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HQ 961047

September 25, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961047 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.9025

Mr. Douglas W. Adams
Bowline Family Products
1564 Elmira
Aurora, Colorado 80010

RE: "Bottle Totes;" Bags for Single Bottled Beverage; Heading 4202, HTSUS; SGI, Incorporated v. United States, 122 F.3d 1468 (Fed. Cir. 1997)

Dear Mr. Adams:

This letter is in response to your request of October 8, 1997, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of bags designed to carry a single bottled beverage. The articles are manufactured in China. Samples were submitted with your request.


Although the three samples, identified as "Bottle Totes," vary somewhat in color and features, each bag has a webbed textile adjustable shoulder strap, each is designed to contain and transport a single bottled beverage, and each measures approximately 8 inches height by 12 inches in circumference.

Two of the samples are insulated and composed of three layers of material. The outer surface and inner lining are composed of textile materials of man-made fibers. A man-made foam insulation comprises the middle layer. A bottle may be inserted into each of the insulated bags by means of a zippered opening which extends around most of the bag's circumference. Each of the bags also has a small pocket for coins, keys, etc.

The third bag is composed of one layer of man-made textile materials, is not insulated, and contains no additional pocket. A zippered opening extends approximately 5 inches down from the top of the bag.


Whether the bottle bags designed to carry a single bottled beverage are classified under heading 4202, HTSUS, as containers used to organize, store, protect and carry various items; or are classified under heading 6307, HTSUS, as other made up (textile) articles to which the principles of the decision in SGI, Incorporated v. United States apply.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined 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 GRI 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 HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

The classification of certain portable, soft-sided, insulated cooler bags with outer surface of plastics, was examined by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in SGI, Incorporated v. United States, 122 F.3d 1468 (Fed. Cir. 1997). The CAFC focused on whether food or beverages were involved with the eo nomine exemplars set forth in the tariff provisions at issue and, without discussion of heading 4202 exemplars that organize, store, protect, and/or carry food or beverages, the CAFC held that the appropriate classification for the cooler bags was subheading 3924.10.50, HTSUS, the provision for "Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles...of plastics: Tableware and kitchenware: Other." The Court stated that this classification "does encompass exemplars that are ejusdem generis with the coolers because their purpose is to contain food and beverages." The exemplars (specifically enumerated in subheading 3924.10.10) which the Court noted in
particular were the "various household containers for foodstuffs such as salt, pepper, mustard, and ketchup dispensers and serving pieces for food."

This office concluded that the CAFC's decision in SGI should be implemented. Instructions were issued to Customs field personnel on March 18, 1998 (and approved for dissemination to members of the importing community), by which the principles of the CAFC's decision were expressly extended to portable, hard or soft-sided, insulated coolers and similar insulated containers with outer surface of plastics or with outer surface of textile materials (the latter of which are classified in subheading 6307.90.9905, 6307.90.9907, or 6307.90.9909, HTSUSA, depending upon whether the article's outer surface is composed of cotton, man-made fibers, or other textile materials, respectively); and to such articles that feature exterior or interior pockets, webbing, straps, etc., provided that the additional features do not alter the container's primary purpose to store and preserve food and/or beverages.

The instructions issued in March 1998 also stated, however, that the classification of bottle cases, insulated bottle bags, and similar containers (if designed to contain only one bottle or similar single unit of a beverage, regardless of the unit's capacity) was unaffected by SGI. It was noted that a bottle case is an exemplar container of heading 4202 and (unlike the articles before the Court in SGI) is not designed to contain food or multiple beverages.

The subject bottle bags are not similar to the soft-sided, insulated cooler bags at issue in SGI. The bottle bags are designed to transport a single bottled beverage and are thus similar to the exemplar bottle cases properly classified under heading 4202, HTSUS. In light of the principles of the SGI decision and the instructions noted above, the three "Bottle Totes" are classified in subheading 4202.92.9026, HTSUSA.


The insulated and uninsulated bottle bags identified as "Bottle Totes" are classified in subheading 4202.92.9026, HTSUSA, textile category 670, the provision for "Trunks...holsters... bottle cases...and similar containers...: Other: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Other: Other, With outer surface of textile materials: Other: Of man-made fibers." The general column one duty rate is 19 percent ad valorem.

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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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