United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1996 HQ Rulings > HQ 958745 - HQ 958886 > HQ 958803

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 958803

August 27, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 958803 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9890

Mr. Michael O.Neill
O'Neill & Whitaker, Inc.
1809 Baltimore Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64108

RE: Modification of District Director Ruling Letter (DD) 848665, dated January 30, 1990, Regarding Cadaver/body bags and kits from Taiwan

Dear Mr. O'Neill:

In DD 848665 you were advised that body bags, including body bag kits, were classifiable in 3923.90.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). These bags were considered articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics. We noted that the ruling was based on the incorrect conclusion insofar as cadavers are not considered goods for tariff purposes. Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993)(hereinafter section 625), notice of the proposed modification of DD 848665 was published July 24, 1996, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 30, Number 29/30.


The articles under consideration are body bags, which are made of a strong high grade plastic, with a heavy duty, rustproof nylon zipper that runs the full length of the bag, and body bag kits, which contain the body bag with a chin strap, cellulose pads, two 60" ties, 3 bright yellow identification tags and 3 white I.D. tags. The articles, which come in two sizes and are intended for 1 time use, are used by hospitals, morgues, mortuaries, medical schools, as well as police, fire, ambulance and emergency vehicles for handling a cadaver. - 2 -


What is the classification of cadaver bags (body bags), including tags, straps, pads and ties, of plastics?


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.

DD 848665 held that the subject articles were classifiable under subheading 3923.90.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; other. In considering the propriety of that classification we considered the definition for the term "goods" contained in Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States and in the Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized System. General Note 1, HTSUSA, provides that the Schedule covers goods imported into the United States and General Note 16, HTSUSA, exempts corpses, etc. from General Note 1. The EN to Rule 1 of the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), states that "[T]he Nomenclature sets out...goods handled in international trade."

In reviewing this nomenclature we have concluded that human remains are not an item which would be considered to be encompassed by the term "goods" as that term is used in the HTSUSA, i.e., a cadaver is not an article of trade. Thus, while we do not question the use of the bags, i.e., the transportation of human remains, we believe that since such remains are not "goods", the classification stated in the referenced ruling, which is dependent on the conveyance of goods, is incorrect. In this regard, we note that two subsequent rulings, New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 886980, dated June 24, 1993, and NYRL 802516, dated September 30, 1994, classified body bags in subheading 3926.90.9890, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastics, other.


Cadaver bags (body bags) of plastics designed to transport human remains, as well as kits containing such bags and related - 3 -
items such as straps and pads, are classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9890, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastics, other. Articles so classified are subject to a general rate of duty of 5.3 percent ad valorem.

DD 848665, dated January 30, 1990, is hereby modified. In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: