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HQ 965111

August 29, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965111 BAS


TARIFF NO.: 6304.92.0000

Susan Klingbeil
Customs Compliance Manager North America
496 W. Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

RE: Classification of semi-fitted slipcovers

Dear Ms. Klingbeil:

This is in reply to your letter, dated May 24, 2001, on behalf of IKEA, requesting a ruling concerning the classification of Arboga slipcovers, article numbers 30024467, 70024856, and 90024855, for an armchair, two seat sofa and triple seat sofa respectively. You submitted a sample of article number 90024855 to assist us in our determination.


The merchandise under consideration are semi-fitted slipcovers for an armchair, a two seat sofa and a three seat sofa. The slipcovers are composed of 100 percent cotton woven fabric. The slipcovers have partially shaped arms and a partially shaped back. There are several self-fabric ties to adjust the fit. The slipcovers are designed to be used with a variety of sofas or chairs; they are not specially fitted for particular sofas or chairs.


Whether the slipcovers are properly classifiable in heading 6304, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (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 slipcovers, in the instant case, are not components of chairs or seats but rather decorative additions or items 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 slipcovers, then, are not “ejusdem generis” or “of the same kind” of merchandise as the exemplars listed in the ENs to 9401. Accordingly, the slipcovers are not properly classifiable under heading 9401, as parts of seats.

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 slipcovers in the instant case would not be considered as parts of sofas or chairs.

In Bauerhin Technologies Limited Partnership v. U.S., 110 F.3d 774, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 6214, (CAFC 1997), 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 a “part” of the child safety seat for classification purposes. The Court held that because the canopy was dedicated for use with the car seat it was properly considered a “part” under the HTSUSA and therefore classifiable in subheading 9403.90.8080, HTSUSA, which provides for other furniture and parts thereof: parts; other: other, other.

Notably, 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 were attached. In contrast, the slipcovers in the instant case are not sold as parts of the couches to which they attach. The slipcovers are sold separate from the couches as accessory items to be used with various couches. While the canopy was designed to fit a particular car seat, the slipcovers can be used with many couches. Thus, we do not 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 slipcovers in the present case are semi-fitted having ties to adjust the fit to a particular sofa. The ties allow the covers to loosely drape over the sofa. The slipcovers, then, are loose covers for furniture, and are 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 slipcovers is heading 6304 HTSUSA, classification must then be made at the appropriate subheading level. Because the slipcovers at issue are composed of 100% cotton, they are properly classifiable under subheading 6304.92.0000 which provides for “Other furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404: Other: Not knitted or crocheted, of cotton.”


The semi-fitted slipcovers composed of 100% cotton are 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 you 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 company 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

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