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HQ 958754

May 3, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958754 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 9403.20.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
200 St Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202

RE: Protest 1303-95-100266; Rollaway Beds; EN GEN 3(b), EN 3(b)(VIII), 94.03; HRL 957246, 956021

Dear Port Director:

The following is our response to Protest 1303-95-100266 concerning your actions in classifying and assessing duty on rollaway beds, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Literature containing pictures of the subject articles was submitted for our review.


The subject articles are rollaway beds. They are composed of a 1" steel tubing frame and 5" thick spring mattress. They are sold in 3 different widths, 30", 39" and 48". Each frame and mattress is sold to the ultimate consumer together in one carton.

Protestant entered the beds under subheading 9404.29.90, HTSUS, as other mattresses. The entries were liquidated on April 14, 1995, under subheading 9403.20.00, HTSUS, as other metal furniture. A protest was timely filed on June 15, 1995. When entered, protestant asserted the rollaway beds were a composite good with the mattress providing the essential character. Protestant now asserts that the article is not a composite good, therefore, the mattress and metal frame should be classified separately. The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

9403.20.00 Other furniture and parts thereof: Other metal furniture......................2.4%

9404 Mattress supports; articles of bedding and similar furnishing (for example, mattresses, quilts, eiderdowns, cushions, pouffes and pillows) fitted with springs or stuffed or internally fitted with any material or of cellular rubber or plastics, whether or not covered

9404.10.00 Mattress supports.............................................................................2.4%

9404.29.90 Of other materials:


Whether the rollaway bed is a composite article? Is it classifiable as other metal furniture, a mattress or mattress support under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. GRI 6 provides that for legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes and, mutatis mutandis, to the above rules, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. For the purposes of this rule, the relative section, chapter and subchapter notes also apply, unless the context otherwise requires.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, although not dispositive, or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See, T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN IX to GRI 3(b) , pg. 4, states, in pertinent part, that:

(IX) For purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

EN IX to GRI 3(b) also sets forth two examples of articles regarded as composite goods:

1) Ashtrays consisting of a stand incorporating a removable ash bowl;

2) Household spice racks consisting of a specially designed frame (usually of wood) and an appropriate number of empty spice jars of suitable shape and size.

The EN to GRI 3(b) include as composite goods components which are attached to one another so as to form a whole, as well as those components which are separable so long as they are "mutually complementary," "form a whole" and would "not normally be offered for sale in separate parts." In determining whether the subject articles meet the definition of "composite good," we applied the criteria set forth in EN IX to GRI 3(b) to the subject rollaway beds.

The mattress and frame are not attached to one another. We must, however, further examine the merchandise to determine whether the articles are "mutually complementary," "form a whole" and whether the goods would "not normally be offered for sale in separate parts." With regard to the first criterion, we believe the submitted literature indicates that the frame is specially shaped or fitted for the mattress. Additionally, the mattress and frame are sold for the purpose of being used together. Moreover, the function of the mattress as it relates to the metal frame is analogous to the spice jar/rack exemplar of composite goods set forth in the EN to GRI 3(b). Furthermore, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 957246, dated March 29, 1995, states that:

"the phrase would not normally be sold in separate parts' does not refer to how the components are actually marketed. Rather, it pertains to whether the components would normally or principally be sold independently of one another."

Mattresses are not normally sold without a frame. Catalogs as well as retail displays indicate that, in a significant number of instances, mattresses and frames are sold together to a consumer. We find this persuasive evidence that mattresses and frames are normally sold together. For the reasons stated the rollaway bed is considered a composite article. This finding is consistent with HRL 956021 dated July 8, 1994, which determined that a travel and trundle youth bed consisting of a nylon bed, vinyl-covered mattress, fitted cotton sheet and carrying case, was a composite good.

Because the rollaway bed is a composite article the two component parts (frame and mattress) will not be classified separately, but rather together, as one whole article. EN 94.03 p. 1578-79, states, in pertinent part, that:

...The heading includes furniture for:

(1) Private dwellings, hotels, etc., such as: cabinets, linen chests, bread chests, log chests; chests of drawers, tallboys; pedestals, plant stands; dressing-tables; pedestal tables; wardrobes, linen presses; hall stands, umbrella stands; side-boards, dressers, cupboards; food-safes; bedside tables; beds (including wardrobe beds, camp-beds, folding beds, cots, etc.); needlework tables; foot-stools, fire screens; draught-screens; pedestal ashtrays; music cabinets, music stands or desks; play-pens; serving trolleys (whether or not fitted with a hot plate)... (emphasis added)

The rollaway beds are provided for by name under heading 9403, HTSUS.

Classification to the 8 digit level requires that we determine the essential character of the rollaway beds. EN 3(b)(VIII) (p. 4) states that:
the factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

We find that the essential character of the rollaway beds is imparted by its metal frame. They give the bed its support and makes up the major portion of its weight. Additionally, it is the portion which creates the folding and rolling functions. Therefore, we find that the rollaway beds are specifically provided for under subheading 9403.20.00, HTSUS, as other metal furniture.


The protest is DENIED. The rollaway bed, is a composite good classifiable under subheading 9403.20.00, HTSUS, which has a column one duty rate of 2.4% ad valorem.

In accordance with section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the Protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of this 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 to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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