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HQ 954476

October 1, 1993

CLA-2-CO:R:C:F 954476 K


TARIFF No.: 3926.90.9590

Ms. Yvonne Hu
Vice President
F & L Associates, Ltd.
330 East 38th Street, Suite 36A
New York, New York 10016

RE: Classification of "Cool Snake", a Cooling Scarf

Dear Ms. Hu:

This is in response to your requests of May 19 and June 8, 1993, for a classification ruling for merchandise referred to as "Cool Snake" from China. The submitted sample is enclosed per your request.


The sample submitted was made in the United States but it is claimed that it is virtually identical to the merchandise which will be imported from China. The sample is made of purple colored material consisting of 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester and is approximately 1 3/4 inches in width and 34 inches in length. It may be imported in different colors and different materials such as silk or cotton. Sewn inside the material is a small quantity, approximately one tablespoonful, of beads of cross-linked polyacrylamide copolymer. When the material is soaked in water at room-temperature for forty-five minutes, the beads absorb many times their volume in water. The packaging literature describes the "Cool Snake" as sporty neckwear that cools your body for 24 hours and is reusable many times. After refrigeration, the snake can also be used as a cold pack. After heating the snake in hot water for fifteen minutes or in the microwave for 45 seconds, it may also be used as a 30 minute heat pack.


The issue is whether the classification of the "Cool Snake" is governed by rule 3(b), General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), based on the essential character of the merchandise.


The GRI set forth the manner in which merchandise is classified under the HTSUS. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI, taken in order.

The "Cool Snake", when saturated with water, is designed to be worn around the neck like a scarf to keep the body cool. When not saturated with water, it looks like a scarf or a headband. Scarves are classifiable under heading 6214 and headbands are classifiable as other wearing apparel accessories under heading 6217. A scarf is defined by Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition (1972), as "a long or broad piece of cloth worn about the neck, head, or shoulders for warmth or decoration". The "Cool Snake", saturated with water and heavy and bulky, is not worn for warmth or decoration and it is not an accessory to wearing apparel. We conclude that the product is not a scarf or headband. The beads of cross-linked polyacrylamide copolymer are articles of Chapter 39. Accordingly, the "Cool Snake" cannot be classified by reference to GRI 1.

GRI 2(b) requires that "the classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3". GRI 3(b) provides that mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, which cannot be classified in accordance with the preceding GRI, shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable. We conclude that GRI 3(b) governs the classification of the merchandise described above.

The product is not designed or marketed as wearing apparel and it is not worn for warmth or decoration. The product is designed and marketed as a product to keep the body cool. The beads, when saturated with water, are the means of keeping the body cool. Accordingly, it is the beads that imparts the essential character of the product. The beads are classified under subheading 3926.90.9590, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901-3914.


The classification of the product "Cool Snake" containing beads of polyacrylamide copolymer as described above, that is designed and marketed as a product to keep the body cool by wrapping the product around a person's neck, is classifiable by virtue of GRI 3(b), HTSUS, under subheading 3926.90.9590, HTSUS, as other articles of plastics and articles of headings 3901-3914, HTSUS, with duty at the rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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