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HQ 961294

June 17, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961294 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9989

Sidney H. Kuflik, Esquire
Lamb & Lerch
233 Broadway
New York, New York 10279

RE: Revocation of New York Ruling Letter (NY) C80418; Other Made Up Article of Textiles; Storage Bag, Not Traveling Bag; Totes, Incorporated v. United States, 18 C.I.T. 919, 865 F. Supp. 867 (1994), aff'd, 69 F.3d 495 (Fed. Cir. 1995)

Dear Mr. Kuflik:

In New York Ruling Letter (NY) C80418, issued October 20, 1997, Customs classified a large textile bag in subheading 4202.92.9025, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), textile category 670, which provides for "Trunks...traveling bags...: 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." We have reviewed that ruling and have found it to be in error. Therefore, this ruling revokes NY C80418.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY C80418 was published on May 13, 1998, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 32, Number 19.


The merchandise at issue is described as a storage bag or covering for the hardtop of a BMW Z3 roadster. When laid out in a flat manner, the article measures approximately 53 inches in height by 58 inches in width at its widest part (and 47 inches in width at its narrowest part). The bag is composed of 100 percent nylon textile material with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) trim. At the top of the bag, there is a full-width, zippered opening and a textile webbed carrying handle. Two nonadjustable textile webbed straps measuring approximately 38 inches in length are joined to the bag near the top center and at the lower sides. A short, thick loop of webbed textile material also protrudes from each of the two lower sides. The carrying handle, straps, and loops are primarily designed as options for suspending the hardtop from a wall, a ceiling, etc., in a balanced manner which harms neither the load-bearing surface nor the hardtop. The bag is not primarily designed to carry the hardtop - which is said to weigh approximately 85 pounds - more than very short distances. Although the BMW Z3 roadster is a convertible, the hardtop is offered as an optional attachment for use on the vehicle, for instance, in colder climates on a seasonal basis. The bag is used essentially to protect the hardtop during storage and is not used while the hardtop is attached to the vehicle.


Whether the merchandise is classified in heading 4202, HTSUS, as a traveling bag; in heading 8708, HTSUS, as a motor vehicle part or accessory; or in heading 6307, HTSUS, as an other made up textile article.


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.

Heading 4202, HTSUS, 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, knapsacksand backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery 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."

In Totes, Incorporated v. United States, 18 C.I.T. 919, 865 F. Supp. 867 (1994), aff'd, 69 F.3d 495 (Fed. Cir. 1995), the Court of International Trade (CIT) examined the classification of automobile trunk organizers (described as bags or cases designed to store trunk necessities such as jumper cables, tire inflator, tools, antifreeze, oil, and other fluids, etc., in a neat and orderly manner) and the application of ejusdem generis, to determine whether the organizers were of the same class or kind of containers as the listed 4202 exemplars. The Court found significant disparity in the physical characteristics, purposes, and uses of the individual heading 4202 exemplars, but emphasized that the essential characteristics and purposes of all of the exemplars were to organize, store, protect and carry various items. The capability of the trunk organizers to carry - not to organize, store, and protect - was a central issue in the case. After having stipulated to the fact that the organizers had hefty web handles for easy carrying, the plaintiff subsequently attempted to minimize the organizers' carrying capacity and function. The Court, however, rejected any requirement that the principal design feature of an article classified as a "similar container" under heading 4202 be portability or transportation of the contents.

Like the trunk organizers, the subject textile bag is not principally designed for the transportation of contents. The CIT in Totes, recognized that portability is usually an incidental purpose of jewelry boxes and certain tool chests classifiable in heading 4202, but noted that those containers nevertheless retained their primary uses to organize, store and protect articles. However, unlike the trunk organizers - which featured internal movable dividers by which a variety of items could be compartmentalized - the subject textile bag features little in the way of organizational characteristics. The essential characteristics and purpose of the textile bag is to store and protect a motor vehicle's hardtop, not to organize, store, protect and carry various items. We find that the clear presence of only two of the four essential characteristics of heading 4202 exemplars provides an insufficient basis upon which to classify the textile bag as a "similar container."

Among other goods, heading 8708, HTSUS, covers parts and accessories of motor vehicles. The EN to heading 8708 state that the heading covers parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705, provided that the parts and accessories fulfil both of the following conditions:

(i) They must be identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the above-mentioned vehicles; and

(ii) They must not be excluded by the provisions of the Notes to Section XVII.

Textile bags for the storage and protection of a motor vehicle hardtop are not excluded by the provisions of the Notes to Section XVII. To determine whether the bag is suitable for use solely or principally with a motor vehicle so as to be classified as a part or accessory, we look to a discussion of the term "part" in United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc. (hereinafter Willoughby), 21 C.C.P.A. 322 (1933). The case involved the classification of an imported tripod which was not solely used with cameras and had various other purposes. The Customs Court stated that a part "is an integral, constituent, or component...without which the article to which it is to be joined, could not function as such article." In United States v. Pompeo (hereinafter Pompeo), 43 C.C.P.A. 9 (1955), the issue was whether an imported supercharger was properly considered a part of an automobile. The Government had argued that, because an automobile was able to function with or without it, the supercharger was not a part. The Court disagreed, focusing on the nature of the supercharger, which was "dedicated irrevocably for use upon automobiles," and held that the article was properly classified as a part of an automobile.

The textile bag does not satisfy the requirements of a "part" under the standards of either Willoughby or Pompeo, or fulfil the conditions of the EN to heading 8708 for classification as a part or accessory. The bag is never "joined" to the BMW Z3 roadster, is not actually used upon the automobile itself, and does not affect the vehicle's function. Since the bag is used only after the hardtop has been detached from the vehicle, it cannot be found to be suitable for use solely or principally with the vehicle. The textile bag is therefore not classified as a part or accessory of a motor vehicle. (But see NY 873356, issued April 21, 1992, and NY 864763, issued July 8, 1991, in which an automobile trunk cover and an article specifically designed and fitted to cover the windows and roof of a Chevrolet Corvette automobile, respectively, were classified under heading 8708, HTSUS. Unlike the subject textile bag, however, each of those items was intended for attachment directly to, and suitable for use solely or principally with, a motor vehicle.)

Heading 6307, HTSUS, covers other made up textile articles, including dress patterns. The EN to heading 6307 indicate that the heading covers made up articles of any textile material which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature. The EN indicate that the heading excludes travel goods (suit-cases, rucksacks, etc.), shopping-bags, toilet-cases, etc., and all similar containers of heading 4202. The EN also state, in pertinent part, that the heading includes loose covers for motor-cars, domestic laundry or shoe bags and similar articles. Loose covers for automobiles, as well as laundry and shoe bags, share the essential purposes of storage and/or protection. In light of this fact and the foregoing discussion, we find that the textile storage bag is classified in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA.


The textile storage bag for the hardtop of a BMW Z3 roadster convertible is classified in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other: Other: Other, Other: Other." The general column one duty rate is 7 percent ad valorem.

NY C80418, issued October 20, 1997, is hereby revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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