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NY M82074

April 26, 2006

CLA-2-63:RR:NC:2:224 M82074


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9889

Gail T. Cumins
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. 75 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: The tariff classification of a tackle vest.

Dear Ms. Cumins:

In your letter dated April 6, 2006, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Polo Ralph Lauren.

The tackle vest at issue is described as a product designed for fly fisherman to store and carry line fishing tackle such as fly lures, hooks and fishing line. The vest is constructed like a sash with one end draped across either shoulder and fastened around the waist to the other end. It features differently sized and shaped pockets with zippers and flaps for holding various tackle. A sample of the tackle vest will be returned at your request.

You state that this tackle vest facilitates the use of the fishing tackle of heading 9507, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), and believes, on this basis, that the article is properly an accessory to the tackle and that it should be classified in subheading 9507.90.80, HTSUS, the provision for “Fishing rods, fish hooks and other line fishing tackleOther: Other, including parts and accessories: Other, including parts and accessories.”

We do not agree with this conclusion. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (Customs) rulings have repeatedly noted that while the term “accessory” is not defined in either the HTSUS or the Explanatory Notes of the HTS, it is generally understood to mean an article which is not necessary to enable the goods with which they are used to fulfill their intended function. They are of secondary importance, but must, however, 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. We have also noted that dictionary definitions indicate that an ”accessory” must bear a direct relationship to the primary article that it accessorizes. In this case, under subheading 9507.90.80, HTSUS, the article must accessorize other fishing tackle, not the general activity of fly-fishing. However, the tackle vest lacks a direct relationship to the tackle. The vest does not directly act on the tackle at all. Unlike a tackle part or accessory, the vest does not directly affect the tackle’s operation. It does not contribute to the effectiveness of the tackle equipment by making the tackle items any better able to accomplish their task of attracting and catching fish. Based on the common meaning of “accessory” and the language of subheading 9507.90, HTSUS, we conclude the tackle vest is not a fishing tackle accessory.

You contend that the tackle vest is, alternatively, classifiable in heading 9506, HTSUS, which provides, inter alia, for articles and equipment for sports and outdoor games because it is used in the sport of fly-fishing.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTS and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. The ENs list numerous examples of the types of articles covered by heading 9506 at EN 95.06, 1592-93. As a general matter, the heading covers apparatus such as balance beams, vaulting horses and exercise devices, and equipment such as balls, bats, skis, skates, rackets and sports protective gear. Customs does not consider the tackle vest to be similar to the apparatus or equipment described in the EN. Accordingly, the merchandise is excluded from heading 9506.

In view of the foregoing, and in the absence of any more specific provision in the tariff, the applicable subheading for the fly-fishing vest will be 6307.90.9889, HTSUS, which provides for “other made up articles, other, other, other.” The column 1 general rate of duty will be 7 percent ad valorem.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

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 Tom McKenna at 646-733-3025.


Robert B. Swierupski

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