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HQ 957354

December 12, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 957354 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 9401.90.40

Ms. Mary King
Wholesale Supply Co., Inc.
7100 Service Merchandise Dr.
Brentwood, TN 37027

RE: Chair frame; Parts of seats, Composite goods; Essential character; PC 874015 modified

Dear Ms. King:

This is in reference to your letter dated November 17, 1994, requesting reconsideration of that part of Pre-entry Classification Ruling (PC) 874015 issued to your company on May 20, 1992, relating to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of director chair frames without canvas seats and backs.


In PC 874015 the District Director of Customs at New Orleans, Louisiana, classified a director chair frame, model 73SF, under subheading 9401.90.50, HTSUS, which provides for parts of seats, other, other. The applicable rate of duty for this provision is 4% ad valorem.

You maintain that the chair frame in issue is properly classifiable under subheading 9401.90.40, HTSUS, which provides for parts of seats, other, of wood. The applicable rate of duty for this provision is 5.3% ad valorem.


What is the proper classification of the subject chair frame under the HTSUS?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's]." In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

Inasmuch as director chair frame, model 73SF, is a composite good [wood plus hardware] its classification is governed by GRI 3(b), HTSUS, which reads as follows:

3. When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting 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.

The chair frame is prima facie classifiable under subheading 9401.90.50, HTSUS, as parts of seats, other, other and under subheading 9401.90.40, HTSUS, as parts of seats, other, of wood.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes to the HTSUS (EN), may be utilized. The EN's, although not dispositive, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading and should be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Composite goods are classifiable as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is, that which is indispensable to the structure, core, or condition of the article. In addition, EN VIII to GRI 3(b), at page 4, provides further factors which help determine the essential character of goods. It reads, as follows:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example be determined by the nature of the materials or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

You have provided additional information about the product including a value breakdown and a component material breakdown by weight. These breakdowns show that the value and the weight of the wood component far exceeds the value and weight of the hardware. Further, it is our observation that the wood component plays a more important role in the use of the product than the hardware. Consequently, it is our opinion that wood imparts the essential character to the chair frame. Therefore, model 73SF directors chair frame, is classifiable under the provision for parts of seats, other, of wood, in subheading 9401.90.40, HTSUS.


The directors chair frame is classifiable under subheading 9401.90.40, HTSUS. Accordingly, DD 957354 is modified to reflect this holding.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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