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HQ 958087

September 27. 1995

CLA-2 R:C:F 958087 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9890

District Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
10 Causeway St., Room 603
Boston, MA 02222

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest 0401-95-100202, dated March 13, 1995, Regarding the Classification of Net Buoys

Dear Mr. Linde:

This ruling is on a protest that was filed against your decision of March 10, 1995, regarding an entry for net buoys.


The article is described as a hollow, sealed, plastic sphere with an aperture through the center. The tops strands of fishing nets are strung through the spheres so that the nets will float in the ocean.


Are the subject articles floating structures...buoys, as provided for in subheading 8907.00.0030, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

The articles under consideration were entered under subheading 8907.90.0030, HTSUSA, the provision for other floating structures, other, buoys. The importer was notified that the articles were not the type of floating structures covered by that provision and that they were classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9590, (now 3926.90.9890) which provides for other articles of plastics, other. The entry covering the net buoys was liquidated in accordance with that notice. The importer, in the protest, states that the subject articles are covered by a pre-entry classification decision which indicates that the entered classification was correct.

In consideration of this matter we note that heading 8907 provides for other floating structures (for example, rafts, tanks, cofferedams, landing-stages, buoys and beacons). The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized System, which represents the views of the international classification experts, indicates that that heading covers certain floating structures not having the character of vessels which are generally stationary when in use, and includes buoys, such as mooring buoys, marking buoys, and light and bell buoys.

According to Webster's Third International Dictionary, a buoy, as herein pertinent, is an object floating in a body of water and anchored to the bottom of a body of water to mark a channel or to point out various navigation hazards. A mooring buoy is defined as an anchored buoy fitted to receive a ship's mooring chain or hawser. A bell buoy is defined as a buoy with a bell that rings by the action of waves and usually marks a shoal or rocks.

The term "buoy", as used in heading 8907, thus seems to be limited to articles which are moored to the bottom of a body of water to mark something. The buoys of heading 8907 do not include life buoys, i.e., buoyant rings used as life preservers, recreational rafts, or personal floatation devices (life belts or jackets). The term "buoy", as used in heading 8907, is not so broad as to include everything that floats but appears to be limited to articles which are moored to the bottom of a body of water to mark something. That provision only covers items which can be described as floating structures. The net buoys are not moored to the bottom of a body of water when in use nor do they perform a function similar to those of buoys as previously described.

While the importer references a pre-classification decision issued to this importer in 1991, to support its claim in the protest, we note that such decision did not include net buoys. While it provided that articles described as "universal buoys", "cylindrical buoys", and "light anchor buoys", were classifiable - 3 -
in subheading 8907.90, HTSUSA, articles described as "egg-shaped floats", "powerblock floats" and cylindrical floats", were classified in subheading 3926.90.9590.

We believe that net buoys are akin to floats and buoys, as described in the previously noted references.


Net buoys, which are hollow, sealed, plastic spheres with an aperture through the center and through which the top strands of fishing nets are strung so that the nets will float in the ocean, are classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9590 (now 3926.90.9890), HTSUSA. Articles classified in that subheading, which provides for other articles of plastic, other, are subject to a general rate of duty of 5.3 percent ad valorem.

Since the classification indicated above is the same as the classification under which the entry was liquidated, you are instructed to deny the protest in full.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3553-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be provided by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entries in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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