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 963567

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 963567





September 18, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963567 GGD

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.3031

Mr. Robert J. Schott
AirSchott, Incorporated
Post Office Box 17373
Washington, D.C. 20041-0373

RE: Reconsideration of NY E80038; Novelty Waist Bags and Connecting Strap; One Composite Good and One Bag Put Up Together; Not Composite Good; Not Goods Put Up in Sets

Dear Mr. Schott:

This is in response to your request dated June 15, 1999, on behalf of your client, Duet, Incorporated, for reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) E80038, dated April 13, 1999, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of merchandise consisting of two novelty waist bags, the larger one of which features a retractable textile line or strap. The articles are made in China. A sample pair of bags has been submitted with your request.

FACTS:

In NY E80038, the merchandise, identified as the "O' Pair" was classified in the provision found applicable to each of the waist bags, i.e., subheading 4202.92.3031, HTSUSA, textile category 670, which provides for “Trunks...traveling bags...: Other: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Travel, sports and similar bags: With outer surface of textile materials: Other, Other: Of man-made fibers: Other." The goods were described in the ruling as a pair of independent, novelty waist bags, composed of 100 percent plush acrylic textile materials and made to simulate the
face of a pig. Each bag had a permanently attached, adjustable waist strap of nylon webbing with a plastic tuck lock buckle. The bags were said to be primarily designed for the transport of personal effects, but the larger bag featured a retractable line which, when pulled out from the bag (intended to be worn by a parent) and connected to a "D" ring on the smaller bag (intended to be worn by a child), served to keep a child from wandering away in a crowded mall, airport, etc. The sample currently available consists of a pair of bags of different sizes. Each resembles the plush face of a tiger, with ears, whiskers, blue hair, etc. Each is otherwise similar in all material respects to its counterpart bag subject to NY E80038. The larger bag's textile line or strap measures approximately six feet in length and has a metal spring hook at the free end.

ISSUE:

Whether the bags identified as "O' Pair" are classified as a composite good, as goods put up in a set, or whether they are separately classified.

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). 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 (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

A determination as to whether multiple component merchandise constitutes a "composite good" or a "set" is aided by an examination of how the GRI distinguish between the two tariff terms. The merchandise at issue here cannot be classified solely by reference to GRI 1. One of the components essentially consists only of a small plush waist bag and it is classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA. The larger waist bag, however, incorporates a retractable line consisting of a textile strap with a hook. The strap component is similar to a tether or leash. Individually, it is not classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA. Such articles that are designed and intended to restrain pets are classifiable under heading 4201, HTSUSA, which among other items, covers animal harness, including traces and leads of any material. Articles similarly serving to limit the roaming of children are classifiable under heading 6307, HTSUSA,
which covers "Other made up articles, including dress patterns." We therefore continue classification analysis of the multi-component larger waist bag, then both bags, using the remaining applicable GRI. In pertinent part, GRI 2(b) states:

The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

GRI 3(a) directs that the headings are regarded as equally specific when they each refer to part only of the materials contained in composite goods, or of the items in a set put up for retail sale. Since each of the headings refers to part only of the materials or items, however, GRI 3(a) requires that the headings be regarded as equally specific despite any disparity in their texts. For this reason, we next look to GRI 3(b).

GRI 3(b) states, in part, that:

...composite goods...made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, 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, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

As with GRI 3(a) above, the applicability of GRI 3(b) is somewhat dependent upon whether the complete article is deemed to comprise a composite good or a set. Explanatory Note IX to GRI 3(b) states 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.

Examples of the latter category of goods are:

(1) Ashtrays consisting of a stand incorporating a removable ash bowl.

(2) Household spice racks consisting of a specially designed frame (usually of wood) and an appropriate number of empty spice jars of suitable shape and size.

As a general rule, the components of these composite goods are put up in a common packing.

As components which form a practically inseparable whole, the larger waist bag and retractable strap are not examples of "the latter category of goods" discussed immediately above. Even if it were practical to separate the bag and strap, however, the components are adapted to each other. The bag and its wearer restrain whomever wears the smaller bag that is tethered to the other end of the strap. When the strap is not in use, it is wound onto a spring mechanism that is contained within the larger bag. Although most of the bag's interior compartment is intended for uses not related to the retractable strap (i.e., storing and carrying small personal items), the EN does not specifically state that each component must be adapted to the other in all respects.

Although the larger waist bag is the kind of novelty bag that is normally offered for sale separately, the strap component is somewhat flimsy and, if separated from the spring winding mechanism, it would lack a looped end to function as a hand-held leash or tether. We find that the leash component would not normally be offered for sale separately, and that the larger waist bag and retractable strap make up a composite good. (See also Headquarters Ruling Letters (HQ) 961820, dated June 18, 1999, HQ 960880, dated April 5, 1999, HQ 957674, dated October 25, 1995, HQ 954709, dated December 5, 1994, and HQ 089833, dated October 2, 1991.)

As previously noted, composite goods are classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The terms of competing subheadings 6307 and 4202, suggest that the term "traveling bags," an exemplar listed in heading 4202, more specifically describes the waist bag with retractable strap than the term "Other made up articles...." Regarding essential character analysis, Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, 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 goods.

The waist bag is the component of greatest bulk, weight, and value. Its ability to contain and carry personal effects, whether or not the retractable strap is in use, further indicates that the bag is the component which imparts the essential character of the larger waist bag. The larger waist bag is thus classified under heading 4202,
specifically in subheading 4202.92.3031, HTSUSA. The imported merchandise, however, consists of two separate waist bags, each of which is classifiable under the same tariff provision. When considered together, the two bags do not constitute a composite good because each component is of a kind that would normally be offered for sale in separate parts. (See HQ 958308, dated November 7, 1995, in which a novelty bag was classified in subheading 4202.92.3020, HTSUSA; and NY B88483, dated August 20, 1997, in which a "Dog Leash Bag" was classified in subheading 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA.)

With respect to whether the two bags put up together may be classified as a set, Explanatory Note X to GRI 3(b) provides, in pertinent part, the following guidance:

For 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 articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings. Therefore, for example, six fondue forks cannot be regarded as a set within the meaning of this Rule;

(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 (e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards).

Each of the bags is classifiable not only in the same heading, but also in the same subheading. As such, they are similar to the example of the six fondue forks provided in "(a)" above and cannot be regarded as a set. Since the bags are designed to both carry personal effects and join a young child to a parent they do not meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and fail to satisfy criterion "(b)." The two bags do not constitute "goods put up in sets for retail sale." Each bag is separately classified in subheading 4202.92.3031, HTSUSA.

HOLDING:

The merchandise identified as the "O' Pair" and consisting of two novelty waist bags is classified in the provision found applicable to each of the waist bags separately, that being, subheading 4202.92.3031, HTSUSA, textile category 670, which
provides for “Trunks...traveling bags...: Other: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Travel, sports and similar bags: With outer surface of textile materials: Other, Other: Of man-made fibers: Other." The general column one duty rate is 18.3 percent ad valorem.

NY E80038, dated April 13, 1999, is hereby affirmed.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: