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HQ 955936

May 19, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955936 HP


TARIFF NO.: 5609.00.4000

Ms. Jean Maguire
Area Director
U.S. Customs Service
6 World Trade Center
Room 423
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest 1001-93-102687. Stretch cord; elastic tie-down; luggage cart

Dear Ms. Maguire:

This is in reply to Memorandum PRO-2-05-O:C:R JAD, dated February 15, 1994, which forwarded relevant documents related to a timely filed Application for Further Review of Protest 1001- 93-102687. Please forward a copy of this decision to the Protest and Control Section, New York Region, so that this Protest and any others suspended under this issue may be processed for final action.


The merchandise at issue consists of a stretch cord. The cord is composed of a man-made fiber braid with a rubber core. The cord has an importer-described "patented safety hood" at one end, which is attached after importation to the handle of a luggage cart. Protestant argues that this safety hood is evidence of dedication to use with the luggage cart, and therefore the cord should be classified as a part thereof. You disagree, stating that the cord is merely an accessory to the luggage cart, and should be classified as other cordage.


Whether the stretch cord is classifiable as a part of a luggage cart under the HTSUSA?


Heading 8716, HTSUSA, provides for other vehicles not mechanically propelled, including portable luggage carts, and parts thereof. This heading does not, however, provide for accessories to such vehicles. We must therefore determine whether the stretch cord may be termed a part or an accessory of a luggage cart.

There is no clearly stated Congressional intent as to the meaning of the tariff terms part and accessory. Therefore, we must construe the tariff according to its current common and commercial meaning. To do so, we have consulted various lexicons, dictionaries, and other reliable information sources. See Brookside Veneers, Ltd. v. United States, 847 F.2d 786, 788 (Fed. Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 943 (1988). An "accessory" is defined as "[a] part, subassembly, or assembly that contributes to the effectiveness of a piece of equipment without changing it's basic function. . . ." McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms 12 (4TH ed. 1989); McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Engineering 5 (1984). These same two sources define "part" as "[an] element of a subassembly, not normally useful by itself. . . ." Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms at 1374; Dictionary of Engineering at 416. In laypersons terms, "accessory" is defined as "aiding or contributing in a secondary or subordinate way," Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged 11 (1981), and "part" as "an essential portion or integral element of something," Id. at 1645.

Thus, protestant's burden consists of demonstrating that the stretch cord is an integral component of the luggage cart, without which the luggage cart could not operate in its intended capacity. Protestant has not succeeded in its endeavor. The stretch cord is not a part of the luggage cart because it is not necessary for the efficient operation of the cart. The cart can still be used without the stretch cord, although at a lesser rate of speed. The cord is an accessory article which is designed for specific use with a luggage cart. Like parts, accessories must be identifiable as being intended solely or principally for use with a specific article. Unlike parts, however, the specific article can operate without the accessory. As a result, we find that the stretch cord is not classifiable within the provision for parts of luggage carts, and should be classified according to its constituent materials.

Protestant has cited HRL 088759 of June 18, 1991, in furtherance of its cause. That ruling concerned the classification of elastic tie-downs. The body of these tie- downs are comparable to the stretch cords except that the former are flat. The tie-downs were described as "solely or principally used for holding objects onto a bicycle rack mounted on the back of a bicycle." HRL 088759 held that because the "tie-down is designed for sole or principle use on the bicycles, it is classified in subheading 8714.99.9000, HTSUSA . . .", as other parts and accessories of bicycles.

The tie-downs at issue in that ruling were found to be accessories of bicycles, not parts. The HTSUSA heading in which the articles were classified, unlike heading 8716, HTSUSA, provides for both parts and accessories of vehicles. Accordingly, protestant's reliance upon HRL 088759 was misplaced.

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 subsequent GRIs, taken in order. Note 10 to Section XI, HTSUSA, states that "elastic products consisting of textile materials with rubber threads are classified in this section. The stretch cords are appropriately classified herein.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 5609.00.4000, HTSUSA, as articles of twine, cordage, rope or cables. The applicable rate of duty is 7.8 percent ad valorem.

You are instructed to deny the protest. 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.

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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