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HQ 965717

August 30, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965717 mbg


TARIFF NO.: 4202.12.2020

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
1901 Cross Beam Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 1512-02-100049; classification of molded plastic motorcycle cases

Dear Port Director:

This is a decision on an application for further review of a protest timely filed by Central Carolina Shipping, Inc. on behalf of Givi USA Inc. of Charlotte, North Carolina. A representative for Protestant filed Customs Form 19 (“PROTEST”), dated March 4, 2002, against your decision regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (“HTSUSA”) for molded plastic motorcycle cases. Upon review by the Office of Regulations & Rulings, this protest is hereby denied for the reasons set forth herein.


The merchandise which is the subject of this protest consists of various styles of storage units for use on motorcycles. All of the storage cases are manufactured of hard molded plastic by GIVI, Inc. of Italy. Information provided on the company’s website provides that all of the cases are equipped with a unique “monokey” locking device and mounting system. All of the molded plastic cases can be adapted to any motorcycle using the applicable mounting kit and the advertisements promote the mobility associated with this unique product which can be easily removed from the mounts with one key which also opens the lock on the case itself.


What is the proper classification of the subject merchandise under the HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the 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 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 Harmonized System at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN when interpreting the HTSUSA.

Protestant proposes subheading 8714.19.0060, HTSUSA, which provides for inter alia parts and accessories of motorcycles, as an alternative classification for the subject merchandise. The exemplars in the EN to heading 8714 includes auto parts and accessories such as inter alia wheel rims, spokes, saddles, pedals, brakes, etcetera.

General Note III to Section XVII of the Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA provides:

It should, however, be noted that these headings [of Section XVII] apply only to those parts or accessories which comply with all three of the following conditions :

(a)They must not be excluded by the terms of Note 2 to this Section (see paragraph (A) below).
and (b)They must be suitable for use solely or principally with the articles of Chapters 86 to 88 (see paragraph (B) below).
and (c)They must not be more specifically included elsewhere in the Nomenclature (see paragraph (C) below).

Paragraph C to this General Section Note further states:

Parts and accessories, even if identifiable as for the articles of this Section, are excluded if they are covered more specifically by another heading elsewhere in the Nomenclature, e.g. :

(4)Tool bags of leather or of composition leather, of vulcanised fibre, etc. (heading 42.02).

(emphasis added.)

The EN for heading 8714 state in pertinent part:

This heading covers parts and accessories of a kind used with motorcycles (including mopeds), cycles fitted with an auxiliary motor, side cars, non-motorised cycles, or carriages for disabled persons, provided the parts and accessories fulfil both the following conditions:

(i) They must be identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the above-mentioned vehicles;
and (ii) They must not be excluded by the provisions of the Notes to Section XVII [cited supra].

Parts and accessories of this heading include:

(23) Luggage racks; lamp brackets; water-bottle brackets.

However, the term "accessory" is not defined in either the tariff schedule or the ENs. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HQ”) 950525, dated February 7, 1992, Customs stated:

A part is generally an article which is an integral, constituent or component part, without which the article to which it is joined could not function. An accessory is generally a nonessential but useful item that has a supplementary function to that of the larger article to which the accessory is attached. An accessory must be identifiable as being intended solely or principally for use with a specific article. Accessories are of secondary or subordinate importance, not essential in and of themselves. In addition, they generally contribute to the effectiveness of the principal article (e.g., facilitate the use or handling of the principal article, widen the range of its uses, or improve its operation.) See, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088579, dated May 23, 1991 and HRL 087704, dated September 27, 1990.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, eo nomine provides for trunks and suitcases as well as similar articles.

The EN to heading 4202, HTSUSA, state, in pertinent part:

This heading covers only the articles specifically named therein and similar containers. These containers may be rigid or with a rigid foundation, or soft and without foundation. . . . [T]he articles of the first part of the heading may be of any material.

Customs disagrees with Protestant’s claim that the subject merchandise is more properly classifiable in heading 8714, HTSUSA, as an accessory for motorcycles. Although the molded plastic cargo carriers may be used as accessories for motorcycles, Customs finds that the subject merchandise is more specifically provided for in heading 4202, HTSUSA. Customs finds that the subject merchandise is properly classified in heading 4202 as an article similar to luggage. The merchandise is designed to provide motorcyclists with the ability to have a case which will provide for the storage of helmets or other equipment and goods and yet can be easily mobile when necessary. The merchandise is similar to those goods which are specifically provided for within heading 4202, HTSUSA. This classification is consistent with other decisions in which Customs has previously found similar merchandise for motorcycles to be more specifically provided for in heading 4202, HTSUSA, see e.g. HQ 956047, dated March 21, 1994, and NY 802354, dated September 28, 1994.

The Court of International Trade considered a similar classification dispute involving an automotive trunk organizer and whether such merchandise was properly classified in heading 4202, HTSUSA, or heading 8708, HTSUSA, as an accessory to an automobile. In Totes, Inc. v. United States, 18 C.I.T. 919, 865 F. Supp. 867 (1994), the court stated:

[T]he express exclusion from parts and accessories of motor vehicles of articles covered more specifically by another heading elsewhere in the Nomenclature, e.g., tool bags, see General Headnote 111(c), Section XVII of the Explanatory Notes to HTS, demonstrates intent to also exclude from parts and accessories of motor vehicles containers similar to tool bags. Such intent is buttressed by prefacing the excluded list of articles (which includes tool bags), with e.g., which means that tool bags are listed as only an example of the type of container that might be used in connection with a motor vehicle that must be regarded as more specifically provided for under Heading 4202. A fortiori, containers similar to tool bags are intended to be excluded from parts and accessories covered more specifically in the Nomenclature.

Totes, at 928.

The Totes court further concluded that the “essential characteristics and purpose of Heading 4202 exemplars are. . . to organize, store, protect and carry various items.” Id. at 872. The C.I.T. also ruled that by virtue of ejusdem generis the residual provision for “similar containers” in heading 4202, HTSUS, is to be broadly construed. Heading 4202, HTSUS, in general, provides for containers used to convey personal articles; these “containers” can be anything designed to transport the assorted personal belongings of an individual. Id.

In applying the rule of ejusdem generis to determine whether an item is embraced within a particular class, the courts have looked to the articles enumerated within that class to ascertain the characteristics they have in common. Kotake Co., Ltd. v. United States, 58 Cust. Ct. 196, C.D. 2934 (1967). The molded plastic motorcycle cases are designed and used to provide storage, protection, organization and portability. The motorcycle cases are containers which are placed on the top of the luggage rack of a motorcycle for added storage while traveling. The molded plastic cases are designed for security and weather resistance and the overall shape serves to provide protection to the items stored within. It is more specifically classified in heading 4202, HTSUS, than in a less specific provision for motorcycle parts and accessories. Application of Totes and the EN for heading 4202 to the subject merchandise supports the classification therein. Furthermore, predicated on ejusdem generis, Customs finds that the molded plastic motorcycle cases are more specifically classifiable under the provisions for the trunks, suitcases and similar containers in Heading 4202 even if they are fitted for motorcycles as accessories within the purview of Heading 8714. This classification is consistent with previous Customs decisions involving similar merchandise, see e.g., NY A84170, dated June 6, 1996; NY A83233, dated May 13, 1996; HQ 964311, dated February 26, 2001; HQ 964859, dated May 15, 2001; and HQ 964871, dated March 9, 2001.


The PROTEST IS DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

The subject molded plastic motorcycle case is properly classified in subheading 4202.12.2020, HTSUSA, as “Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attaché cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; travelling bags, insulated food or beverage 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: Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels and similar containers: With outer surface of plastics or of textile materials: With outer surface of plastics: Structured, rigid on all sides: Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases and similar containers.” The general column one rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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