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HQ 951631

October 2, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951631 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6601.91.0000; 9902.66.01

Mr. Patrick D. Gill
Rode & Qualey
295 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

RE: Self-folding collapsible umbrella and case which expands into tote bag with umbrella compartment are classifiable together pursuant to GRI 5(a). Container; specially; shaped; fitted

Dear Mr. Gill:

This is in reply to your letter of March 12, 1992. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of an umbrella and carrying case, produced in China. Please reference your client Fisher & Company.


The merchandise at issue consists of a self-folding collapsible umbrella made of 100% nylon fabric with a telescopic metal shaft, plastic handle and braided textile hanging loop. You state that the umbrella will be imported and sold as a unit with a tote/shopping bag made of matching pattern 100% nylon fabric which has a double reversible zippered enclosure. When fully expanded, the bag has two handles, and is 17" in length by 14" in height. The expanded bag has a 3" zippered bottom gusset pocket which serves as a compartment for carrying the umbrella.


Whether the instant merchandise is classified as composite goods, as a set, or separately under the HTSUSA?


Heading 6601, HTSUSA, provides for umbrellas. With respect to the tote/case, heading 6603, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, parts, trimmings and accessories of umbrellas. 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 such "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 GRIs 2 through 4, taken in order. Note 3 to Chapter 66, HTSUSA, states that "[h]eading 6603 does not cover parts, trimmings or accessories of textile materials, or covers, tassels, thongs, umbrella cases or the like, of any textile material." Therefore, this heading is disqualified. The Note then goes on to say that "[s]uch goods entered with, but not fitted to, articles of heading 6601 ... are to be classified separately [(outside of heading 6601)] and are not to be treated as forming part of these articles." Emphasis added. You argue that

[t]he case for the umbrella ... is classifiable with the umbrella ... because it is ... presented with the umbrella and is fitted to the umbrella as required by the statute. Tariff provisions are to be given effect as written according to the ordinary meaning of the terms used. The term "fit" means: "1.a. To be the proper size and shape for. b. To cause to fit. 2. To be appropriate or suitable to." The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition (1985).

The carrying case is of the same fabric as the umbrella and is the proper size and is specially shaped or fitted to hold the collapsible umbrella. The entire design and manner in which the case encloses the umbrella clearly indicates that it is fitted to the umbrella. When the umbrella is properly enclosed in the case it looks exactly the same as any other telescopic umbrella in a conventional fitted case that does not have the tote feature. Simply because the carrying case can also be used as a tote bag does not alter the fact that it is a case for an umbrella which is fitted to and forms part of the umbrella.

We agree with your assumption that an umbrella imported with a conventional form-fitted case would be classifiable together in heading 6601, HTSUSA. The merchandise at issue, however, is more than a conventional case. It is true that when inverted and folded the case looks like a conventional case. It is also true that when opened to its tote bag form, it looks like a unsubstantial tote bag with a compartment for the umbrella. The tote bag properties are, however, merely incidental to those of the "umbrella case". It is highly unlikely that the merchandise will be purchased for its tote bag properties. While it is clear that this dual purpose article is not an "umbrella case" intended by the drafters of the tariff schedule to be classified as a part, fitting or accessory of articles of heading 6601, HTSUSA, it is also clear that the article's ancillary tote bag properties should not cause the case to be classified separately.

GRI 5(a) states that in addition to applying GRIs 1 through 4,

Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing instrument cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or sets of articles, suitable for long-term use and entered with the articles for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith. This rule does not, however, apply to containers which give the whole its essential character.

In DD 852980 of June 8, 1990, we underwent this analysis during a classification of a similar article. Therein, we held that "[d]ue to its repetitive use..., it is Customs position that this nylon tote bag is classifiable separately from the umbrella because it does not meet the requirements of either GRI 5(a) or (b)." This was incorrect. Not only does the "suitable for repetitive use" exclusionary provision apply only to packing materials and containers of GRI 5(b), but each requirement of GRI 5(a) is met by the umbrella case at issue. Pursuant to GRI 5, therefore, the case is classifiable with the umbrella under heading 6601, HTSUSA.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6601.91.0000, HTSUSA, as umbrellas and sun umbrellas (including walking-stick umbrellas, garden umbrellas and similar umbrellas, other, having a telescopic shaft. The applicable rate of duty is normally 8.2 percent ad valorem. Self-folding telescopic shaft collapsible umbrellas chiefly used for protection against rain, provided for in this subheading, and entered into the Customs territory of the United States on or before December 31, 1992, have an applicable duty rate of Free. See subheading 9902.66.01, HTSUSA.

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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division?

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