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HQ 950752

January 9, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950752 JS


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.3020

Tony Marks
DSM International
130 Produce Suite H
S. San Francisco, CA

RE: Hoopla Animal Packers; toy; backpack or knapsack, classifiable heading 4202, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Marks:

This classification is the result of a letter dated May 23, 1990, in which your client, Hoopla, requested a binding ruling for its product, Hoopla Animal Packers. In a letter dated November 14, 1991, you responded to our invitation to submit additional information with respect to classification of this article.


Three samples of the merchandise at issue were provided for our inspection. They each depict a different toy animal, and have very similar structures.

The item which resembles a "rabbit" is made of an exterior terry cloth fabric which is composed of 65 percent polyester, 20 percent rayon and 15 percent cotton; the filling material is 100 percent polyester. The sample is made up of a soft, stuffed head with floppy ears, and stuffed arms and legs which are also floppy because they are sewn onto the body of the article. The body of the article is uniformly padded and forms a compartment that is approximately 10 x 8 x 2 1/2 inches, a shape that resembles a brown paper bag. This compartment is lined with a cotton-like striped fabric. The top opening has a covered elastic gathering at its front edge, and the back of the opening extends into a 4 inch U-shaped flap. This flap has a hook and loop tab on its underside which corresponds to a similar tab sewn onto the front edge of the opening, near the gathering. The figure's head is sewn onto the flap, and a fabric loop is attached to the area behind the head. A textile carrot is appliqued onto the front of

the item and detachable shoulder straps which form an inverted "V" are snapped onto the back. These straps may be used to carry the article as a backpack.

The item which resembles a hippopotamus is constructed in virtually identical fashion, except that the fabric content tag has been altered, presumably by the importer, to indicate a shell content of 65 percent polyester, 35 percent rayon; the filling material is made up of 100 percent polyester.

The item which resembles a cat is formed with similar terry cloth fabric, although the exact fiber content is unknown. The figure's head is attached by a snap, rather than sewn on, and the front compartment is split down the middle, and opens like a door. To form the compartment, a bottom flap (about 10 inches long) is folded in first, and the two side flaps, which have hook and loop edges, are folded over it and secured. Although this design does not provide as sturdy and permanent a space as do the others, it is nonetheless functionally equivalent. Detachment of the various flaps creates an object which has no discernable use or purpose.


Whether the merchandise at issue may be classified as toys of heading 9403, or backpacks of heading 4202, HTSUSA.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order.

The competing provisions in this case are heading 4202, which provides for backpacks, and heading 9503, which provides for other toys. Heading 4202 is considered for classification since the construction of this item allows it to be used as a carrying case. However, in order for this heading to apply, the goods may not be considered toys since Chapter Note 1(l) of this heading excludes articles of Chapter 95 from consideration.

The terms of the heading 4202 provide for trunks, suitcases, and cases of all kinds, including knapsacks and backpacks. The Explanatory Notes (EN), the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, state that the heading covers only (emphasis in text) the articles specifically named therein and similar containers, and, that these containers may be rigid or with a rigid foundation or soft and without foundation. Thus,

not only are backpacks and knapsacks specifically named, but the items at issue, although soft and without foundation, are within the purview of heading 4202.

Heading 9503, which provides for toys, does not as fully cover the goods at issue. We note that this chapter, also, has an exclusion under Chapter Note 1(d) which prohibits sports bags or other containers of heading No. 42.02 from consideration as a toy.

You assert that the Animal Packer is primarily a stuffed toy that has added features for convenience only, and that its essential characteristic is the ability to amuse or entertain in the manner of a toy. You point out that the shoulder straps are removable, and have been included merely to make the stuffed animal portable; that both the straps and the pocket enhance the versatility of the article but do not create a backpack. In addition, you point out that the article does not have the holding capacity of a backpack nor the durability of one, due to its construction as well as use of soft, terry cloth material rather than nylon or some other water resistant fabric.

Although the whimsical characters are designed to appeal to children, the presence of a functional compartment, shoulder straps and hook and loop closures indicate an intent for use as a carrying case, a use which characterizes the article at issue. The compartment which forms the animal body is functionally relevant and capable of use by a small child for the storing of small toys or supplies. Despite the proportions of this item, it is nonetheless recognizable as a backpack - the detachable shoulder straps do not detract from the items' carrying ability, since conventional backpacks also have straps which may be adjusted or removed. Moreover, the claim that soft, non-durable material is evidence contrary to classification under heading 4202 fails in light of EN 42.02 which allows for containers which are soft and without foundation, as is the case. We therefore find that heading 9503 does not adequately provide for the present merchandise and may not be classified therein.


The Animal Packers, including the cat-figured sample which is slightly varied in its construction, all have the character of carrying cases. As such, each of the sample styles are classifiable under subheading 4202.92.3020, which provides for ...knapsacks and backpacks...of textile materials...other, with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials: travel, sports and similar bags: with outer surface of textile materials: other: of man-made fibers: backpacks, textile category 670, dutiable at the rate of 20 percent ad valorem.


The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available we suggest your client check, close the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at its local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, your client should contact the local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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