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 > 1997 HQ Rulings > HQ 959946 - HQ 960089 > HQ 959998

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 959998

August 13, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 959998 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 9503.90.0030

Ms. Mary K. O'Rourke
Imagination!, Inc.
35 Hampstead Road
Boston, MA 02130

RE: Slipcover-like textile "playhouse"; 6306, 9503; Note 1(u) to Chapter 95; EN 63.06, 95.03; The Lexicon Webster Dictionary; HRLs 088146, 089149, 950217, 087116, 088644, 086969, 086867, 085269, 084745, 084128, 086548, 954239 and 959196

Dear Ms. O'Rourke:

This is in response to your letter of October 22, 1996, to our office in New York, on behalf of the Imagination!, Inc., requesting the proper classification of a slipcover-like textile "playhouse" under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). Your letter, together with samples, was forwarded to this office for a response. We regret the delay in responding.


The article is a polyester, slipcover-like, textile article, described as a "playhouse." It has been sewn as a one-piece item to fit over a standard size card table (34 inches by 34 inches by 28 inches high). The card table is not available for sale with the "playhouse." Art in bright colors is screened on the front panels which act as an entrance. Windows with curtains are screened on the other sides. A checker board has been screened on the top. The article meets all flame retardant and non-toxic paint regulations. It is designed for indoor use by small children ages 2 and up.


Whether the slipcover-like "playhouse" is considered a tent, a toy or an other textile article for tariff purposes. LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification under the HTS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs. There are three headings under consideration:

6306 Tarpaulins, awnings and sunblinds; tents; sails for boats, sailboards or landcraft; camping goods

6307 Other made up articles, including dress patterns

9503 Other toys; reduced-size ("scale") models and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; and accessories thereof

Note 1(u) to Chapter 95, HTS, states that the chapter does not include "Racket strings, tents or other camping goods, or gloves (classified according to their constituent material)." The general ENs for Chapter 95, HTS, state, in pertinent part, that, "Apart from the articles excluded in the following Explanatory Notes, this Chapter also excludes:...(c) Tents and camping goods (generally heading 63.06)...." Therefore, if the subject article meets the tariff definition of "tent" it is excluded from classification as a toy.

Heading 6306, HTS, provides for "Tarpaulins, Awnings and Sunblinds; Tents; Sails for Boats, Sailboards, or Landcraft; Camping Goods." EN 63.06 defines the term "tent" as:

(4) Tents are shelters made of lightweight to fairly heavy fabrics of man-made fibres, cotton or blended textile materials, whether or not coated, covered or laminated, or of canvas. They usually have a single or double roof and sides or walls (single or double), which permit the formation of an enclosure. The heading covers tents of various sizes and shapes, e.g., marquees and tents for military, camping (including backpack tents), circus, beach use. They are classified in this heading, whether or not they are presented complete with their tent poles, tent pegs, guy ropes or other accessories.

Caravan "awnings" (sometimes known as caravan annexes) which are tent-like structures are also regarded as tents. They are generally made of man-made fibre fabrics or of fairly thick canvas. They consist of three walls and a roof and are designed to augment the living space provided by a caravan.

The heading excludes umbrella tents of heading 66.01

(5) Camping goods. This group includes canvas buckets, water bags, wash basins; ground-sheets; pneumatic mattresses, pillows and cushions (other than those of heading 40.16); hammocks (other than those of heading 56.08).

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 089149 dated July 30, 1991, we held that a play tent was classifiable under subheading 6306.22.9030, HTS, as a tent because the definition of "tent" set forth in the ENs was broad enough to cover many types of tents, including play tents. See HRL 950217 dated December 19,1991, affirming HRL 089149. See also: HRLs 087116 dated July 17, 1990; 088644 dated June 13, 1991; 086969 dated April 27, 1990; 086867 dated April 26, 1990; 085269 dated April 13, 1990; and 084745 dated September 15, 1989, all indicating that play and slumber tents met the EN definition of "tents" and therefore were excluded from classification as toys.

The Lexicon Webster Dictionary, defines "tent" as "a portable shelter consisting of some flexible covering, such as skins, matting or canvas, stretched and sustained by poles." The EN 63.06 description of articles belonging to the class or kind, "tents" has a broad scope. Such a broad scope coupled with the dictionary definition's broad scope leads us to believe that for an article to be considered a "tent" it must, at a minimum, be sustained by a frame/skeleton, be covered by some flexible material, and provide a minimum amount of shelter from the elements.

While the present slipcover-like playhouse, is made of a flexible material it is in no way designed for outdoor use and therefore does not provided a minimum amount of shelter from the elements. As the slipcover-like playhouse does not provide a minimum amount of shelter from the elements, it is not classifiable as a tent. For a further explanation of tent-like articles not classifiable as "tents" for tariff purposes, see HRL 954239 dated September 14, 1993, which classified a tent-like structure designed to fit on the mattress of a bed, as a toy, and HRL 959196 dated August 27, 1996.

Heading 6307, HTS, describes the subject article because it is an other made up textile article. Heading 9503, HTS, provides for "Other toys...and accessories thereof," i.e., all toys not specifically provided for in the other headings of chapter 95. Although the term "toy" is not defined in the tariff, the ENs to chapter 95 indicate that a toy is an article designed for the amusement of children or adults. In HRL 088146 dated February 23, 1991, Customs indicated that the class of merchandise "toys" includes articles whose principal use is that of amusement, for either children or adults. The playhouse's art screened features indicate that the article is designed as a tool to conduct the role playing of "house." Additionally, it has a painted checkerboard. These features indicate to us that the slip-cover like playhouse is principally used for amusement. Therefore, it is described by heading 9503. Inasmuch as the article is described by both heading 6307 and 9503, it cannot be classified according to GRI 1.

When goods cannot be classified by applying GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs are applied. GRI 3 states that when goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description.

As heading 9503, HTS, satisfies the "use" requirement it more specifically describes the subject article. Therefore, the slip-cover like playhouse is classifiable there, specifically under subheading 9503.90.0030, HTS, which provides for " Other toys; reduced-size ("scale") models and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; and accessories thereof: Other, Other toys (except models), not having a spring mechanism."


The slipcover-like playhouse is classifiable under subheading 9503.90.0030, HTS, which provides for " Other toys; reduced-size ("scale") models and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; and accessories thereof: Other, Other toys (except models), not having a spring mechanism," with a general column one free rate of duty.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: