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NY 816824

December 7, 1995

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:FC:224 816824


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.6080; 4202.92.3030

Jim Sprayberry

Danzas Corp.

PO Box 45128

College Park, GA 30349

RE: The tariff classification of a climbing harness with fanny pack from France.

Dear Mr. Sprayberry:

In your letter dated November 9, 1995, on behalf of PMI-Petzl Distribution, you requested a tariff classification ruling on a nylon sit-harness used in climbing, caving, rappelling and similar sport activities. A sample of the article, which includes a nylon fanny pack to carry the harness, was submitted with your request.

Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) 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 them be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) 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 GRIs.

As noted, the article consists of a sport climbing sit-harness and a bag resembling a fanny pack. Subheading 9506.99.60, HTSUS, provides for "Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table tennis) or outdoor games...: Other: Other." The bag would be classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUS, if imported separately.

We 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 articles for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith.

The EN to GRI 5(a) provides that:

(1) This Rule shall be taken to cover only those containers which:

(1) are specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, i.e., they are designed specifically to accommodate the article for which they are intended. Some containers are shaped in the form of the article which they contain;

(2) are suitable for long-term use, i.e., they are designed to have a durability comparable to that of the articles for which they are intended. These containers also serve to protect the article when not in use (during transport or storage, for example). These criteria enable them to be distinguished from simple packings;

(3) are presented with the articles for which they are intended, whether or not the articles are packed separately for convenience of transport. Presented separately the containers are classified in their appropriate headings;

(4) are of a kind normally sold with such articles; (5) do not give the whole its essential character.

(Emphasis added)

In order for the fanny pack to be classified with the harness, it must meet the criteria set forth above.

The subject bag resembles a fanny pack and is marketed for use as a fanny pack. It is not unlike the usual and ordinary fanny pack that is sold as an independent product and on its own merits for carrying various other personal effects. Consequently, it has significant uses other than to hold and carry a mountain climbing harness. For this reason, the bag is not "of a kind normally sold with" its contents.

Moreover, the fanny pack or bag at issue is not specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article. Its shape does not precisely follow the contour of the harness; nor are there any special features which provide a special fit for the harness. The bag has not been designed to specifically accommodate the harness. As the bag does not meet two of the criterion set forth above, GRI 5(a) is inapplicable and the bag is not classifiable with its contents.

GRI 3(b) states:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character (emphasis added).

In certain circumstances, Customs has determined that a carrying bag and its contents may be classified as a composite good, with the essential character imparted by the contents. Thus, GRI 3(b) provides an alternative basis by which a carrying bag may be classified with its contents.

The EN to GRI 3(b) provides in pertinent part that:

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 (emphasis added).

In this instance, the nylon bag, as we have described, is in the nature of a fanny pack for carrying various personal effects. It is of a durable construction and would normally be sold as an independent product in its own right. Consequently, in this instance the fanny pack bag and the harness do not comprise a composite article under GRI 3(b) of the HTSUS.

As the nylon fanny pack cannot be classified with the harness, it must be classified under the heading which most specifically describes it. Therefore, it is classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUS, which provides in pertinent part for travel, sports and similar bags.

The applicable subheading for the climbing sit-harness will be 9506.99.6080, HTSUS, which provides for "Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports...or outdoor games...: Other: Other." The rate of duty will be 4.5 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the fanny pack will be 4202.92.3030, HTSUS, which provides for "Travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, other, of man-made fibers, other." The rate of duty will be 19.8 percent ad valorem.

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

A copy of the ruling 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.


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