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NY C82899

January 27, 1998

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 C82899


TARIFF NO.: 9504.90.6000; 4202.92.3030

William Ng
Sunnywood, Inc.
121 Schelter Road
Lincolnshire, IL 60069

RE: The tariff classification of a Chess Set and Chess pieces from China.

Dear Mr Ng:

In your letter dated December 22, 1997, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

One item of merchandise submitted for tariff classification is described as "ITEM #2...: 3 1/2" King plastic chess pieces packed in two 7 1/2" x 5 1/4" mesh pouches." The bags are 100% nylon knit mesh drawstring pouches with 100% polypropylene cord locks.

A second item is described as "ITEM #3...: Chess set with 3 1/2 King plastic chess pieces and vinyl chess mat packed in a carrying case." The article is said to be a complete chess set for tournament players consisting of plastic chess pieces and a vinyl chess mat packed in a carrying case of polyester with PVC backing.

Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, 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 GRIs may then be applied.

In the case of the first item, the chess pieces packed in two mesh pouches, the article cannot be classified by reference to GRI 1 because it consists of individual components that are classifiable in different headings of the tariff. The chess pieces are classifiable in heading 9504, HTSUSA, as game pieces. The mesh bag or pouch component is classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUSA, as a travel bag. There is no one heading or subheading that covers the merchandise in its entirety. We must now determine if the article is classified as a set or composite good of GRI 3, or whether its components are separately classifiable in the tariff.

While the chess component of the article is designed to be a game piece used for amusement, the mesh bag serves a different need which is to collect, organize, transport, and store the chess pieces with which it is entered. Explanatory Note X(b) to GRI 3(b), the next basis of classification, states that:

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

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

Since the mesh pouch with its game chess pieces is not put up to meet one particular need or carry out a specific activity, the article does not comprise a set for purposes of GRI 3(b).

Nor do we consider the subject article a composite good as defined in Explanatory Note (IX) to GRI 3(b), HTSUSA. That note states:

For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

The bag and its toy component do not mutually complement each other and are not adapted to one another in the sense of a composite good. Thus, the article does not constitute a composite good within the scope of GRI 3(b).

We also note that certain containers may be classified with the articles they are designed to hold, if the requirements of GRI 5(a) are met. In pertinent part, GRI 5(a) states that:

Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing instrument cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, suitable for long- term use and entered with the article for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith.

It is the bag or container itself which must be specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific set of articles. We do not regard the sample mesh carrying/storage pouch or bag as one that is specially shaped or internally fitted to accommodate the chess pieces. Nor do we regard the mesh pouch of a kind normally sold with chess pieces but of a kind normally sold as travel bags. Accordingly, we find that GRI 5(a) does not operate to make the mesh pouch classifiable with its chess contents. Therefore, each individual component, including the container, is separately classifiable.

The applicable subheading for the chess pieces (part of your item #2) will be 9504.90.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Articles for arcade, table or parlor games...: Other: Chess, checkers, parchisi, backgammon, darts and other games played on boards of special design...and parts thereof." The duty rate will be free.

The applicable subheading for the knit mesh drawstring pouches with cord lock (of your item #2)will be 4202.92.3030, HTS, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags: with outer surface of textile materials: other...other, dutiable at the rate of 19.2 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 670.

The chess set with chess pieces and vinyl chess mat (your item #3) is packed in a specially fitted zippered bag of a kind normally sold with the set. Thus, in this instance, the bag is classified with it's contents, following GRI 5(a). Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the chess set will be 9504.90.6000, HTS, with a duty rate of free.

We regret to inform you that because the two additional samples referred to in your letter have been misplaced, this office cannot provide you with their tariff classification at this time. Please resubmit the samples with an appropriate cover letter.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Tom McKenna at (212)466-5475.


Robert Swierupski
National Commodity

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