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HQ 959356

February 19, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959356 RH


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.9025

Meyer Customs Brokers
Division of C.H. Robinson International, Inc. 8100 Mitchell Road
Suite 200
Eden Prairie, MN 55344-2231

ATTN: Mr. Gordon Anderson

RE: Tool bags; tool rolls; tool boxes; tool cases; heading 4202; heading 6307;
Totes, Inc. v. United States

Dear Mr. Anderson:

This is in response to your letter of May 31, 1996, on behalf of your client, Portable Products, requesting reconsideration of ruling letter PD A82520, dated May 3, 1996. In that ruling, Customs classified tool holder organizers under subheading 4202.92.9025 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You contend that the tool holder organizers should be classified under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, as other textile materials.

You submitted samples of the tool organizers to aid us in our determination.


The merchandise under consideration, two tool holder organizers ("Tim Allen Signature Tools"), will be imported into the United States from China. The small sample is constructed of two ridged plastic sheets covered with woven nylon fabric. It has a flap which folds over and has two metal snaps for closure. The inside has a 1 1/4 inch strip of nylon material and a 1 1/4 inch strip of elastic material. Both strips have four loops sewn into the panel to hold and secure tools in place.

The other sample is constructed of the same material but is larger and has greater tool capacity. When folded shut it is 12 inches by 8 inches. Unfolded, it measures approximately 21 inches by 8 inches. It has elastic and nylon looped strips, a looped fabric strip and five tool pockets to hold and secure tools in place. It also has a nylon flap which folds over and has two metal snaps to hold the flap shut. The top of the flap has a handle for carrying the organizer.


Whether the nylon tool organizers are classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, as tool bags or similar containers, or under heading 6307, HTSUSA, as other made-up textile articles?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in order.

In PD A82520, Customs classified the tool organizers in question under heading 4202, HTSUSA, which provides for:

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of sheeting of plastics, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper. (Emphasis added).

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has, therefore, been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN when interpreting the HTSUSA.

On July 1, 1992, the Harmonized System Committee issued a revision to the EN for heading 4202. This revision provides at page 661 that heading 4202 does not cover:

(f) Tool boxes or cases [in the first part of the heading], not specially shaped or internally fitted to contain particular tools with or without their accessories (generally, heading 39.26 or 73.26). (Emphasis in original).

The EN also state that the expression "similar containers" in the second part of the heading (after the semicolon) includes, among other things, "tool and jewellery rolls." Unlike tool boxes and tool cases, there is no requirement in the EN that tool rolls be specially shaped or internally fitted to contain particular tools.

In the instant case, the tool organizers are "ejusdem generis" or "of the same kind" of merchandise as tool bags listed in heading 4202, and/or tool rolls referred to in the EN.

In the case of Totes v. United States, 69 F. 3d 495 (1995), the court addressed the principle of ejusdem generis in determining whether a trunk organizer was a "similar container" under heading 4202. The court stated:

Under the rule of ejusdem generis, which means "of the same kind," where an enumeration of specific things is followed by a general word or phrase, the general word or phrase is held to refer to things of the same kind as those specified. As applicable to classification cases, ejusdem generis requires that the imported merchandise possess the essential characteristics or purposes that unite the articles enumerated eo nomine [by name] in order to be classified under the general terms.

The "Tim Allen Signature Tools" are containers similar to tool bags and/or tool rolls in that they possess the essential characteristics or purposes of those articles, i.e., to organize, store and protect tools. They are, therefore, classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA.

In your submission you cite New York Ruling Letter (NY) 887383, dated June 22, 1993, wherein Customs classified a "Tool Roll-Up Organizer" under heading 6307, HTSUSA (other made-up textile articles). You argue that the tool roll-up in NY 887383 is similar to your merchandise in that both have holders or pockets for tools, both fold to cover and unfold to allow access to the tools, and both are made of fabric.

Upon review of NY 887383, we discovered that the holding in that ruling is incorrect. The tool roll-up in that case should have been classified under heading 4202, based on the same reasoning set out in this ruling with regard to the tool organizers. We are in the process of revoking that ruling and it, therefore, has no precedential affect on your case.

Finally, you cite numerous rulings in your letter and argue that the tool boxes and similar containers in those rulings display a common design feature in that they have six sides and a bottom for the tools to lay. Although the articles in those rulings may possess such a design, it is not a criterion for classification under heading 4202. That argument is not persuasive for excluding the "Tim Allen Signature Tools" from classification under heading 4202. - 4 -


The tool organizers ("Tim Allen Signature Tools") are classifiable under subheading 4202.92.9025, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, tool bags and similar containers with an outer surface of man made fibers. They are dutiable at the rate of 19.3 percent ad valorem and fall within textile category 670.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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