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HQ 959150

February 24, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 959150 K


TARIFF NO.: 3924.90.55

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
4477 Woodson Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63134

RE: Application For Further Review of Protest No. 4503-96-100001; Sweater Dryer

Dear Port Director:

The following is our response to the referral by your office received on April 9, 1996, of the request for further review of the above-referenced protest.


The consumption entries covering the imported merchandise were reported as being liquidated on November 24, 1995 and January 5, 1996, under the basket provision for other made up textile articles, in subheading 6307.90.99, (HTSUS), with duty at the 1995 and 1994 general rates of 7 percent ad valorem. A timely protest under 19 U.S.C. 1514 was received on January 16, 1996. The protestant requested reliquidation of the entries under the basket provision for other household articles of plastics in subheading 3924.90.55, HTSUS, with duty at the 1995 and 1994 general rate of 3.4 percent ad valorem.

A sample was submitted. The product is a sweater dryer rack. A single rack consists of four plastic tubes approximately « inches in diameter and 26 inches long. The tubes are inserted into four plastic corner legs. The corner legs are 5 « inches in height. A 27 inch by 27 inch open nylon fabric netting, with the use of fasteners, is stretched over the four plastic tubes and a sweater is placed on top of the netting for drying. The packaging material indicates that the racks are stackable to save space, are easy to store, and can be used in doors or outdoors. The weight and value of the plastic tubes is stated to be greater than the weight and value of the nylon netting.


The issue is what is the material that imparts the essential character of the sweater dryer for purposes of determining the classification of the product.


The classification of imported merchandise under the HTSUS is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section and chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI, taken in their appropriate order. Accordingly, we first have to determine whether the articles are classified under GRI 1. There is no specific provision in the tariff for a sweater dryer consisting of a plastic tubular rack and a nylon mesh and GRI 1 is not applicable. Therefore, GRI 2 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) is applicable for goods made up of different components and that rule requires that "...composite goods of different materials or made up of different components... which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable."

Classification at the time of liquidation was by virtue of GRI 3(b) and the nylon netting was determined to be the component which gives the sweater dryer its essential character.

One of the articles in New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 855706, dated September 11, 1990, concerned a sweater dryer with a metal frame covered with a vinyl coating with rubber suction cups attached to the frame. The metal frame could be folded when not in use. The other component consisted of a knit open worked fabric 23 1/4 x 23 inches, with metal grommets, one in each corner. The ruling held that the sweater dryer, presumedly on the basis of essential character, was classified as other household articles and parts thereof, of iron or steel, not coated or plated with precious metal, in subheading 7323.99.9000, HTSUS (1990). In NYRL 855828, dated September 19, 1990, a similar ruling was issued for a similar sweater dryer.

In both of the cited NYRLs, Customs determined that the steel frames gave the sweater dryers their essential character. The sweater dryer in question differs with the merchandise in the cited cases in that the frame for the rack is composed of plastic rather than metal. And like the metal ones, the plastic racks can be stored when not in use, and they can be used outdoors or indoors (such as in a bathroom, a bathtub, a laundry room, or on a kitchen table).

Based upon our precedent rulings, we conclude that the instant sweater dryer is classified as a household article and that the plastic tubes imparts the essential character.


A sweater dryer, as described above, composed of a plastic tubular rack with a nylon fabric that goes on top of the rack, is classified by virtue of GRI (3)(b), HTSUS, as other household articles of plastics in subheading 3924.90.55, HTSUS, with duty at the 1995 and 1994 general rate of 3.4 percent ad valorem.

You are directed to allow the protest in full.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, Revised Protest Directive, dated August 4, 1993, a copy of this decision attached to Customs Form 19, Notice of Action, should be provided by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this decision and any reliquidations of entries in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior thereto. Sixty days from the date of this decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make this 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

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