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 > 2002 HQ Rulings > HQ 965030 - HQ 965123 > HQ 965065

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 965065

August 31, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965065 BAS


TARIFF NO.: 6304.92.0000

Robert Glover
Vice President-Import
L.E. Coppersmith Inc.
2041 Rosecrans Avenue, Third Floor
El Segundo, CA 90245

RE: Classification of a slipcover

Dear Mr. Glover:

This is in reply to your letter, dated April 26, 2001, on behalf of Classic Slipcovers, requesting a ruling concerning the classification of a fabric slipcover. You contend that the fabric slipcover is properly classifiable in subheading 9401.90.5000, of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA) which provides for parts of seats. You submitted a sample of the slipcover to assist us in our determination.


The merchandise under consideration is a semi-fitted slipcover for a sofa. It is composed of 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester jacquard woven fabric. The slipcover has partially shaped arms and a partially shaped back. There are self-fabric ties at the four corners to adjust the fit.


Whether the slipcovers are properly classifiable in heading 6304, HTSUSA, as other furnishing articles or under heading 9401, HTSUSA, as parts of seats?


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 GRIs may then be applied.

The slipcovers are potentially classifiable in two HTSUSA headings. One possible heading is heading 9401, HTSUSA, as parts of seats. The other potentially applicable heading is 6304, HTSUSA, as other furnishing articles.

When interpreting and implementing the HTSUS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, while neither legally binding nor dispositive, provide a guiding commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Heading 9401 includes “Seats (other than those of heading 9402), whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof:” The ENs to heading 9401 state that the heading covers inter alia couches, settees, sofas, ottomans and the like. Concerning parts, the ENs state that the heading also covers identifiable parts of chairs or other seats, such as backs, bottoms and arm-rests (whether or not upholstered with straw or cane, stuffed, or sprung) and spiral springs assembled for seat upholstery. Backs, bottoms, arm-rests and spiral springs are all components of the seats themselves. The slipcover, in the instant case, is not a component of a chair or seat but rather a decorative addition or an item used to protect a sofa. The exemplars listed in the ENs to heading 9401 are united by the fact that they are essential parts of seats as opposed to serving a primarily decorative function, like the subject merchandise. The sofa slipcover, then, is not “ejusdem generis” or “of the same kind” of merchandise as the exemplars listed in the ENs to 9401. Accordingly, the slipcover is not properly classifiable under heading 9401, as a part of a seat.

Notably, where a sofa slipcover has been cut to size to fit a sofa frame that would be an unfinished product but for the slipcover, this office has classified the merchandise in heading 9401, HTSUSA, as part of a seat. See HQ 960195, dated August 13, 1997. As pointed out in that decision, where a slipcover is placed over a finished sofa, providing protection against wear and tear, the slipcover is not considered to be part of the sofa per se. [Emphasis added]. See HQ 960195, dated August 13, 1997. Accordingly the slipcover in the instant case would not be considered a part of the sofa.

You contend that, following the rationale in Bauerhin Technologies Limited Partnership v. U.S., 110 F.3d 774, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 6214, (CAFC 1997), the subject merchandise is classifiable in subheading 9401.90.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for parts of seats. In Bauerhin, the Court addressed the issue of whether or not a canopy designed to fit over a child automobile safety seat which was imported separately and sold as part of the seat to which it was attached was “part” of the child safety seat for classification purposes. The Bauerhin Court reasoned that because the carseat canopy was dedicated for use with a carseat, it was properly considered a “part” under the HTSUSA.

In Bauerhin, the canopies that were classified as parts of car seats were specially designed to fit over child automobile safety seats. [Emphasis added]. Although the canopies were imported separately from the seats with which they were to be used, they were sold as parts of the seats to which they attached. In contrast, the slipcovers in the instant case are not sold as parts of the couches to which they attach. The slipcover is sold separate from the couches as an accessory item usable with various couches. While the canopy was designed to fit a particular car seat, the slipcover could be used with many couches. Thus, we do not the find the argument that the Bauerhin rationale extends to the instant merchandise persuasive.

Having excluded classification under heading 9401, a determination must be made as to whether the subject merchandise is classifiable under heading 6304 as an other furnishing article.

Heading 6304 provides for “Other furnishing articles excluding those of heading 9404.” The ENs to heading 6304 state that the heading specifically includes inter alia “loose covers for furniture.”

The slipcover in the present case is semi-fitted having ties to adjust its fit to the particular sofa. The ties allow the cover to loosely drape over the sofa. The slipcover, then, is a loose cover for furniture, and is therefore properly classifiable in heading 6304.

This holding is consistent with other Customs rulings in which slipcovers have been classified under heading 6304, HTSUSA. See HQ 084323, dated July 20, 1989; NY B84450, dated May 12, 1997. The holding is also consistent with other rulings in which other covers for seats have been classified under heading 6304, HTUSA. See HQ 951528, August 14, 1992 (ruling that a cushion cover for an infant carseat is classified in heading 6304); See HQ 085885, January 23, 1990 (ruling that infants car seat covers are more specifically provided for as “like” furniture slipcovers than as parts of cushions and are therefore properly classified in heading 6304, HTSUSA).

Having established that the proper heading for the slipcover is heading 6304, HTSUSA, classification must then be made at the appropriate subheading level. Note 2(A) to Section XI of the HTSUSA provides in pertinent part that, “Goods classifiable in Chapters 50 to 55 or in heading No. 5809 or 5902 and of a mixture of two or more textile materials are to be classified as if consisting wholly of that one textile material which predominates by weight over each other single textile material.” Subheading Note 2(A) to Section XI states that “Products of Chapters 56 to 63 containing two or more textile materials are to be regarded as consisting wholly of that textile material which would be selected under note 2 to this section for the classification of a product of Chapters 50 to 55 consisting of the same textile materials.” Accordingly, because the slipcover is composed of 60% cotton, it is properly classifiable under subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for “Other furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404: Other: Not knitted or crocheted, of cotton.”


The semi-fitted slipcover composed of 60% cotton and 40% polyester is properly classified in subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA which provides for “Other furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404: Other: Not knitted or crocheted, of cotton.” The general column one rate of duty is 6.6 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category applicable to this provision is 369.

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 your client check, close to the time of shipment, the Status on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at the 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, your client should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: