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HQ 964036

March 16, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 964036 RH


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.3031

Mr. Gary A. Ryan
Airport Brokers Corporation
P.O. Box 68668
Seattle, Washington 98168

RE: Request for reconsideration of PD 89461; Sports bag; heading 4202;

Dear Mr. Ryan:

This is in reply to your letter of April 7, 1999, on behalf of Neus Trading, Inc., requesting reconsideration of Port Decision (PD) 89461, dated March 26, 1999, concerning the classification of a sports bag from China.


The sports bag in question has two handles with a removable adjustable strap. A logo "NEUSPORTS" appears on the front and sides of the bag. The bag measures approximately 12 inches in width and is 23 inches long. It has a front zippered pocket along the width of the bag and a top zipper for closure.

In PD 89461, Customs held that the sports bag had an outer surface of textile man-made fibers with a PVC backing and, thus, classified the bag under subheading 4202.92.3031 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).

You state that the bag is made of molded plastic to make the exterior look like it is made of textile material, and that it should be classified under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA.


Is the sports bag classifiable under subheading 4202.92.3031, HTSUSA, or under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in their appropriate order. Sports bags are specifically listed in the second part of heading 4202. That heading provides for:

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of sheeting of plastics, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper.

The Explanatory Notes to heading 4202, HTSUSA, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, state that articles covered by the second part of the heading must be only “of” the materials specified therein or must be “wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper.” Since the sports bag is either made of plastic or textile material it meets the criteria for classification within heading 4202.

The next issue concerns the subheading under which to classify the sports bag. At the six-digit level, the nomenclature classifies the majority of goods in Chapter 42 by the material that comprises the “outer surface.” HQ 954021, dated November 1, 1993, citing HQ 087760, dated October 31, 1991, and HQ 087640, dated November 8, 1990. The term “outer surface of” is not defined in Chapter 42, or anywhere else in the HTSUSA. In HQ 086775, dated July 9, 1990,

Customs stated that the outer surface “is that which is both visible and tactile.” See 954021 and the cases cited therein. “Tactile” is defined as follows: “1. Perceptible to the touch: TANGIBLE.” “Tangible” is defined as follows: “1a. Discernible by the touch or capable of being touched.” Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary, (1984) at 1178 and 1182, respectively.

Moreover, Additional U.S. Note 2 of Chapter 42 is instructive in understanding the meaning of “outer surface of” when applied to composite goods. Additional U.S. Note 2 of Chapter 42 reads:

For purposes of classifying articles under subheadings 4202.12, 4202.22, 4202.32 and 4202.92, articles of textile fabric impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics (whether compact or cellular) shall be regarded as having an outer surface of textile material or of plastic sheeting, depending upon whether and the extent to which the textile constituent or the plastic constituent makes up the exterior surface of the article.

In this case, after issuance of PD 89461 Customs tested a sample of the sport bag’s material from an entry in May 1999. Laboratory report number 2-19990-10858 concerning that merchandise, reads:

The sample, a swatch of blue material is marked “exterior” on one surface and “backing” on the other surface. The surface marked "exterior" is composed of woven fabric wholly of filament nylon yarns. The surface marked “backing” is composed of polyvinyl chloride type plastics material. The sample weighs 407 grams per square meter and has the following composition by weight:

PVC Plastic 73.0
Woven Nylon Fabric 27.0

It is well settled that the methods of weighing, measuring, and testing merchandise used by customs officers and the results obtained are presumed to be correct. United States v. Gage Bros., 1 Ct. Cust. Appls. 439, T.D. 31503; Draper & Co., Inc. v. United States, 28 Cust. Ct. 136, C.D. 1400. However, this presumption may be rebutted by showing that such methods or results are erroneous. Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. United States, 3 Ct. Cust. Appls. 447, T.D. 33035; Gertzen & Co. v. United States, 12 Ct. Cust. Appls. 499, T.D. 40697; Pastene & Co., Inc. v. United States, 34 Cust. Ct. 52, C.D. 1677.

You state that the material component breakdown of the bag is as follows:

Polymer: 35%
PU Plastic: 40%
IC Plastic: 10%
Coloring Material: 5%.

However, you have not submitted any evidence to contradict Customs laboratory findings or to show that its test method was erroneous. Accordingly, we find that the outer surface of the sports bag is composed of man-made textile materials, and that it was correctly classified in PD 89461, under subheading 4202.92.3031, HTSUSA.


PD 89461 is AFFIRMED. The sports bag is classifiable under subheading 4202.92.3031, HTSUSA, which encompasses sports bags with an other surface of textile fabrics of man-made fibers. It is currently dutiable at the general column one rate at 18.8 percent ad valorem and the textile category is 670.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 the importer 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 updated weekly and 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, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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