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HQ 958624

FEBRUARY 21, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958624 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8708.99.80

Port Director of Customs
9777 Via De La Amistad
San Ysidro, CA 92173

RE: I/A 34/95; Automotive Airbag, Unfinished, Airbag of Man-Made Fabric With Rectangular Steel Frame Opening Assembled and Packaged in Mexico; Airbag Minus Inflator Module; Textile Cover for Automotive Airbag, Parts and
Accessories of Motor Vehicles; Other Made-Up Textile Articles, Heading 6307; GRI 3(a)

Dear Port Director:

Your memorandum of June 29, 1995, forwarded a request for Internal Advice, dated June 8, 1995, from the broker for Automotive Safety Components, Inc., on the tariff classification of automotive airbags and covers, assembled in Mexico with materials and components of United States origin. Samples were submitted. There is no issue raised under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).


The model 272 automotive airbag is a textile article with rectangular steel frame retainer at the open end, packaged in cellophane. It is made from textile fabric cut and stitched into the form of a bag, then assembled with the steel frame. It has two small holes to accommodate an inflator module which is added after importation. The airbag with inflator module constitutes an airbag assembly. The second article is a textile cover for the airbag, designated model X-300. The cover is of stitched textile fabric, nearly 26 inches in diameter with a 4-inch diameter hole in the middle and two smaller holes, presumably to accommodate the inflator module. Both the airbag and cover are sold to original equipment manufacturers for use in passenger vehicles. Both the textile fabric and steel frame are of United States origin. - 2 -

The importer states that both the airbag and cover are mandatory safety items required by Department of Transportation regulations. They are parts and accessories solely or principally used with passenger automobiles, classifiable in subheading 8708.99.61, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

Your office believes the textile article with steel frame is not an airbag in and of itself, but part of an airbag. As there is no provision for parts of airbags, you recommend the provision for other parts and accessories of motor vehicles, in subheading 8708.99.80, HTSUS. You also maintain the textile cover is a made-up textile article classifiable in 6307.90.99, HTSUS.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

6307 Other made-up articles...:

6307.90 Other:

6307.99.99 Other...7 percent ad valorem

8708 Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to

8708.99 Other:

8708.99.61 Airbags...2.9 percent ad valorem

8708.99.80 Other...2.9 percent ad valorem


Whether the airbag without inflator module is an automotive airbag, or an automotive part or accessory; whether the textile cover is a made-up textile article or a part of heading 8708.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6. Pursuant - 3 -
to GRI 3(a), where goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

As to whether the textile article with steel frame or retainer is an airbag for tariff purposes, terms that are not defined in the text of the HTSUS or in the ENs, are normally interpreted in accordance with their common and commercial meanings, which are presumed to be the same. The term airbag is commonly defined as an automatically inflating bag in front of riders in an automobile to protect them from pitching forward into solid parts in case of an accident. We conclude the textile article with steel frame opening or retainer, is not an airbag within this definition, as it requires the inflator module to function properly. Therefore, subheading 8708.99.61 does not apply.

As to whether the textile article with steel frame opening or retainer is an automotive part or accessory, relevant ENs at pp.1410 and 1432 state that heading 87.08 covers parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 87.01 to 87.05, provided they fulfill both the following conditions:

(a) They must not be excluded by Note 2 to Section XVII;

(b) They must be identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the articles of
Chapters 86 to 88; and

(c) They must not be more specifically included elsewhere in the

The textile article with steel frame or retainer meets these criteria. Accordingly, it is provided for in heading 8708 as other parts and accessories of motor vehicles.

We conclude that the textile cover meets the description in the heading 87.08 ENs cited above, and qualifies as a part or accessory of that heading. However, the textile cover is also a textile article. Heading 6307 provides for other made up [textile] articles. This heading covers made up articles of any textile material which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature. Heading 8708, on the other hand, covers a more limited class of - 4 -
articles, textile or otherwise, that are parts and accessories for the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705. We conclude that under GRI 3(a), heading 8708 provides a more specific description for the textile cover than does heading 6307.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the textile article with steel frame opening or retainer, model 272, and the textile cover, model X-300, are provided for in heading 8708. They are classifiable in subheading 8708.99.80, HTSUS.

You should mail this decision to the internal advice applicant, through its broker, no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date 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 to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act, and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification
Appeals Division

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