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NY J88203

September 19, 2003

CLA-2-62:RR:NC:TA:357 J88203


TARIFF NO.: 6210.50.5055

Ms. Karen Fitzgerald
Itfitz, Inc.
4180 S. Moorland
Santa Rosa, CA 95407

RE: The tariff classification of a combination backpack and vest from Hong Kong

Dear Ms. Fitzgerald:

In your letter dated August 13, 2003, you requested a classification ruling. A sample was submitted and is being returned as you requested.

The item in question, “The Ultimate Pack™,” is a combination backpack and vest permanently joined by sewing and made from a heavyweight textured woven nylon fabric with a PVC backing. The pack has two main zippered pockets, several smaller pockets, various adjustable straps, a lumbar support pad with a waist belt and padded shoulder straps. The vest portion has a heavy duty front zipper closure, a zippered patch pocket on the right chest, a tab with D-ring on the left chest, two pleated, bellows pockets with flaps in the waist area and two inner pockets.

According to information you submitted this product is designed to provide a means of balancing heavy loads, primarily among students, thereby lessening back strain and injuries. Key features include the padded lumbar support, the interior design of the main storage compartment (which is said to distribute loads more evenly) and the lower pockets on the vest, which are described as working, when loaded, to counterbalance the weight carried on the back.

In your letter you suggested that this combination article be classified as a backpack, based on its utilitarian function. Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’s). In evaluating articles having multiple components or functions the GRI’s direct us to classify according to the component or material that provides the essential character to the whole and, failing that, in the provision that occurs last in the tariff among those that equally merit consideration.

In this case both the backpack and the vest contribute significantly to the combination article. The vest portion is substantial in material, construction and features and, as indicated in your written materials, its pockets act to counterbalance the weight of items stored in the back. Consequently, it is our opinion that neither the backpack nor the vest portion imparts the essential character to the whole. Following GRI 3(c) the Ultimate Pack™ is classifiable in the competing heading which occurs last, namely, that for vests.

The applicable subheading for the backpack/vest will be 6210.50.5055, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other women’s or girls’ garments made up of fabrics of heading 5602, 5603, 5903, 5906 or 5907. The duty rate will be 7.2 percent ad valorem.

Classification in the above subheading is based on the fabric swatch accompanying the sample, which you stated will be used in production. Please note that any change in the plastic coated piece goods used to produce this item could result in a change in its classification.

The Ultimate Pack™ falls within textile category designation 659. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of Hong Kong are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories and their quota and visa status are the result of international agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, which is available at our Web site at www.cbp.gov. In addition, the designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected and should also be verified at the time of shipment.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist William Raftery at 646-733-3047.


Robert B. Swierupski

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