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NY G82222

September 26, 2000

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 G82222


TARIFF NO.: 9506.59.4040

James F. Carroll
J. M. Rodgers Co., Inc.
20 N. Central Ave
Valley Stream NY 11580

RE: The tariff classification of badminton set made in China and Taiwan.

Dear Mr. Carroll:

In your letter dated September 5, 2000, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Sportcraft Ltd.

The merchandise is a badminton set, model no. 47092, which consists of four metal badminton rackets, three shuttlecocks, a 6-ply badminton net with telescopic height poles, and assorted game accessories. The sample set is one of several sport or outdoor game sets that are imported and sold at retail in either 1) a durable, textile, zippered carrying bag shaped to hold the set; or 2) a base metal, epoxy coated basket or cage. The carry case accompanying this badminton set is wholly of embossed sheeting of plastics of which the exterior surface is of plastics. (The type carry case is said to be alternatively manufactured of an exterior surface of man-made textile materials). This ruling is concerned only with the badminton set, a sample of which accompanied your letter. The sample is being returned at your request.

Merchandise imported into the United States is classified under the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 badminton set, which contains various components. Because there is no specific provision in the HTSUSA covering “badminton sets,” the question of whether the merchandise should be considered a set for tariff purposes arises.

The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA 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 rackets are classifiable in heading 9506, more specifically in subheading 9506.59; the shuttlecocks, the net, the poles and other accessory gear are classifiable in subheading 9506.99; and, the carry bag is classified in subheading 4202.92 (or in the case of the metal carrying basket) 4202.19. 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 badminton set is a set for tariff purposes, and the headings 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 subject badminton set is classified by the one item that gives the set its essential character. In other words, when presented put up together for retail sale, each component of the set, including that set’s textile carrying bag or wire basket, will be dutiable at the rate accorded to the component of the set that imparts the essential character to the set.

“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. In considering all these factors we have concluded that the rackets provide the set with its essential character. Therefore, the badminton set is classifiable under heading 9506, HTSUSA. In accordance with previously issued Customs Headquarters rulings, we note that textile articles classified in Chapter 95, HTSUSA, by application of GRI 3(b) are not subject to separate visa requirements or quota reatraint levels. See HRL 086297 issued January 26, 1990.

The applicable subheading for the badminton set, model no. 47092, will be 9506.59.4040, HTSUS, the provision for articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports or outdoor games***tennis, badminton or similar rackets, whether or not strung; parts and accessories thereof: other: badminton rackets and parts and accessories thereof, rackets and racket frames. The rate of duty will be 5.6 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 212.637.7015.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity

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