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NY G81775

September 18, 2000

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 G81775


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.1500

Anthony Cosenza
Regent Sports Corp.
45 Ranick Rd.

Hauppauge NY 11788-4239

RE: The tariff classification of a t·ball USA Training Set made in China.

Dear Mr. Cosenza:

In your letter dated August 23, 2000, you requested a tariff classification ruling for a t•ball usa Training Set, your item number 99645. A sample of the subject tee ball set was provided with your ruling request.

The retail box lists the contents of the tee ball set as follows:

Youth Model Baseball Glove
Official Metal Tee Ball Bat
Official Size Soft Baseball
Nylon Bat Bag

Merchandise imported into the United States is classified under the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States Annotated (HTSUS). Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUS and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order.

The merchandise at issue is a tee ball set, which contains various components. Because there is no specific provision in the HTSUS covering “tee ball sets,” the question of whether the merchandise should be considered a set for tariff purposes arises.

The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUS constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b) provide further guidance in determining what constitutes a “set.” The relevant note states, in pertinent part:

(X) For the purposes of this Rule, the term “goods put up in sets for retail sale” shall be taken to mean goods which:
consist of at least two different articles that are, prima facie, classifiable in two or more headings; consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

In this case, it is our view that the above “set” criteria are met. First, the subject merchandise consists of at least two different articles which are prima facie classifiable in different headings (i.e., the polyester bat bag, which is classifiable under 4202.92.3031, HTSUS, which covers sport bags with outer surface of textile materials; the youth glove, classifiable under 3926.20, which covers baseball mitts; the tee ball bat, classifiable in subheading 9506.99.1500, providing for baseball articles and equipment, except balls; and, the soft baseball, which is classified in 9506.69.2040, which provides for balls, other, baseballs). Secondly, in their condition as imported, the items are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to consumers without repacking. The third criterion, that the goods consist of articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, is also satisfied. Therefore, the subject merchandise qualifies for treatment as a set.

Because the tee ball kit is a set, and the heading under which the items could be classified refer to only part of the items in the set, we turn to GRI 3(b) to classify the merchandise. This provides that the set is classified by the item that gives the set its essential character. “Essential character” is the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article, or set, is. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) explains that essential character may be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the article.

Although it can be said that one of the components represents the greatest value of the items and the bag appears to represent the greatest bulk, neither fact alone is dispositive of essential character in this case. Furthermore, based on use, no one item imparts essential character; rather, all the items function coequally to create the tee ball kit.

Accordingly, GRI 3(c) explains that goods that cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b) are classified under the heading that occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. The merchandise, therefore, is classifiable in heading 9506, as sport equipment, the provision that occurs last in numerical order.

The applicable subheading for the T-Ball USA Training Set will be 9506.99.1500, HTSUS, the provision for articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports or outdoor gamesother: baseball articles and equipment, except balls, and parts and accessories thereof. The rate of duty will be free.

Regarding the polyester bat bag, in accordance with Customs Headquarters Ruling Letter 086297, issued January 26, 1990, textile articles classified in Chapter 95, HTSUS, by application of GRI 3, are not subject to separate visa requirements or quota restraint levels.

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 212.637.7015.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity

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