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HQ 956042

July 5, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956042 BC


TARIFF NO.: 6306.22.9030

Mr. Paul Fast
Sunshell Designs, Inc.
1672 West 1st Ave.
Suite 201
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6J1G1

RE: Revocation of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 837034; classification of the "Sunshell"; sun and wind shelter; beach shelter; sun protector; tent; backpacking tent; HRL 955304

Dear Mr. Fast:

The Customs Service recently has had reason to reexamine the classification determination in NYRL 837034, dated March 2, 1989, issued to Sunshell Designs, Inc. After careful review, we have decided that the classification of the "Sunshell" was incorrect. Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter section 625), notice of the proposed revocation of NYRL 837034 was published on May 25, 1994, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 21. We herein revoke that ruling as set forth below.


In NYRL 837034, Customs classified a sun and wind shelter under subheading 6307.90.9030, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which then provided for other made-up articles of textile materials (subheading 6307.90.9986 in the current tariff). In the ruling, the shelter was described as the "Sunshell," "an open half-dome sun/windscreen shelter with carry bag." In your request for the ruling, you described it as a "quick set-up beach canopy." It is constructed of woven nylon fabric fitted on shock-corded fiberglass rods. It comes with plastic connectors, plastic pegs, and plastic cord locks. When folded, it is 29 and 1/2 inches long. When open, it provides shelter from the sun and wind, and can be used at the beach, in the park, in the yard, etc. It comes with a 31 inch long zipper carrying case made of the same nylon fabric.


What is the proper classification for the subject nylon sunshelter?

Recently, Customs classified a nylon sunshelter under subheading 6306.22.9030, HTSUSA, which provides for other tents of synthetic fibers. The sunshelter there classified was described in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 955304 (March 11, 1994) as follows:

[A] nylon (woven fabric) shelter that offers protection from the wind and the sun at picnic areas and the beach. It is dome shaped, with three sides and a floor. It is open on one side, permitting entry and exit and allowing a view of surroundings while inside. When set up, the shelter measures 52 inches by 108 inches by 48 inches. The floor is 26 square feet. When disassembled and placed in a carrying case, it measures 4 inches by 28 inches.

It is clear that the shelter classified in HRL 955304 is substantially similar to the shelter classified in NYRL 837034.

The classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining rules will be applied in sequential order. The Explanatory Notes (EN's) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. While not legally binding, they represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN's when interpreting the HTSUS. (See Treasury Decision (T.D.) 89-80, wherein Customs stated that the EN's should always be consulted as guidance when classifying merchandise. 23 Cust. Bull. 379 (1989), 54 Fed. Reg. 35,127 (August 23, 1989).)

The EN's for heading 6306 provide the following regarding tents:

Tents are shelters made of lightweight to fairly heavy fabrics of man-made fibres, cotton or blended textile materials, whether or not coated, covered or laminated, or of canvas. They usually have a single or double roof and sides or walls (single or double), which permit the formation of an enclosure. The heading covers tents of various sizes and shapes, e.g., marquees and tents for military, camping (including backpack tents), circus, beach use. They are classified in this heading, whether or not they are presented complete with their tent poles, tent pegs, guy ropes or other accessories.

It is clear that the scope of heading 6306 includes a wide variety of tents which, according to the EN above, are in fact shelters. The EN explicitly refers to shelters for beach use. Moreover, while many tents are constructed to form an enclosure, the scope of the heading is not limited to such tents. In HRL 955304, we stated the following regarding this issue:

The fact that the shelters at issue are open on one side is not controlling. The EN first sets forth that tents are shelters. The definition of "shelter" is as follows: 1.a. Something providing cover or protection, as from the weather. b. A refuge: haven. 2. The state of being protected or covered. Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary 1074 (1984). Clearly, shelters are not limited to closed structures. Also, one of the EN's examples of tents covered by heading 6306, HTSUSA, is "marquees." These are defined as follows: 1. A large open-sided tent, used chiefly for outdoor entertainment. Id. at 728. Thus, an open-sided shelter is considered a tent for tariff purposes. These terms ("shelter" and "marquees") show that tents of the heading are not limited to completely enclosed structures. Further, in describing the tent as an enclosure, the EN uses the non- exclusive qualifying term "usually." This means "not in all cases," which again indicates that tents of the heading are not limited to the enclosed type.

There is additional precedent for the position that sun and wind shelters are classifiable as tents. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 951774, dated May 28, 1992, we stated the following regarding a sun/windscreen shelter: "In Customs view, the sun/windscreen shelter in question is a class or kind of merchandise similar to a tent or tent-like structure and is classifiable in heading 6306." For similar holdings, see HRL's: 953684 (April 26, 1993), concerning a cabana; 951814 (September 8, 1992), concerning a tent-like structure for protection from wind and sun on the beach or camping; and 089237 (May 10, 1991), concerning a beach cabana.

The shelter at issue is designed for use at the beach. Its purpose is to protect occupants from the wind and sun. It could be used for this purpose at picnics or in the backyard. It is not the kind of tent used for backpacking purposes. Such tents are designed to be used in the sport of backpacking, where participants hike long distances and survive against the elements by utilizing only those supplies they carry on their backs. (See The Newman Importing Co., Inc. v. United States, 76 Cust. Ct. 143, C.D. 4648 (1976).) Backpacking tents must be designed to stand up to the occasional severe weather (including hard and extended rain) that backpackers face. An open-sided shelter would not fulfill that purpose. The fact that a shelter may meet the guidelines for backpacking tents set forth in Treasury Decision (T.D.) 86-163, 20 Cust. Bull. 468, 470 (1986), is not necessarily determinative. We do not have sufficient information to permit us to here consider each guideline; yet, it is clear that the shelter at issue does not meet the first requirement under the guidelines: "It [the tent] must be specially designed for the sport of backpacking." As stated above, the shelter at issue was not designed for backpacking.

Based on the foregoing, we conclude that Customs classification of the shelter in NYRL 837034 under subheading 6307.90.9030, HTSUSA, was in error.


The open-sided sunshelter at issue is classifiable under subheading 6306.22.9030, HTSUSA, as an other tent of synthetic fibers. The applicable duty rate is 10% ad valorem; the quota category is 669.

Accordingly, New York Ruling Letter 837034 is hereby revoked.

In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days from its date of publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR


John Durant, Director

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