the conjunctive, all three must be met to satisfy the requirements for a "set" in the nomenclature. The bicycle is classifiable under subheading 8712.00.2000, HTSUSA, and the bicycle bag is classifiable under subheading 8714.99.9000, HTSUSA. The goods are packaged together for sale directly to users without any further repacking. Therefore, parts (a) and (c) are clearly fulfilled by the bicycle and bicycle bag combination.

The problem arises with part (b) of the definition. A bicycle bag and bicycle do not fulfill the same particular need or specific activity. These items are used for two distinct activities, bicycling and transporting articles. Therefore, they do not comprise a "set" within the meaning of GRI 3(b) and the rules regarding "sets" become inapplicable.

The bicycle bag is not properly classified under Heading 8714, HTSUSA, which provides for parts and accessories of bicycles. Explanatory Note (III)(C) to Section XVII, which covers articles included in Chapter 87, states that "[p]arts and accessories, even if identifiable as for the articles of this Section, are excluded if they are covered more specifically by another heading elsewhere in the Nomenclature." It is the position of the Customs Service that the bicycle bag at issue is more specifically provided for within Heading 4202, HTSUS.

To further support this position, Explanatory Note (III)(C)(4) to Section XVII states that tool bags of leather or of composition leather included under Heading 4202, HTSUSA, are specifically excluded from articles in Section XVII. Since the subject merchandise is a travel bag designed to hold, protect or transport certain goods, it is similar to those items enumerated in Heading 4202. The bike bag was originally classified in New York Ruling Letter 826863, under subheading 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA, as a travel, sports, and similar bag with an outer surface of textile material: other: other: other. Subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA, covers articles "with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials". In the instant case, it is clear from our examination of the bag that the article meets both the "outer surface" and "plastic sheeting" terms of the subheading. The outer surface of an article is that which is both visible and tactile. Here, the visible and tactile surface of the bicycle bag is not a textile but a plastic material. Furthermore, Customs has previously determined that to fulfill the requirements of plastic sheeting in Heading 4202, HTSUSA, the plastic must be cellular in nature. Based on our examination of the article at issue, we have determined that the plastic component of this item is a cellular plastic. Therefore, the bicycle bag has an "outer surface" of "plastic sheeting", and is more properly classified in subheading 4202.92.4500.


The sample merchandise is properly classifiable under two separate provisions in the nomenclature since the articles do not meet the requirements for a "set". The bicycle is classifiable under subheading 8712.00.1020, HTSUSA, dutiable at a rate of 11 percent ad valorem. The bicycle bag is classifiable under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags: other. Items classified under this subheading are subject to a rate of duty of 20 percent ad valorem.

New York Ruling Letter 826863, dated January 6, 1988, is hereby modified accordingly.


John Durant, Director

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