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HQ 964800

April 6, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 964800 JFS


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.4500

Ms. Pamela Pinter
Big Apple Customs Brokers, Inc.
151-02 132nd Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11434

RE: Revocation of NY E86010; Billiard Cue Carrying Case; Sports, Travel and Similar Bags.

Dear Ms. Pinter:

This letter is to inform you that Customs has reconsidered New York Ruling Letter (NY) E86010, issued to you on September 1, 1999, concerning the classification of a billiard cue case under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). After review of the ruling, it has been determined that the classification of the billiard cue case in subheading 4202.92.9060, HTSUSA, was incorrect. For the reasons that follow, this ruling revokes NY E86010.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1) Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)) as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-82, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186), notice of the proposed revocation of NY E86010 was published on February 28, 2001, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 35, Number 9. As explained in the notice, the period within which to submit comments on this proposal was until March 30, 2001. No comments were received in response to this notice.


In a letter dated August 17, 1999, you requested, on behalf of Regent Sports Corp., a tariff classification ruling for a pool cue case from Taiwan. In response to your request, the Director, Customs Material Commodity Specialist Division, New York, issued NY E86010, which classified the billiard cue case under subheading 4202.92.9060, HTSUSA, which provides for containers similar to those enumerated in heading 4202 and that have not already been provided for in the preceding subheadings.

The billiard cue case was described as:

A specially fitted case for pool cue sticks. The exterior surface is manufactured of imitation nylon PVC plastic. The interior is padded to protect the cue sticks during storage/travel. The case features a zippered top closure, a web adjustable shoulder strap and an exterior accessory pocket with a hook and loop fastener.


Whether the billiard cue case is classifiable as a travel, sports, or similar bag under subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA?


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 Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes (ENs), represent the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings) and facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. The Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Heading 9504, HTSUSA, provides for “[a]rticles for arcade, table or parlor games, including pinball machines, bagatelle, billiards and special tables for casino games; automatic bowling alley equipment; parts and accessories thereof[.]” Subheading 9504.20, HTSUSA, encompasses, “[a]rticles, parts and accessories for billiards[.]” Without examining any other chapters or headings in the tariff, it would appear that the subject billiard cue case should be classified in subheading 9504.20, HTSUSA, as an accessory for billiards. However, Legal Note 1(d) to Chapter 95 provides that the “chapter does not cover . . . sports bags or other containers of heading 4202.” Accordingly, it must be determined if the billiard cue case is a sports bag or “other container” under heading 4202, HTSUSA. If so, it is not classifiable in Chapter 95, HTSUSA.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides the following:

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 plain language of heading 4202, HTSUSA, includes similar containers. Moreover, the EN to heading 4202, HTSUSA, state that “the heading covers only the articles specifically named . . . and similar containers.” Under the rule of ejusdem generis, where an enumeration of specific things is followed by a general word or phrase, the general word or phrase is held to refer to things of the same kind as those specified. With respect to the broad reach of the residual provision for “similar containers” in heading 4202, HTSUSA, the courts have found that the rule of ejusdem generis requires that the imported merchandise possess the essential characteristics or purpose that unite the articles enumerated in order to be classified under the general term. Totes, Inc. v. United States, 18 Ct. Int’l Trade 919, 865 F. Supp. 867, 871 (1994), aff’d, 69 F.3d 495 (1995). In Totes, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the Court of International Trade’s determination that the “essential characteristics and purpose of heading 4202 exemplars are. . . to organize, store, protect and carry various items.” The instant billiard cue case has the same essential characteristics, i.e., to organize, store, protect and carry items, as the containers listed in heading 4202, HTSUSA. Accordingly, applying the rationale set forth in Totes, the billiard cue case comes under the “similar container” language of heading 4202, HTSUSA.

The classification of the billiard cue case as a “similar” container under heading 4202, HTSUSA, is consistent with the following rulings: HQ 951084, dated March 9, 1993 (holding that a full length tennis racket cover designed to carry more than one racket as well as other items is properly classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUSA); HQ 085376, dated May 1, 1990 (ruling that a nylon bag designed for carrying a croquet set is classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, unless the bag was a component of a set, in which case it is classifiable under Chapter 95); and HQ 085918, dated March 2, 1990, (classifying a surf board bag with nylon webbing shoulder straps and handles in heading 4202, HTSUSA, because it is similar to the exemplars set forth in the EN to heading 4202, HTSUSA, and because it is designed to carry a personal effect, i.e., a surf board).

In contrast to the above listed rulings, in HQ 084694, dated August 29, 1989, Customs classified a tennis racket cover in subheading 9506.51.6000, HTSUSA, as an accessory to lawn-tennis rackets. Customs subsequently narrowed and distinguished this ruling in HQ 086567, dated May 14, 1990. The tennis racket case under consideration in the subsequent ruling, HQ 086567, was a fitted cover, designed to carry two rackets. It also had a pocket to hold balls and other small items. Customs ruled that the subsequent racket cover was a sports bag under heading 4202, HTSUSA, because (1) it was not designed for a particular racket, and (2) it had the capacity to carry small items other than the racket. Like the tennis racket cover in HQ 086567, the billiard cue case (1) is not uniquely designed to hold or cover a particular billiard cue, and (2) has a pouch that enables it to hold small items such as cue tips, chalk, resin, and gloves.

Subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA, provides for articles not already provided for in the previous subheadings, that have an outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials. Subheadings 4202.92.15, HTSUSA, through 4202.92.45, HTSUSA, provide for travel, sports and similar bags. Subheadings 4202.92.60, HTSUSA, through 4202.92.90, HTSUSA, are residual provisions and provide for “other” containers. “Sports bags” more accurately describes the billiard cue case under consideration than does “other” containers. Accordingly, the billiard cue case is classifiable under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA, as a sports bag with an outer surface of sheeting of plastic.

Moreover, the EN to heading 4202, HTSUSA, state that “sports bags” includes articles such as golf bags, gym bags, tennis racket carrying bags, ski bags and fishing bags. Accordingly, Customs has classified bags and containers that are designed to carry a particular kind of sporting good as “sports bags.” See HQ 953747, dated June 10, 1993 (a sailboard mast carrying bag with woven straps is properly classifiable as a sports bag); HQ 086896, dated June 25, 1990 (ruling that a surfboard carrying bag with shoulder straps is properly classifiable as a sports bag, as opposed to Chapter 95, because it is similar in function to a ski and golf bag); HQ 087294, dated October 5, 1990 (holding that a full length tennis racket cover with a strap, and imported separately from the racket, is classifiable as a sports bag); and HQ 084684, dated July 21, 1989 (ruling that a player bag with two woven straps designed to carry softball bats, shoes, gloves and uniforms was sufficiently similar to the bags described in the EN to 4202, HTSUSA, to be considered a “sports bag”). See also, HQ 951084, HQ 085376, and HQ 085918, supra. Like the items listed above, the billiard cue case is a “sports bag,” and is classifiable as such.

The billiard cue case is properly classifiable under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA. For a similar ruling, see HQs 961835 and 964800 of this date.


The billiard cue case is properly classifiable under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA, which provides for “Trunks, suitcasessports bagsand similar containers: Other: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Travel, sports and similar bags: Other.” The general column one rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) or 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.


NY E86010, dated September 1, 1999, is hereby REVOKED. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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