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HQ 088644

June 13, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088644 KWM


TARIFF No.: 6306.22.9030

Mr. Daniel C. Holland
District Director, Seattle
United States Customs Service
909 First Avenue, Room 2039
Seattle, Washington 98174

Attn: Stanley P. Gustafson, Assistant District Director

RE:Internal Advice Request 80/90; Tariff classification of tents; Tents for children; Toy tents; Other toys; Eo nomine tents.

Dear Mr. Holland:

We have received your memorandum dated December 18, 1990, requesting internal advice on the tariff classification of tents for children. After considering the information provided, and examining the sample, we have determined that the classification of the merchandise as a tent of heading 6306, HTSUSA, is correct. Our analysis follows.


The merchandise at issue here is advertised as the Playskool Adventure Tent. It is a dome shaped tent made of 100 percent nylon fabric. Hasbro's submission indicates that the nylon has not received any waterproofing treatment. The tent is erected by inserting PVC poles into sleeves and/or pockets sewn into the body of the tent. When the poles are connected they flex in an arch shape stretching from one corner of the tent to another. Two crossing arches create the "dome" and hold the tent erect. On the front of the tent is a mesh doorway secured at the bottom by a hook-and-loop fastener. The rear of the tent features a mesh window and a flap described as an "escape hatch" along the lower rear wall. At the top is a plastic cap and periscope for peering out at one's enemies.

Hasbro also indicates that only the fabric portion of the tent is imported. The poles, periscope and packaging are combined with the tent skin after importation. It would appear that some of this merchandise was entered as toys of heading 9503 prior to this internal advice request. Customs has proposed classifying the tents as tents of heading 6306, HTSUSA.


Are the tents classified as toys of heading 9503, HTSUSA, or as tents of heading 6306, HTSUSA?


Both Customs and the importer agree that the article is described as a "toy tent." However, the importer fails to understand why it is classified as a "tent" rather than a "toy." We will address below the importer's arguments and recent Customs rulings regarding similar merchandise.

The importer's argument would appear to be based on the use of the tent. In a letter dated September 6, 1990, Hasbro points out that the tent is purchased in toy stores; that it is not substantially constructed to withstand "wind, rain, hail, snow . . ."; that is does not have stakes, a floor, ropes or zipper closure; and finally that it is not an article of utility because it provides no shelter. While Hasbro may be correct in those statements, they do not act as a bar to classification of the tent in heading 6306, HTSUSA. Customs classifies merchandise in the condition in which it is imported. How and where an article is sold is an ancillary consideration. Not all tents classified in heading 6306, HTSUSA, would withstand hail or snow, nor do they all require poles or stakes or even a floor for their effective use. Neither awnings nor pup tents generally have floors; geodesic dome backpacking tents generally do not require stakes or ropes for their use. Hasbro is factually in error when they state that "[The tent has] no closure of any kind." In fact, a hook-and-loop fastener secures the front door mesh. Finally, a tent such as this is designed and manufactured to recreate for young persons a realistic play situation. The instant tent is as capable of protecting its occupants from the sun, a rain shower, and even light winds, as many of the exemplars of the Explanatory Notes.

Nor is any article which provides amusement to children considered a toy for classification purposes. Legal Note 1 lists several articles which might be considered toys in some cases, but which we know to be excluded from Chapter 95, HTSUSA. Childrens' tents are an example. If the notes did not instruct Customs to classify tents by their constituent material, each case would have to be judged against the parameters for classification of "toys" as well as "sporting goods." Instead, the Legal Notes essentially relieve us of that dilemma.

Hasbro also cites several rulings issued by Customs, and expresses some confusion regarding how and why the classification of this article could change from toys to tents. Two of the Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL's), HRL's 002425 and 065417, were issued prior to the adoption of the HTSUSA. Under HRL 002425 and 065417, distinctions were made regarding the size and limited functional capacity of some tents. Those rulings are no longer applicable. Not only has the text of the nomenclature changed, but the rules and rationale for classifying goods under the HTSUSA often lead us to decisions contrary to conventional TSUS wisdom. Such is the case here.

HRL's 086867 and 086969 are also mentioned by Hasbro. Neither ruling, in our opinion, details minimum qualifications for classification as tents. Both rulings, and others issued under the HTSUSA, describe tents with features different from those found on the Adventure Tent. The absence of those features in this case does not preclude classification as tents. We find that the cited rulings are useful, but not so restrictive that the Adventure Tent be barred from classification as a tent.

Lastly, classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relevant Section or Chapter Notes. Heading 6306, HTSUSA, provides for "tents." Having determined that the instant article is considered a "tent" as that term is used in the HTSUSA, heading 6306 provides classification by application of GRI 1.

Even if we were to consider the tent equally a "tent" and a "toy", the resulting classification would not change. In that case, two headings, both 6306, HTSUSA, and 9503, HTSUSA, would provide for the merchandise. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order. GRI 3 provides that the heading which most specifically describes the goods shall be preferred. In this case the alternatives would be the provision for "tents" (heading 6306, HTSUSA) and for "other toys" (heading 9503, HTSUSA). Clearly, the tents provision is the more specific.


The merchandise at issue, the Playskool Adventure Tent, is classified in heading 6306, HTSUSA. Its size, features, and particularly it use, do not prevent us from considering the merchandise to be a tent within the scope of heading 6306, HTSUSA. As such it is excluded from Chapter 95, HTSUSA by virtue of Legal Note 1(u) to Chapter 95, HTSUSA. The HTSUSA requires that products be classified by different criteria than may have been applicable under the TSUS.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

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