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NY M83710

May 31, 2006

CLA-2-94:RR:NC:SP:233 M83710


TARIFF NO.: 9403.70.8010

Ms. Geri Davidson
The Container Store
500 Freeport Parkway
Coppell, TX 75019

RE: The tariff classification of a Storage Stool from China.

Dear Ms. Davidson:

In your undated letter received by us on May 22, 2006, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The submitted sample is identified as EVA Storage Stool, SKU #995391803. The item is a combination storage container and stool made of dense foam with a herringbone texture and suede-like finish. It measures 16” in height with the width and depth measuring 15” at the top and tapering to 12” at the bottom. The item features a lid that lifts off easily for access to the storage area and two cutout handles.

The Storage Stool is a combination article. It can be used in two disparate activities that are prima facie classifiable under two separate headings of the tariff. When used as a storage container the article is classifiable in heading 9403, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS); as a stool, the article is provided for in heading 9401, HTSUS. Since no single heading sufficiently describes the whole product in issue, classification cannot be determined by reference to GRI 1, HTSUS. GRI 3 applies when multifunctional goods are put up for sale collectively but are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings of the tariff. GRI 3(b) covers composite goods or goods put up in sets for retail sale and provides that composite goods made up of different components shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. In general, “essential character” has been construed to mean the attribute that strongly marks or serves to distinguish the article.

In this case, the essential character of the Storage Stool is not readily apparent. It is our belief that the essential character of the product is not distinguished by either the storage container component or by the stool feature; the two activities play a more or less equal role in relation to the concept and use of the combination article.

When the component which gives the product its essential character cannot be determined, classification is determined by way of GRI 3(c) which directs that when goods cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The heading which occurs last in numerical order of the two competing headings is 9403, HTSUS. Accordingly, the Storage Stool is classifiable in subheading 9403.70.8010, HTSUS, which provides for “Other furniture and parts thereof: Furniture of plastics: Other, Household.” The rate of duty will be Free.

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 Lawrence Mushinske at 646-733-3036.


Robert B. Swierupski

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