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HQ 953272

February 16, 1993

CLA-2; CO:R:C:T 953272 ch


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9986

Mr. Parish
Florida Federal Building
Suite 200
2222 Ponce De Leon Boulevard
Coral Gables, Florida 33134-6193

RE: Revocation of HRL 087596; motor vehicle covers; automobile covers; other made up textile articles v. motor vehicle accessories; car covers; EN to HTS Nomenclature indicate that motor vehicle covers are to be classified as other made up textile articles.

Dear Mr. Parish:

Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 087596, issued to you on January 31, 1991, concerned the classification of automobile covers under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). We have had occasion to review this ruling and find that the classification of said merchandise under subheading 8708.99.5080, HTSUSA, is in error.


The merchandise at issue are automobile covers manufactured out of various textile fibers. The covers are to be manufactured in approximately 700 different shapes. Each shape is designed to match the form of an individual make of automobile. The covers possess elastic corners which serve to secure them to the motor vehicle to which they are specifically designed. The apparent purpose of the subject merchandise is to protect motor vehicles from damage caused by harsh weather or other outside forces.

In HRL 087596, we ruled that the automobile covers were classified under subheading 8708.99.5080, HTSUSA, which provides for parts and accessories for motor vehicles.


Are motor vehicle covers properly classified under heading 8708, which provides for parts and accessories for motor vehicles, or under heading 6307, which provides for other made up textile articles?


The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature 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 EN when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The EN to heading 6307 state, in pertinent part, that the heading includes "[l]oose covers for motor-cars." (Emphasis added). In HRL 087596, we distinguished between "loose" motor vehicle covers and motor vehicle covers that fit snugly over the shape of an automobile. We found that the instant covers were designed to fit tightly to the contours of various motor vehicles. Hence, we ruled that the merchandise was not classifiable under heading 6307. Instead, we classified these items as parts and accessories for motor vehicles.

We have re-examined the above-quoted language in light of heading 6306, which covers "Tarpaulins, Awnings and Sunblinds; Tents; Sails for Boats, Sailboards or Landcraft; Camping Goods." The EN to heading 6306 state, in part, that:

This heading covers a range of textile articles usually made from strong, close-woven canvas:

(1) Tarpaulins. These are used to protect goods stored in the open or loaded on ships, wagons, lorries, etc. against bad weather...Tarpaulins are generally in the form of rectangular sheets, hemmed along the sides, and, and may be fitted with eyelets, cords, straps, etc. Tarpaulins which are specially shaped (e.g., for covering hayricks, decks of small vessels, lorries, etc.) also fall in this heading provided they are flat.

Tarpaulins should not be confused with loose covers for motor-cars, machines, etc., made of tarpaulin material to the shape of these articles, nor with flat protective sheets of lightweight material made up in a similar manner to tarpaulins (heading 6307). (Emphasis added).

Motor vehicle covers serve the same function as tarpaulins; i.e. they protect automobiles from bad weather. These covers would be classified as tarpaulins but for the fact that they are not in the form of flat rectangular sheets. The EN to 6306 specify that tarpaulins should not be confused with covers for motor vehicles made to the shape of these articles, which are classifiable in heading 6307.

We have reached two conclusions based on the language of the EN to 6306. First, there is no reason to distinguish between "loose" motor vehicle covers and fitted covers. The EN to 6306 indicate that covers for motor vehicles shaped to the form of a vehicle are still classifiable in heading 6307. There is no need to further distinguish between covers that are shaped to the form of a vehicle, yet are loosely draped over its contours, and covers that fit tightly to the form of the vehicle. Hence, HRL 087596 was incorrect to the extent it relied on this distinction.

Second, the EN to heading 6306 make it clear that the authors of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System did not intend for motor vehicle covers to be classified as parts and accessories for motor vehicles. Instead, automobile covers must be viewed as items related to tarpaulins. Tarpaulins are flat rectangular covers designed to protect goods in the open, and are classified independently from the articles they protect. As motor vehicle covers are not flat, they are not classifiable as tarpaulins under heading 6306. However, this fact does not transform these covers into parts and accessories. Rather, they are to be classified as other made up textile articles not more specifically described in the Nomenclature under heading 6307. Accordingly, we conclude that HRL 087596 was in error in holding that motor vehicle covers are classifiable as parts and accessories to motor vehicles.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles, other, other, other, other, other. The applicable rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.

This notice to you should be considered a revocation of HRL 087596 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to HRL 087596 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your client's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, HRL 087596 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, your client may, at its discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.


John Durant, Director

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