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HQ 087870

February 13, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087870 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 9005.10.00

Area Director
U.S. Customs Service
New York Seaport Area
Room 423
6 World Trade Center
New York, NY 10048

RE: Reconsideration HQ 086839; power speculars; textile cord; carrying case; Subheading 9005.10.00; Heading 9005; Heading 4202; Heading 6307; General Rule of Interpretation 3; General Rule of Interpretation 3(b) Explanatory Note (IX); composite good; General Rule of Interpretation 5(a); HQ 083436.

Dear Area Director:

We have been asked to reconsider HQ 086839 (07/06/90), regarding the classification of a pair of power speculars with carrying case and textile cord within subheading 9005.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue consists of a pair of power speculars, plastic carrying case and textile cord. The speculars are worn like a pair of eyeglasses. They are similar to binoculars in that they may be focused by adjusting a knob located on each temple. They are intended for use as binoculars in order to aid vision at sporting events, the opera, ballet or concerts.

The carrying case is manufactured of a cellular plastic sheeting material. The case has a nylon top zipper closure, front storage pocket, self material swagger handle and belt loops so that the case may be worn on a belt and used for transporting the speculars outdoors.

The textile cord is attached to the frame of the speculars so that the speculars can be worn loosely around the neck and to prevent them from falling to the ground.


Whether the merchandise is properly classifiable as a composite good within the meaning of General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(b) or as separate components.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. If classification cannot be determined by the application of GRI 1 then the subsequent GRIs must be consulted.

In HQ 086839 (07/06/90), we ruled that the power speculars, carrying case and textile cord were not classifiable by the application of GRI 1. Alternatively, we ruled that the articles were, prima facie, classifiable within headings 9005 (power speculars), 4202 (carrying case) and 6307 (textile cord). GRI 3 governs the classification of goods which are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings. GRI 3 requires classification to be effected as follows:

(a) the heading which provides the most specific description of the article shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the components contained in composite goods, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods.

(b) composite goods made up of different components, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character.

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

These rules do not require goods which are, prima facie, classi- fiable under two or more headings to be classified as separate components.

The merchandise cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a), because three headings each refer to part only of the components contained in the composite good. When GRI 3(a) fails to resolve the classification issue, then GRI 3(b) must be consulted. GRI 3(b) addresses the classification of composite goods consisting of different components. The term "composite goods made up of different components" shall be taken to mean an item with separable components, "provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts." GRI 3(b) Explanatory Note (EN)

It is argued that the merchandise does not satisfy the latter part of the description for a composite good because both the carrying case and textile cord are articles which are normally sold separately. We do not agree with this argument. Instead, it is our view that both of these articles are of the type that would not normally be offered for sale separately.

GRI 3(b) requires composite goods to be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. In HQ 086839, we ruled that the essential character of the article was determined by the power speculars. No argument is presented regarding this issue and we still find this to be the case.

In addition to GRI 3, GRI 5(a) applies in respect to certain types of cases and similar containers which are specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles. However, once classification has been determined based on the application of GRI 3(b) then resort to GRI 5(a) is not necessary. If a carrying case is classifiable as a component of a composite good or as a GRI 5(a) container, the case would normally be classified with the merchandise that it contained. In HQ 086839, we addressed the applicability of GRI 5(a) because it was an issue raised, and only after an affirmative determination was rendered under GRI 3(b).

In HQ 083436 (12/22/89), we addressed the classifi- cation of a personal weighing scale and canvas case. Unlike the container under consideration, the canvas case in that instance was deemed classifiable as a specially shaped or fitted container within the meaning of GRI 5(a). However, given the fact that the carrying case at issue is classifiable along with the speculars and cord as a composite good, the question of whether it is specially shaped or fitted for purposes of GRI 5(a) is immaterial. Thus, neither GRI 5(a) nor HQ 083436 are applicable in this instance.


The merchandise at issue is properly classifiable as a GRI 3(b) composite good within subheading 9005.10.00, HTSUSA, which provides for other binoculars, free of duty.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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