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NY F81281

January 7, 2000

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 F81281


TARIFF NO.: 9507.90.8000

Linda G. Wright
USA GuangWei Fishing Tackle Corp.
7400 Harwin Drive #340
Houston TX 77036

RE: The tariff classification of a fishing tackle kit from China.

Dear Ms. Wright:

In your letter dated December 8, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise under consideration is a fishing tackle kit. It consists of a fiberglass rod, a spinning reel, a plastic tackle box, a 5½ inch high fish scale, and tackle including hooks, lures, bobbers, weights, sinkers, line and various rubber bait. This ruling’s conclusions are based on the presumption that the complete kit will be imported from China and sold in one retail package.

Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require the remaining GRIs are applied, taken in order.

In considering the classification of this fishing tackle kit we note that no one subheading fully describes the article. Therefore, the kit cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1. Since the article is composed of at least five components that if imported separately would be classifiable in the tariff under different headings or subheadings, we must refer to GRI 3 to classify the fishing tackle kit. In this regard we note that the individual components are classifiable as follows: the fishing rod in subheading 9507.10, HTSUS; the reel in subheading 9507.30; the empty tackle box in heading 4202; the fish scale in heading 8423; and the tackle pack contents mainly in subheading 9507.90.

GRI 3(a) provides that a composite article or a set such as the instant kit is to be classified in the heading that provides the most specific description. Since the description of the various components is equally specific the kit cannot be classified under GRI 3(a). Accordingly, we must next consider the classification of the kit under GRI 3(b) which covers, among other things, goods put up in sets for retail sale.

In understanding the language of GRI 3(b), the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS.

Explanatory Note X to GRI 3(b), provides that "[f]or the 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 (or subheadings);

(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."

The instant fishing tackle kit meets the criteria for treatment as a set under the GRI 3 analysis. The articles in the kit are classifiable in different headings or subheadings, and the imported kit is put up ready for sale at retail without repacking. Finally, all the components in this tackle kit are designed to support a specific activity - recreational fishing.

Goods classifiable under GRI 3(b) are classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character, which may be determined by the nature of the component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the article.

In considering all these factors we have concluded that the various components play more or less equally necessary roles and are equally essential to the kit’s performance of the function for which it was designed. There is no one component that imparts the essential character to the whole. Accordingly, we must refer to GRI 3(c) which provides that when goods cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a) or (b), they are to be classified in the heading (or subheading) which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration in determining classification.

Accordingly, by virtue of GRI 3(c), the kit would be classified in the subheading that occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration, leading us to subheading 9507.90.8000, HTSUS.

The applicable subheading for the fishing tackle kit consisting of a fishing rod with reel, an empty tackle box, a fish weight scale and a tackle pack made up of various tackle, is classifiable in subheading 9507.90.8000, HTSUS, the provision for fishing rods, fish hooks and other line fishing tackle;...other: other, including parts and accessories: other. Articles so classified are subject to a rate of duty of 9 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 212-637-7011.


Robert B. Swierupski Director,
National Commodity Specialist Division

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