United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2001 HQ Rulings > HQ 963221 - HQ 963685 > HQ 963284

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 963284

June 12, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963284 JGB


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.6080

Mr. Byron Brown
Lifetime Products, Inc.
P.O. Box 160010
Freeport Center, Bldg. D-11
Clearfield, UT 84016-0010

RE: Reconsideration of NY E86809; Shoot Case™ Portable Basketball System, Model #9200.

Dear Mr. Brown:

This is in response to your letter of September 11, 2000, on behalf of Lifetime Products, in which you request reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) E86809, issued September 13, 1999, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of the Shoot Case™ Portable Basketball System, Model #9200.

You contend that the article is classifiable as a toy in heading 9503, HTSUS. We regret the delay in responding to your letter.


NY E86809 classified the Shoot Case™ Portable Basketball System as athletic equipment in subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUS, under the provision for "Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table-tennis) or outdoor games, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; . . . ; parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other: Other, Other."

The product is approximately six feet tall when assembled, weighs 35 pounds, the base is blow-molded plastic, the pole is cold rolled steel, and the back board is injection molded plastic. The hoop height can be adjusted from approximately 3 feet to 5 feet by raising or lowering the backboard. The system is anchored by filling the base enclosure with water. The article is portable so that it can be disassembled and packed in its own case for storage and travel. A seven-inch diameter basketball is offered as an accessory to the system. It is designed for indoor/outdoor use primarily by children.


Whether the Shoot Case™ Portable Basketball System, Model #9200, is a toy or athletic equipment. .

Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined 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 GRI may then 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.

Heading 9503, HTSUS, provides, in pertinent part, for "Other toys." The ENs to chapter 95, HTSUS, indicate that "this chapter covers toys of all kinds whether designed for the amusement of children or adults." It is Customs position that a toy is essentially a plaything, something that is intended and designed for the amusement of children or adults, and which by its very nature and character is reasonably fitted for no other purpose. Customs views the "amusement" requirement as indicating that toys should be designed and used principally for amusement and that they not serve a utilitarian purpose. The ENs to heading 9503 indicate that certain toys (e.g., electric irons, sewing machines, musical instrument, etc) may be capable of a limited "use," but they are generally distinguishable by their size and limited capacity from real sewing machines, etc.

Heading 9506, HTSUS, provides, in pertinent part, for articles and equipment for athletics, other sports or outdoor games. The ENs to heading 9506 indicate that the heading covers basketballs, basketball nets, and other articles and equipment designed for use in the play of games and sports.

Customs has ruled that a "Mini-Court" miniature basketball game, a scaled version of standard basketball equipment consisting of a metal basketball hoop with net attached to a wooden backboard supported by a two-part metal tubular post approximately six feet tall, could function as a recreational article and provide physical activity especially for children. It was not so flimsily constructed as to be an article for amusement, eligible for classification as a toy. HQ 950758, dated January 3, 1992. This provides just one example of the physical recreation product that would be classified in the sports equipment provisions of heading 9506. The product need not be regulation or "official" size to be considered sports equipment, provided that it is sufficiently sturdy and challenging to qualify as a "junior edition" of more expensive, larger portable basketball systems. Customs follows the decision of the Customs Court in New York Merchandise Co. v. United States, 62 Cust. Ct. 38, C.D. 3671 (1969) which supports the principle that a junior edition of a larger, more expensive article will be classified under the provision of the more expensive article if the cheaper, smaller article performs the same function on a smaller scale. Therefore, sports equipment reduced in size and material quality for use by children will nevertheless be classified in heading 9506, HTSUS, as long as the equipment is of a character suitable for use in the serious organized play or practice of games or sports or athletic recreation.

You argue that the article should be considered a toy because it is marketed in stores that sell toys and is in competition with articles produced by toy companies, such as Fisher-Price and LittleTykes. We would note that well-known toy stores such as Toys R Us sell toys, sporting and recreational equipment, and other things directed at a young consumer, but the appearance of the product in a toy store does not automatically make it a toy, for tariff purposes.

Based on the information available and an examination of the sample, we have concluded that the portable basketball system falls within the category of recreational article and "junior edition" and is suitable for use by young beginners in the skill improvement and practice of basketball. Copyrighted information appearing on Lifetime's website indicates that the articles "is modeled after a fill-size system" and "has the features of a full-size system, including a breakaway rim and powder-coated poles, making it more realistic for kids." The article appears to be quite sturdy and capable of vigorous use in the context of a portable article designed for small children. It is not a toy in the role playing sense that the user can appear to be like a basketball star. It is designed to provide a very young person the chance for both physical recreation and the development of athletic coordination associated with the standard game of basketball. Therefore, it is classifiable in subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUS.


NY E86809 is AFFIRMED.

John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: