United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0951182 - HQ 0951307 > HQ 0951183

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 951183

June 16, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951183 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 4202.19.0000

Robert L. Follick, Esq.
Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty
665 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10022-5305

RE: Reconsideration of HRL 089289; classification of luggage components; classifiable in Heading 4202

Dear Mr. Follick:

This letter is in response to your request, on behalf of International Travel System of New Jersey, Ltd., for reconsideration of Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 089289, dated December 9, 1991, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), concerning the tariff classification of unfinished textile luggage.


The sample you initially provided was a bottom component of a pullman suitcase. The top flap of a pullman suitcase was submitted separate from the bottom component. The top flap contains a half zipper sewn around the outside edge. The top flap also has an outside pocket the width of the entire top flap that contains a zipper as a means of closure. The pocket is designed for toting miscellaneous smaller items. Each article is made of a vinyl backed woven nylon material. The bottom component measures approximately 31 x 24 inches, with an expandable maximum width of 9 inches. The bottom component appears to be complete and in a condition ready to be joined to the lid portion of the finished suitcase; it has rigid edge and corner piping, a carrying handle securely affixed to the top, reinforcing straps sewn lengthwise onto the outside, inner straps for holding clothing into place, a rigid bottom flap with plastic fixtures for the attachment of wheels, and a half zipper sewn around the appropriate edge.

The top portion and the bottom portion of the suitcase will be imported separately. Also the straps which are attached to each sample piece, and the hardware which accompanied the sample bottom portion will be imported separately and at different times. The final assembly would require sewing and riveting of the top shell onto the bottom, sewing the straps on both the top portion and the bottom portion, and attaching the hardware onto the plastic fixtures.

You assert that the manufacturing time for each article is approximately the same. You also indicate that the cost of the bottom component is approximately 47 percent of the total cost; the top flap constitutes approximately 43 percent of the total cost, and the hardware makes up 10 percent of the final cost of the product.


Whether top and bottom luggage components have the essential character of finished luggage in order to be considered incomplete or unassembled items classifiable as luggage in Heading 4202, HTSUSA, or whether the items are classifiable as other made up articles in Heading 6307, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relevant Section or Chapter notes." Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's, taken in order.

GRI 2(a) provides the following:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to GRI 2(a) states in pertinent part:

(II) The provisions of this Rule also apply to blanks unless these are specified in a particular heading. The term "blank" means an article, not ready for direct use, having the approximate shape or outline of the finished article or part, and which can only be used, other than in exceptional cases, for completion into the finished article or part.

(VII) For the purposes of this Rule, "articles presented unassembled or disassembled" means articles the components of which are to be assembled either by means of simple fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by riveting or welding, for example, provided only simple assembly operations are involved.

Heading 4202 provides for luggage, including suitcases, traveling bags, and similar articles, of leather, plastics or textile materials. In this instance, the top lid as imported will include the handle and trim, a half zipper that surrounds the edges of the lid, and an outside pocket. The bottom component as imported will contain a half zipper that surrounds its edges, handle, a bottom flap, and the plastic fixtures necessary to attach the top component to the bottom component. Given the general appearance of each of the sample pieces, and the fact that neither piece is functional without the other, it is clear each piece has the essential character of unfinished luggage.

When examining the sample articles in light of the EN to GRI 2(a), again, they seem to constitute unassembled goods. The EN focus on the degree of assembly necessary to make the component parts whole. The EN emphasize that the simpler the assembly process, the more likely the articles should be deemed unassembled goods. In this instance, there is very little post importation processing required to transform the components into a single piece of luggage. It is clear that the component parts are substantially complete, and the simple procedures necessary for completion is attaching the top portion of the article to the bottom portion of the article, sewing the straps onto each component, and attaching the hardware to each component.

You cite Glass Prd. Inc. v. U.S., 10 CIT 253, 641 F. Supp. 813 (1986), to substantiate your claim that the submitted samples should be classified separately as component parts, and not as a substantially complete article. You contend that Glass Prd. Inc. determines that an eo nomine provision covers all forms of an article but does not cover a part of the article unless the tariff provision specifically provides for parts. However, this case is not persuasive in this instance since it is based on General Interpretative Rule 10(h) of the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) which was replaced by the HTSUSA. Therefore, in this instance, GRI 2(a) of the HTSUSA is applicable in determining whether merchandise is sufficiently complete due to its essential character to warrant classification as a complete article.

You assert that Delco Electronics Div. General Motors Corp v. United States, 11 CIT 661 (1987), represents the prevailing case law that establishes the criteria to determine what makes an article substantially complete based on an interpretation of Rule 10(h), TSUS. This criteria was originally listed in Daisy- Heddon, Division of Victor Comptometer Corp. v. United States, 81 Cust. Ct. 55, C.D. 4765 (1978), aff'd, 66 CCPA 97 (1979). In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 081623 of May 18, 1989, Customs determined that cases which construe Rule 10(h) such as Daisy- Heddon are not relevant to the interpretation of GRI 2(a), and that GRI 2(a) is controlling.

It is your contention that the top portion, the bottom portion, the hardware and straps, will all be imported separately. The fact that the components will be imported separately has no impact on the applicable classification of the bottom portion and the top portion. Without the loose hardware and the straps, each component continues to be recognizable as an unfinished piece of luggage. There is no complex post importation assembly necessary. Consequently, the bottom component and the top component are both classifiable as unfinished luggage in Heading 4202.


The two components forming the suitcase, if imported separately, are each properly classifiable in subheading 4202.19.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials. The applicable rate of duty is 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 that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your 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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: