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HQ 961331

JUNE 16, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 961331 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 9401.20.00

Ms. Marsha Dawson
Graco Children's Products, Inc.
Thousand Oaks Corporate Center
Morgantown, PA 19543

RE: Travel System, Infant Car Seat/Stroller; Transportation System for Infants; Portable Infant Car Seat, Molded Plastic Base, Collapsible Stroller; Goods Put Up in Sets for Retail Sale, GRI 3(b), Essential Character; HQ 961266

Dear Ms. Dawson:

In a letter to the Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated January 21, 1998, you request a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), for the Travel System, an infant stroller with car seat attached. A xerox page depicting the components was submitted.


The Travel System, as described, consists of a collapsible stroller and infant car seat, packaged together in a box for retail sale. The System permits easy and efficient movement of the child from home to the car and points in between. It can be used as a car seat, an infant carrier, a car seat/stroller and, when the child outgrows the car seat, a convenience stroller.

The System consists of these components: (1) a car seat of molded plastic, with carry handle, fabric liner, and safety restraint; (2) a molded plastic base; and (3) a lightweight collapsible stroller of plastic and aluminum, with a snap-on fabric seat, back, and canopy, a mesh utility storage basket, and safety restraint. The car seat snaps into brackets on the stroller and the plastic base attaches to the bottom of the car
seat. This serves both to secure the car seat in a motor vehicle and as a means of stabilizing the car seat while on the ground.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8715.00.00 Baby carriages (including strollers) and parts thereof...4.4 percent ad valorem

9401 Seats (other than those of heading 9402), whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof:

9401.20.00 Seats of a kind used for motor vehicles ...0.6 percent ad valorem


Whether the System constitutes "goods put up in sets for retail sale" (sets) for tariff purposes and, if so, whether an essential character can be established.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

GRI 3(b) states, in relevant part, that goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if consisting of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criteria is applicable. With respect to this issue, the relevant ENs, at p. 4 under the caption RULE 3(b), state:

(X) For purposes of this Rule, the term
"goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards).

In this case it is apparent that the System satisfies criteria (a) in that the infant car seat with molded plastic base is provided for as a seat in heading 9401 and the stroller is provided for as a baby carriage in heading 8715. The System satisfies criteria (b) because, in our opinion, infant transport, whether in the car seat or in the stroller, is a particular need or a specific activity. Lastly, the System is clearly boxed or packaged in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

As to which component imparts the essential character to the System, relevant ENs authorize Customs to consider the nature of each component in the good, its weight or value, or its role in relation to the use of the good. We recognize that considerations as to value, construction in accordance with applicable Federal safety standards, and diversification of use, all militate in favor of a conclusion that the car seat imparts the essential character. Nevertheless, the stroller is similarly capable of a transport function, particularly for a toddler or an older child, and with less strain on the parent. It also has a utility storage basket which the car seat lacks. Moreover, both the stroller and the car seat would appeal equally to prospective buyers with several children of different ages. For this reason, we are unable to establish an essential character for the System.

Under GRI 3(c), therefore, we find that the System is to be classified in heading 9401, as that heading occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. In HQ 961266, dated June 4, 1998, we held that nearly identical merchandise, the 4-in-1 System Infant Car Seat/Stroller, was a set, classifiable in subheading 9401.20.00, HTSUS.


The Travel System is a "set" for tariff purposes. Under the authority of GRI 3(c), it is classifiable in subheading 9401.20.00, HTSUS. The rate of duty is 0.6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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