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HQ 961207

June 18, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961207 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9907

Mr. Guillermo Zuniga, Jr.
Gee Zee Squared Company, Inc.
Post Office Box 89
Laredo, Texas 78042

RE: Portable, Soft-Sided, Insulated Cooler Bags; SGI, Incorporated v. United States, 122 F.3d 1468 (Fed. Cir. 1997); Cooler Bags with an Outer Surface of Textile Materials

Dear Mr. Zuniga:

This letter is in response to your request of September 20, 1997, on behalf of your client, Mr. Larry Williams, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a soft-sided, insulated bag manufactured in Mexico. A sample was submitted with your request.


The sample, identified as an "ice cooler" or "ice bag," is a portable, soft-sided, insulated bag which is primarily designed to store and preserve beverages. The bag is manufactured in three different sizes to accommodate six, twelve, or eighteen 12 ounce beverage cans and sufficient ice to maintain the liquids near the point of freezing for prolonged periods of time. The sample bag (the 12-pack size) measures approximately 11 inches in height by 12 inches in width by 7 inches in depth. The bag's outer surface is composed of man-made textile materials. Its inner lining consists of a waterproof layer of plastic sheeting.

Between these two layers is a layer of plastic foam insulation material. The bag may be carried by means of double handle straps or a detachable shoulder strap, both of which are made of woven textile materials. There is a full-width, zippered closure across the top of the bag.


Whether the portable, soft-sided, insulated bag is classified under heading 4202, HTSUS, as a container used to organize, store, protect and carry various items; or under heading 6307, HTSUS, as a container with outer surface of textile materials 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 recently 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), which expressly extended the principles of the CAFC's decision to portable, hard or soft-sided, insulated coolers and similar insulated containers with outer surface of plastics or with outer surfaces composed in whole or in part of textile materials (the latter of which are classified in subheading 6307.90.99, HTSUS); and to such articles that feature exterior or interior pockets, webbing, straps, etc., for the purpose of containing items in addition to foodstuffs, provided that the additional features do not alter the container's primary purpose to store and preserve food and/or beverages.

In light of the principles of the SGI decision and the instructions noted above, the subject insulated bag with outer surface of textile materials is classified in subheading 6307.90.99, HTSUS. The tariff provision's statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits) is dependent upon the textile material which comprises the article's outer surface, for example: "05" if composed of cotton, "07" if composed of man-made fibers, and "09" if composed of other textile materials.


The portable, soft-sided, insulated bag identified as an "ice cooler" or "ice bag" is classified in subheading 6307.90.9907, HTSUSA, textile category 670, the provision for "Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other: Other: Other, Cooler bags with an outer surface of textile materials: Of man-made fibers." The general column one duty rate is 7 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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