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HQ 956888

April 10, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 956888 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4202.99.9000

William J. Maloney, Esquire
Rode & Qualey
295 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10017

RE: Reconsideration of Pre-Entry Classification Determination (PC) 896720, Supplement 1, as it Pertains to "Steel Tec Work Center Storage Case" and "Steel Tec Storage Case"

Dear Mr. Maloney:

This letter is in response to your request of August 3, 1994, on behalf of your client, Azrak-Hamway International, Inc., for reconsideration of PC 896720, Supplement 1, as it pertains to the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of two separate "Steel Tec" storage cases imported from China. A sample of each article was submitted with your request. Subsequent to the inquiry and submission, a conference was held with Headquarters personnel on January 10, 1995. Additional material was subsequently received and considered.


In PC 896720, Supplement 1, dated June 24, 1994, numerous articles were classified, including a "Work Center Storage Case" and a "Storage Case," identified by product nos. 7045 and 7047, respectively. The items were classified in subheading 4202.99.9000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers;...: Other: Other: Other," with an applicable duty rate of 20 percent ad valorem. The cases are sold under the "Remco" trade name (associated with children's toys), and represented to be parts of -2-
the "Remco Steel Tec" product line of constructional toy sets, for use as storage cases. Although the sample cases submitted were filled with the component parts of two "Steel Tec" constructional toy sets, the actual cases are imported empty, and are separately sold without contents at retail toy stores and toy departments.

The two cases are composed of injection molded plastics and resemble attache or occupational luggage cases. They are designed to contain a small number of tools, and a wide array of metal and plastic fittings and accessories such as bolts, nuts, washers, plates, wheels, etc., all of which are purchased separately. Each case has a removable parts tray, a lid with a secure closure, and a carrying handle. The trays are designed to fit snugly into the compartments molded into the case bottoms. Compartment dividers in the trays are raised to fit recesses in the lids' interiors, which inhibits the movement of small pieces within the cases during transport.

The "Work Center Storage Case" (product no. 7045) measures approximately 17-3/4 inches by 13 inches by 3-3/4 inches. The outer portion of the lid has a recessed, fold-out, plastic "leg," which allows the case to remain level and stable when fully opened flat on a horizontal surface. A pylon support receptacle on the interior of the lid allows for the insertion of a pivoting assembly pylon, onto which work in progress may be bolted, freeing a child's hands for assembly. The "Storage Case" (product no. 7047) measures approximately 14 inches by 7 inches by 3-1/2 inches, and does not contain a stabilizing "leg" or assembly pylon.


Whether the articles are classified as other articles of plastics in heading 3926, HTSUS; as other toys in heading 9503, HTSUS; or as cases and similar containers in heading 4202, HTSUS.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the -3-
official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Heading 4202, HTSUS, provides, in part, for "Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases...and similar containers;...." Note 1(l) to chapter 42 states that "[t]his chapter does not cover: Articles of chapter 95 (for example, toys, games, sports equipment)...." EN (f) to heading 4202 states that the heading does not cover "Tool boxes or cases, not specially shaped or internally fitted to contain particular tools with or without their accessories (generally, heading 39.26 or 73.26)."

Chapter 95, HTSUS, covers "toys, games and sports equipment; parts and accessories thereof." Note 1(d) to chapter 95 states that "[t]his chapter does not cover: Sports bags or other containers of heading 4202...." Heading 9503, HTSUS, provides for "Other toys...and accessories thereof," i.e., all toys not specifically provided for in the other headings of chapter 95. Although the term "toy" is not defined in the tariff, the ENs to chapter 95 indicate that a toy is an article designed for the amusement of children or adults. It has been Customs position that the amusement requirement means that toys should be designed and used principally for amusement. The ENs also state that each of the chapter's headings "covers identifiable parts and accessories of articles of this Chapter...provided they are not articles excluded by Note 1 to this Chapter."

You contend that these storage cases are essentially tool boxes not specially shaped or fitted to contain particular tools, and are thus excluded from heading 4202, HTSUS, by EN (f), which suggests that such plastic tool boxes are properly classified in heading 3926. You also maintain that neither case is a practical container for keeping small components in place during transport, and that the work center storage case's assembly pylon is a design feature which enhances play activity to the extent that the article's principal use is for amusement, which warrants classification in heading 9503, HTSUS.

You cite several Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRLs) in support of the contentions noted above. In HRLs 953904 and 953696, issued May 13, 1993, and August 26, 1993, respectively, this office classified three separate models of molded plastic tool boxes identified as "Tool Aid," and a molded plastic tackle box identified as a "Tackle-Mate," none of which was designed or fitted to hold a particular tool. We held that the two tool boxes entered prior to July 1, 1992 (the effective date of EN (f) to heading 4202) were classified in heading 4202, but that -4-
heading 4202 was inapplicable to the tool box entered after July 1, 1992, which was then held to be classified in heading 3926. In HRL 953696, concerning the effect of EN (f) on the classification of cases and containers other than tool boxes, we found that "the exclusion cited above refers only to tool boxes, not other similar containers." Thus, the "Tackle-Mate" container, although similar to a tool box, was classified in heading 4202, HTSUS.

In Totes, Incorporated v. United States, Slip Op. 94-154, the Court of International Trade held that the essential characteristics and purposes of the heading 4202 exemplars are to organize, store, protect and carry various items. The subject goods have been expressly designed for these purposes and are, therefore, prima facie classifiable within the heading. While we agree that the storage cases are not specially shaped or fitted to contain particular tools, we disagree that they are tool boxes. Neither case is represented to be, nor is marketed as, a tool box. Each of the containers is entered and sold without contents and is designed to contain mostly non-tool components. We thus find that EN (f) to heading 4202, HTSUS, is inapplicable to the "Steel Tec" storage cases.

You note that the cases are made of molded plastics, and that articles of molded plastics are not classifiable in the second part of heading 4202 (the part after the semicolon) because they are not wholly or mainly composed or covered with the materials enumerated therein. You state that if the items are to be properly classified in heading 4202, they must be similar to the exemplars set forth in the first part of the heading. You maintain that since subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.19, HTSUS, cover trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, and school satchels (the first half of the first part of the heading), Customs classification of the goods in subheading 4202.99 indicates a finding that the cases are similar to the exemplars enumerated in the second half of the first part of the heading, i.e., spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, etc., which generally are specially shaped and fitted to contain specific articles. Based upon your assertion that the "Steel Tec" cases are not specially shaped or fitted for their contents, you contend that the articles are not classifiable within any provision of heading 4202, HTSUS.

Subheading 4202.99, HTSUS, is a residual provision for articles classifiable in heading 4202. As such, it encompasses the articles enumerated in the second half of the first part of heading 4202, but is not limited thereto. While these exemplars -5-
are generally fitted to hold their contents, Customs need not show that the merchandise meets this description to classify goods in subheading 4202.99, HTSUS.

As the Court stated in Totes, "[p]recise functional equivalence to, or commercial interchangeability with, any one particular exemplar enumerated in the Heading plainly is not required by the rule of ejusdem generis." Slip Op. 94-154 at 15- 16. "[T]he rule of ejusdem generis requires only that the merchandise possess the essential character or purpose running through all of the enumerated exemplars." Slip Op. 94-154 at 11. As previously noted, the "Steel Tec" storage cases do possess the characteristics of the heading 4202 exemplars, i.e., to organize, store, protect and carry various items. The fact that the merchandise may or may not be viewed as being specially shaped or fitted to hold its contents is not dispositive in this instance. The residual provision for articles of heading 4202, HTSUS, does encompass these articles.

You next cite to HRL 951082, issued May 21, 1992, in which certain "Barbie" accessory cases were held not to be classified in heading 4202. You assert that the ruling is directly applicable to the "Work Center Storage Case," and that a requirement for classification of an article in the heading is that it be suitable for effectively transporting and securing the contents likely to be placed within it. You also aver that the features designed for play activity that are incorporated in the "Barbie" cases are similar to those of the storage case, changing the principal use of the subject case from transporting goods to providing amusement and storing components.

The "Barbie" cases were constructed of non-rigid plastic and incorporated play-related design features (e.g., painted on "Barbie" pictures, panels, stereo, and case doors which opened to simulate a room for doll play) more numerous and extensive than the assembly pylon of the "Work Center Storage Case." Traveling with the accessory-filled "Barbie" cases was found likely to result in contents falling off of hangers and shelves and out of drawers (a problem not encountered with the subject goods). Although the flimsy construction alone did not preclude classification as a carrying case in heading 4202, the additional consideration of the article's poor design for the transport of toy accessories did, in that instance, preclude classification in heading 4202. Unlike the "Barbie" cases, we find that the subject containers are of sturdy construction and that they adequately keep the stored components in place during transport. For this reason, we conclude that the cases are not classifiable as toys of heading 9503, HTSUS. The merchandise is classified in the residual provision for articles of heading 4202, HTSUS. -6-


The "Steel Tec Work Center Storage Case," identified by product no. 7045, and the "Steel Tec Storage Case," identified by product no. 7047, are properly classified in subheading 4202.99.9000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases...and similar containers;...: Other: Other: Other." The applicable duty rate is 20 percent ad valorem.

PC 896720, Supplement 1, dated June 24, 1994, as it pertains to the "Steel Tec Work Center Storage Case" and the "Steel Tec Storage Case" noted above, is hereby affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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