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HQ 954473

August 23, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954473 ch


TARIFF NO.: 9401.79.0050

Kendall Corporation
19 Meadowbrook Road
Woodbridge, Connecticut 06525

RE: Classification of the MB-1 Container Barnico Bag from Hong Kong; travel, sports and similar bag; seat; back rest; neck rest; GRI 3(c).

Dear Sir/Madam:

This is in response to your letter of May 20, 1993, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for the MB-1 Container Barnico Bag. A sample was provided to our office for examination.


The submitted sample consists of a nylon bag, as well as separate components which allow the bag to be integrated into a back or neck rest. The bag may be used to carry personal effects from place-to-place. It measures approximately 20 inches long by 12 inches wide by 11 1/2 inches high, and features a carrying strap, inner lining and webbing of nylon.

In addition, an aluminum metal frame may be inserted into the bag in order to form a support mechanism. A separate rectangular metal frame strung with nylon acts as the back or neck rest. The rest possesses peripheral pegs which engage with eyelets contained on the flap of the bag so that the rest may be supported by the reinforced bag.


What is the proper tariff classification for the MB-1 Container Barnico Bag?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in order.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for:

Trunks, Suit-Cases, Vanity-Cases, Executive-Cases, Briefcases, School Satchels, Spectacle Cases, Binocular Cases, Camera Cases, Musical Instrument Cases, Gun Cases, Holsters and Similar Containers; Travelling- Bags, Toilet Bags, Rucksacks, Handbags, Shopping-Bags, Wallets, Purses, Map-Cases, Cigarette-Cases, Tobacco- Pouches, Tool Bags, Sports Bags, Bottle-Cases, Jewellery Boxes, Powder-Boxes, Cutlery Cases and Similar Containers, of Leather or of Composition Leather, of Sheeting of Plastics, of Textile Materials, of Vulcanised Fibre or of Paperboard, or Wholly or Mainly Covered with Such Materials or With Paper. (Emphasis added).

Thus, travel bags of textile materials are classifiable under heading 4202.

Chapter 42, Additional U.S. Note 1, states:

For the purposes of heading 4202, the expression "travel, sports and similar bags" means goods, other than those falling in subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading, but does not include binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, bottle cases and similar containers.

As the Barnico bag is designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, and is not more specifically described elsewhere within heading 4202, it is prima facie classifiable as a travel bag.

Heading 9401, HTSUSA, provides for seats. Chapter 94, note 2, states that articles of headings 9401 must generally be "designed for placing on the floor or ground." The Barnico Bag is designed for use on the floor or ground when used as a back or neck rest. Therefore, this requirement has been satisfied.

In New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 854787, dated August 9, 1990, we addressed the proper classification of a "backpack beachchair," which consisted of a backrest supported by a frame. This item did not possess a component upon which one could sit, although it featured a piece of canvas which could be used as a sand or ground cover. Nevertheless, we concluded that this article was properly classified as a seat of heading 9401. As the Barnico Bag functions in approximately the same manner as the backpack beachchair, it is also prima facie classifiable under heading 9401.

GRI 3 is applicable:

When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

As the Barnico Bag is prima facie classifiable under two headings of the tariff schedule, it will be classified in accordance with the principles of GRI 3.

GRI 3(a) states that:

The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

In this case, heading 4202 applies only to the travel bag materials, while heading 9401 refers to the other components making up the finished article. Therefore, the headings are equally specific in relation to one another and we cannot resolve this classification issue on the basis of GRI 3(a).

GRI 3(b) provides that:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Thus, we may resolve this classification issue if we can determine whether the travel bag or the back/neck rest materials impart the essential character to the finished article.

The Barnico Bag is suitable for use as a portable seat/backrest and as a travel bag. In several prior rulings we have concluded that combination travel bags and seats cannot be classified pursuant to GRI 3(b). See HRL 953523, dated April 22, 1993 (combination seat cushion and utility pack); HRL 953075, dated March 2, 1993 (combination seat cushion and utility pack); HRL 085190, dated November 21, 1989 (combination camp stool and cooler bag); HRL 084263, dated June 21, 1989 (combination fishing stool and backpack); HRL 083640, dated April 13, 1989 (combination portable stool and carry-all bag). In each instance we found that neither use was casual, incidental, or subordinate to the other. We have no reason to deviate from this precedent in this instance. Hence, neither the travel bag nor the seat materials impart the essential character to the Barnico Bag.

As GRI 3(b) is inapplicable, we must resort to GRI 3(c):

When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order.

Therefore, the Barnico Bag shall be classified under heading 9401, as it is the applicable heading which occurs last in numerical order.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 9401.79.0050, HTSUSA, which provides for seats (other than those of heading 9402), whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof: other seats, with metal frames: other: other: other. The applicable rate of duty is 4 percent ad valorem.

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


John Durant, Director

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