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HQ 955831

May 17, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955831 HP


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.9030

Ms. Patricia McCauley
District Director
U.S. Customs Service
1717 East Loop
Room 401
Houston, TX 77029

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest 5301-93-100112. Tool bags and axe sheath.

Dear Ms. McCauley:

This is in reply to your Memorandum PRO-2-H:C of December 7, 1993. That memo forwarded a timely Application for Further Review of Protest 5301-93-100112, concerning the classification of axe sheaths.


The merchandise at issue consists of three items, all said to be of fabric of 55% ramie / 45% cotton. The first is an axe sheath, item #31700, a canvas sheath designed to contain a camping axe. It is approximately 6.5" x 5", and is specially shaped and internally fitted to hold the axe blade. The sheath has a snap closure and a belt clip.

The remaining two samples, item numbers 11820 and 11830, are described in the importer's catalog as "canvas tool bags." The items are specially designed to contain tools. Each are described as being of heavy duty canvas, having a main compartment with a full length zipper and inside dividers, two side compartments with durable flap closures, and a hard fiber bottom.

In PC 887434 of July 22, 1993, the tool bags were classified under subheading 4202.92.9030, HTSUSA, as other bags of textile fibers. The axe sheath was not addressed in this ruling. The importer requested entry of all three samples under subheading 4202.92.2000, HTSUSA, as travel, sports and similar bags.


Whether the samples are considered travel, sports and similar bags under the HTSUSA?


Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, travel, sports and similar bags, and tool bags. Additional U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 42 defines the former as "...designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading...." The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System) constitute the official interpretation of the scope and content of the tariff at the international level. They represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. Totes, Inc. v. United States, No. 91-09-00714, slip op. 92-153, 14 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1916, 1992 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 158 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1992). While not treated as dispositive, the EN are to be given considerable weight in Customs' interpretation of the HTSUSA. Boast, Inc. v. United States, 15 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1188, 1993 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 19 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1993). It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The EN to this heading, at 613, lists examples of "sports bags" as golf bags, gym bags, tennis racket carrying bags, ski bags and fishing bags. The tool bags and the axe sheath are clearly not similar to these examples, nor are they "...designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel." They are designed to hold tools. In addition, tool bags are separately listed from travel bags and sports bags in the language of heading 4202. Finally, the EN states that sheaths for hunting and camping knives, and portable tool boxes and cases specially shaped to contain particular tools, are "similar containers" separate from travel and sports bags. Accordingly, we find that the items at issue were appropriately classified as other containers.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 4202.92.9030, HTSUSA, textile category 870, as other containers with an outer surface of textile material. The applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem. Please note that this tariff number was changed effective January 1, 1994, in Supplement 1 to the HTSUSA. The new tariff number is 4202.92.9035.

Since classification of the merchandise as indicated above would result in the same rate of duty as the liquidated rate, you are instructed to deny the protest in full. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations & Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS, and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis~, Freedom of Information Act, and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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