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HQ 955304

March 11, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955304 BC


TARIFF NO.: 6306.22.9030

District Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 4688
Portland, ME 04112

RE: Internal Advice Request 82/93; classification of a nylon outdoor shelter; Sunbuster Shelter; beach shelter; wind and sun protector; tent; backpacking tent

Dear Sir:

This responds to your internal advice request, designated I/A 82/93, dated October 12, 1993. It was based on a letter from SULLIVAN & LYNCH, P.C., dated October 5, 1993, which requested internal advice, under section 177.11(b)(2) of the Customs Regulations, concerning the classification of the "Sunbuster Shelter" imported by its client (the importer). We have reviewed the matter and our decision follows.


The merchandise at issue is called the "Sunbuster Shelter." According to information submitted with the internal advice request, it is 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 area is 26 square feet. When disassembled and placed in a carrying case, it measures 4 inches by 28 inches.

According to a copy of an entry summary submitted with the request, 1,350 units of the Sunbuster Shelter were entered on July 19, 1993, under subheading 6306.22.1000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for backpacking tents of synthetic fibers, dutiable at a rate of 4.64% ad valorem. Subsequent to entry, Customs at Portland, Maine, issued to the importer a Notice to Redeliver the shelters, on the grounds that they were incorrectly classified. The notice informed the importer that the shelters should be classified under subheading 6306.22.9030, HTSUSA, which provides for other than backpacking (and certain other described) tents, dutiable at a rate of 10% ad valorem and subject to quota category 669.

The importer, through counsel, contends that the shelters are classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, as other made up articles of textile, or, alternatively, under the subheading pertaining to backpacking tents, as above. You submitted the instant internal advice request for a Headquarters decision on this question.


Is the nylon beach (wind and sun) shelter at issue, described as the "Sunbuster Shelter," classifiable as a backpacking tent under subheading 6306.22.1000, HTSUSA, a tent other than a backpacking tent under subheading 6306.22.9030, HTSUSA, or an other made-up article of textile materials under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA?


Classification 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. In Treasury Decision (T.D.) 89-80, Customs stated that the EN's should always be consulted as guidance when classifying merchandise. (See T.D. 89-80, quoting from a report of the Joint Committee on the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, endorsing use of the EN's in the classification of goods. 23 Cust. Bull. 379 (1989), 54 Fed. Reg. 35,127 (August 23, 1989).) (See also Totes, Inc. v. United States, No. 91-09-00714, slip op. 92-153 (CIT September 4, 1992), 26 Cust. Bull. No. 40, 35, 37 n. 3 (September 30, 1992), citing T.D. 89-80 and acknowledging the authority of the EN's.) The EN's for heading 63.06 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.

The importer's first argument is that the shelter at issue is not a tent because it has only three sides and does not form an enclosure. Thus, the shelter should be classified under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, as an other made-up article of textile materials.

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.

Our belief that tents of heading 6306, HTSUSA, include open shelters in addition to closed shelters is further supported in the EN's. The EN quoted above continues as follows:

Caravan "awnings" . . . which are tent-like structures are also regarded as tents. They are generally made of man-made fibre fabrics or of fairly thick canvas. They consist of three walls and a roof and are designed to augment the living space provided by a caravan.

Caravan awnings are described as having only three sides (walls); yet, they are considered tents within the meaning of heading 6306, HTSUSA. If caravan awnings with three sides are tents, then there is no reason to exclude the shelters at issue from classification as tents on the grounds they have only three sides.

There is 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. Note also that among the EN's examples of tents covered by heading 6306, HTSUSA, are those for beach use.

The importer's second argument is that if the shelter is classifiable as a tent, it is a backpacking tent classifiable under subheading 6306.22.1000, HTSUSA. We do not agree. 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. (The catalogue wherein the shelter is advertised describes the shelter as offering protection from wind and sun at picnic areas or the beach, and the accompanying photograph shows a woman and children with the shelter on the beach.) 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 that backpackers face. An open-sided shelter would not fulfill that purpose.

Finally, the importer asserts that the shelter at issue meets the guidelines for backpacking tents set forth in Treasury Decision (T.D.) 86-163, 20 Cust. Bull. 468, 470 (1986). First, meeting these guidelines does not necessarily ensure classification as a backpacking tent. Second, 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 above, the shelter at issue was not designed for backpacking.

Based on the foregoing, we conclude that Customs classification of the shelters under subheading 6306.22.9030, HTSUSA, was correct.


The three-sided beach (sun and wind) shelter 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.


John Durant, Director

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