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HQ 089420

June 17, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089420 JED


TARIFF NO.: 9506.59.8060

District Director
Los Angeles
United States Customs Service
300 South Ferry Street
Terminal Island
Room 2017
San Pedro, California 90731

RE: Request for further review of protest 2704-91-100879; racquetball racket covers

Dear sir:

The following is our response to the request for further review of Protest No. 2704-91-100879, concerning your decision on the classification of racquetball racket covers.


The merchandise at issue is a cover for a racquetball racket. The cover is of three layers: an inner surface of plastic sheeting; a middle layer of padding of open celled foam; and an outer layer of..textile woven from man-made fibers. The cover is made to fit over the entire racket and is, in fact, shaped like a racket. There is a zipper around the racket head portion of the cover. The cover has a small fabric loop at the top of the head portion that could be used to hang the cover and racket. The cover has no additional pockets or extra compartments, and has no handle or strap.

The protestant entered covers under subheading 9506.59.8060, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA):

9506 Articles and equipment for gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table-tennis) or outdoor games, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter, swimming pools and wading pools; parts and accessories thereof:

Tennis, badminton or similar rackets, whether or not strung: parts and accessories thereof: 9506.59 Other:

9506.59.80 Other
9506.59.8060 Other, including parts and accessories

Such classification carries a duty rate of 4.64% ad valorem.

Customs disagreed with such classification and reliquidated the entry placing the covers in subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA:

4202 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: Other:
4202.92 With outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials:
Travel, sports and similar bags:
4202.92.4500 Other

Such classification carries a duty rate of 20% ad valorem.


Are the racquetball racket covers classified as travel, sports or similar bags of Heading 4202, HTSUSA, or are they classified as accessories to racquetball rackets under Heading 9506, HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in appropriate order provide a framework for classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The majority of imported goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is according to the terms of the heading of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. Further, the Explanatory Notes (EN's) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which are the official interpretation the tariff at the international
level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's.

Chapter Note l(d) to Chapter 95, HTSUSA, specifically excludes sports bags or other containers of Heading 4202 from the coverage of Chapter 95. In the EN's to Chapter 95, at pg. 1585, it states, "Each of the headings of this Chapter also covers identifiable parts and accessories of articles of this Chapter which are suitable for use solely or principally therewith, and provided they are not articles excluded by Note 1 to this Chapter." (Emphasis in original.)

In HQ 084694 (August 30, 1989), Customs ruled on a tennis racket cover described as follows:

The cover is constructed to fit the shape of a single racket with outer and inner surfaces of plastic sheeting and with felt and foam padding between the sheeting. At the handle end, the cover has a 17 centimeter strip of plastic mesh on one side to expose the racket handle. A zipper opens the cover along one edge. The sample cover submitted does not have a handle or shoulder strap and is open at the butt end.

After recognizing that Chapter 95 makes specific provision for accessories to articles covered by the Chapter, classification was stated as follows:

The sample is a racket cover that precisely fits the shape of a single racket and is suitable for use solely with a tennls racket. Consequently, the sample, as submitted, is classified under subheading 9506.51.6000, HTSUSA, as an accessory to lawn-tennis rackets.

Finally, HQ 084694 stated that a racket cover possessing additional features such as a bag permitting the user to carry clothing would likely remove an article from the scope of Heading 9506, HTSUSA.

An example of an article that holds a racket but goes beyond the scope of Heading 9506 is found in HQ 086567 (May 14, 1990). The merchandise involved was described thusly:

The sample bag has two main padded zipper compartments for rackets, one front slash zipper pocket, and two smaller zipper compartments for balls and small items located on the underside of the bag. The bag is equipped with a cuff as well as an adjustable padded shoulder strap.

Classification was settled at subheading 4202.92.1500, HTSUSA, since the bag was "designed to carry or transport, among other
things tennis rackets, articles of clothing, and athletic footwear."

The ruling recognized the distinction batween bags and covers. "[T]he tennis racket cover in HRL 084694 can be distinguished from the racket bag in the instant case. In HRL 084694, the tennis racket cover was principally designed to fit tightly over the head of a racket. In the case at issue, the sample merchandise is not uniquely designed to hold or cover a particular tennis racket and may be used to carry or transport tennis rackets as well as articles of clothing and athletic footwear."

The classification of the bag in Heading 4202 was in accord with the definition of "sports bag" as defined in Additional U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 42, HTSUSA:

...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.

After examining the instant racquetball racket cover, and mindful of the distinctions between covers and bags illustrated by prior rulings, it is determined that the instant cover is classifiable as an accessory to a racquetball racket. This determination is consistent with the understanding of the term "accessory" as used in various Customs rulings. For example, in HQ 089768 (September 13, 1991), the term was defined as "[A]n article not necessary to the functioning of the primary good; an adjunct; something subordinate or supplemental. An accessory must relate to or exhibit some nexus with the primary article. Lastly an accessory must be intended for use solely or principally as an accessory."


The subject racquetball racket cover is classified in subheading 9506.59.8060, HTSUSA, as an accessory to a racquetball racket.

You are instructed to allow the protest in full. A copy of this ruling should be attached to the Form 19, Notice of Action, furnished to the protestant.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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