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HQ 088527

April 18, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088527 HP


TARIFF NO.: 4602.10.1100; 9902.46.02

Ms. Mary Beth Moran
Customer Service
The Buffalo Customhouse Brokerage Co., Inc. Peace Bridge Plaza Warehouse
Suite 211
Buffalo, NY 14213

RE: Bamboo basket with a plastic segmented tray and a clear plastic dome are composite good. Canada; FTA.

Dear Ms. Moran:

This is in reply to your letter of December 19, 1990, concerning the tariff classification, and country of origin for duty purposes, of a plastic tray and dome with wicker basket, produced in China and/or Canada, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The country of origin marking issues will be responded to by our Value and Marking Branch in a separate correspondence. Please reference your client Per Pak Ltd.


The merchandise at issue consists of a bamboo basket with a plastic segmented tray and a clear plastic dome. The basket is a product of China; the plastic components made in Canada. The plastic tray and dome are designed to fit snugly into the bamboo basket, forming one unit. As such, they will be used in catering-like businesses to transport and display food items. The units are shipped unassembled: 15 of each part in a corrugated box.


Whether the instant merchandise is a composite good as defined under the General Rules of Interpretation to the HTSUSA?


Heading 4602, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, basket- work, wickerwork and other articles made up of plaiting mate- rials. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA. The EN to this heading includes therein:

(1) Baskets, panniers, hampers and bas- ketware containers of all kinds, whe- ther or not fitted with rollers or casters, including fish baskets, creels and fruit baskets.

(6) Trays, bottleholders, carpet-beaters, tableware, kitchenware and other household articles.

Nothing is mentioned with respect to plastic domes or segment- ed inserts.

Heading 3924, HTSUSA, provides for plastic tableware, kitchenware, and trays of all kinds. Heading 3926, HTSUSA, provides for other articles of plastics. Several headings, therefore, cover the various components of the instant mer- chandise.

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that:

... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ...

Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order. GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) [goods of more than one material or substance] or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods con- sisting of different materials or made up of different compo- nents, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a)
[which requires that goods be classified, if possible, under the more specific of the compet- ing provisions], shall be clas- sified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential char- acter, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note (IX) to GRI 3 provides:

For the purposes of [GRI 3(b)], composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable compo- nents, provided these components are adap- ted to one another and are mutually com- plementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

Explanatory Note (X) to GRI 3 provides, in pertinent part:

For the purposes of [GRI 3(b)], the term
"goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which:

(a) consist of at least two differ- ent articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a par- ticular need or carry out a spe- cific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users with- out repacking ....

The components are mutually compatible, in that they are sized to fit into each other to form a tight seal. While the bamboo basket component could conceivably be sold separately, the segmented tray and the dome would be nearly useless with- out that integral element. It is our opinion, therefore, that the instant merchandise meets the description of composite goods.

Classification of composite goods is made according to the component, or components taken together, which can be regarded as conferring on the set as a whole its essential
character. The factors which determine essential character of an article will vary from case to case. It may be the nature of the materials or the components, its bulk, quantity, weight, value, or the role a material plays in relation to the use of the goods. In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure or condition of an article.

Clearly, the bamboo basket imparts upon the merchandise at issue its essential character. It provides the foundation necessary to transport and display victuals, while the seg- mented tray merely aids the user in arranging the foodstuffs. Lastly, the dome simply affords the edibles protection from the elements prior to consumption. Ergo, following GRI 3(b), the composite good is classified as if it were wholly a bamboo basket.

Country of Origin For Duty Purposes

Articles which meet the definition of "goods originating in the territory of Canada" are subject to reduced rates of duty under the United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act of 1988. General Note 3(c)(vii)(A), HTSUSA. This eligibility is in effect only if:

(1) they are goods wholly obtained in the territory of Canada and/or the United
States, or

(2) they have been transformed in the territory of Canada and/or the United
States, so as to be subject --

(I) to a change in tariff clas- sification as described in the rules of subdivision
(c)(vii)(R) of this note, or

(II) to such other requirements subdivision (c)(vii)(R) of this note may provide when no change in tariff classi- fication occurs, and they meet the other conditions set out in subdivisions
(J) and (R) of this note.

Subdivision (c)(vii)(R)(9) states, in pertinent part, that goods of chapters 44 through 46 must either change from one chapter to another, or change to heading 4602 from any other heading. At the time of importation into Canada, the Chinese bamboo basket is classifiable in heading 4602. After being combined with the Canadian plastic tray and dome, the merchandise is still classified in that heading. Under the terms of subdivision (c)(vii)(R)(9), and the other subdivi- sions mentioned above, the country of origin of the sample is still China.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified in heading 4602.10.1100, HTSUSA, as basketwork, wickerwork and other articles, made directly to shape from plaiting materials or made up from articles of heading 4601; articles of loofah, of vegetable materials, other baskets and bags, whether or not lined, of bamboo. While the applicable rate of duty for these articles from China is normally 10 percent ad valorem, subheading 9902.46.02, HTSUSA, affords a Free rate of duty for wicker products provided for in, inter alia, subheading 4602.10.11.


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