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HQ 089018

August 9, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089018 HP


TARIFF NO.: 9404.90.2000

Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: HRL 087961 modified. Infant's car seat covers which are stuffed or internally fitted are seat cushions. Part; automobile; GSP; Mexico; furnishing

Dear Attorneys for Cosco, Inc.:

This is in reply to your letter of March 26, 1991, requesting reconsideration of Headquarter's Ruling Letter (HRL) 087961. Please reference your client Cosco, Inc.


The merchandise at issue consists of an infant's car seat cushion/cover ("cover"), model no. 02-719. The back panel, back "collar" and seat panel of the article are made from 100% polyester quilted fabric backed by polyester filler (weighing 4 oz. per linear yard) and lined with 100% polypropylene fabric. The seat panel covers a seat pad made from 100% polyurethane foam, the back of which is covered by a layer of polypropylene fabric. The cover is designed for infants who weigh 17 pounds or less and whose height is 26 inches or less and is intended to help protect them from shocks that may occur when traveling by automobile.

The cover is assembled in Mexico from U.S. material which is imported into Mexico from unmarked bolts of fabric measuring either 58" x 100 yards or 58" x 500 yards. In addition, the foam pad and all thread used in sewing the cover are of U.S. origin. After importation, the car seat cover is secured over additional foam padding (on the top and sides) to a plastic infant's car seat.

In HRL 087961 of January 24, 1991, we held that the cover was classified in subheading 6304.93.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as an other furnishing article. You disagree with this conclusion, and once again request classification under subheading 9401.90.1000, HTSUSA, as a part of a seat used for motor vehicles.


Whether the car seat cover is considered a part of an
automobile seat under the HTSUSA?


Heading 9401, HTSUSA, provides for seats, and parts thereof. It is recognized that the infant's car seat as a whole is classifiable therein. See subheading 9401.20.0010, HTSUSA; HRL 080959 of July 8, 1988. We must determine, therefore, if the cover is considered a "part" of the car seat.

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 heading 9401 states:

The heading also covers identifiable parts of chairs or other seats, such as backs, bottoms and armrests (whether or not upholstered with straw or cane, stuffed or sprung), and spiral springs assembled for seat upholstery.

The EN goes on to exclude from heading 9401 "[s]eparately presented cushions ... whether or not covered ... (heading 94.04)."

In HRL 087961, we underwent an analysis of whether the car seat cover was considered a cushion under heading 9404, HTSUSA. Indeed, in that request you advocated classification of the instant merchandise as a cushion. Therein, we stated:

In ... [HRL] 085885 dated January 23,
1990, an infant's car seat cover similar to that now at issue was classified in subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA, on the grounds that seat covers were neither similar to nor of the same type as the kinds of articles named in the heading.
Nevertheless, you contend that the article in question cannot be considered a seat or cushion cover of heading 6304 due to the existence of a foam pad sewn beneath the seat panel, and thus distinguish if from the merchandise ... of HRL 085885.

Moreover, you maintain that the car seat cover qualifies as a cushion in that it functions as a support or shock absorber for an infant occupying the car seat itself and should therefore be classified in heading 9404.

In HRL 085375 dated November 8, 1989,
Customs held that a ruffled chair cover was classifiable in heading 6304 notwithstanding the fact that it contained a polyurethane cushion. The cushion, which was imported with the seat cover but attached after importation, was deemed to be but an incidental feature of the article which was primarily a cover for the infant's automobile seat.

Based upon the above analysis, we decided that

[t]he principal function of the Cosco article is to cover the ... car seat.
Consequently, ... the seat cover in question, despite the existence of a foam cushion, is ejusdem generis with the cushion covers and loose furniture covers for furniture described by EN 63.04.

This finding was incorrect. The EN to heading 9404, HTSUSA, includes therein "[a]rticles of bedding and similar furnishings[, including cushions,] which are ...stuffed or internally fitted with any material...." The above description of the infant's car seat cover, which is internally fitted where such fitting would be required for efficient use of the merchandise, clearly meets the definition of cushions. As seat cushions are specifically excluded from heading 9401 (see EN to that heading), classification in heading 9404, HTSUSA, is appropriate.

HRL 087961 is modified accordingly. In addition, HRLs 085885 and 085375 are not in conformity with the above-stated analysis, and no longer reflect the opinion of the Customs Service. Appropriate action will be taken to inform those rulings' recipients of this modification. HOLDING:

As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 9404.90.2000, HTSUSA, as mattress supports; articles of bedding and similar furnishings (for example, mattresses, quilts, eiderdowns, cushions, pouffes and pillows) fitted with springs or stuffed or internally fitted with any material or of cellular rubber or plastics, whether or not covered, other, pillows, cushions and similar furnishings, other. The applicable General rate of duty is 6 percent ad valorem.

Articles classified under subheading 9404.90.2000, HTSUSA, when imported from designated beneficiary countries, are entitled to a Free duty rate under the Generalized System of Preferences. Section 503, Trade Act of 1974. Additionally, Heading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, provides a partial duty exemption for articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States. Should you wish to inquire as to your eligibility under either of these provisions, please direct your letter to:

U.S. Customs Service
Office of Regulations & Rulings
Commercial Rulings Division
Washington, D.C. 20229
Attention: Chief, Special Classification Branch

In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are modifying HRL 087961 to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. However, if you disagree with the legal basis for our decision, we invite you to submit, either for yourself or on behalf of your client, any arguments you might have with respect to this matter for our review. Any submission you wish to make should be received within 30 days of the date of this letter.

This notice to you should therefore be considered a modification of HRL 087961 of January 24, 1991, under 19 C.F.R. 177.9(d)(1) (1989). It is not to be applied retroactively to HRL 087961 (19 C.F.R. 177.9(d)(2) (1989)) and will not, therefore, affect the transaction for the importation of your merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, including that for which the present classification is requested, HRL 087961 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to the release of HRL 089018 will be classified under the new ruling. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of the new ruling as may be dictated by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy,
this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


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