CLA-2; CO:R:C:T 953458 ch

Norman Katz, Esquire
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10016

RE: Classification of soft-sided cooler bag; chief use; food and beverages are personal effects; travel, sports and similar bags; Sports Graphics.

Dear Mr. Katz:

This is in response to your letter of December 18, 1992, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for the "Coldsac" cooler/picnic bag. A sample was provided to our office for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover. Please reference your client, Academy Broadway Corporation.


The submitted sample is an insulated carrying bag used to transport and store food and beverages. It is composed of a 210 denier nylon oxford acrylic coated shell, with a .15 millimeter pvc lining containing P.E. foam on the inside and a removable interior lining of plastic sheeting. The top is secured by a zippered interlocking flap. This article features an adjustable woven shoulder strap, woven handle and an exterior pocket secured by means of a zipper.


What is the proper tariff classification of the submitted "Coldsac" cooler/picnic bag.


In your written submission, you draw our attention to Sports Graphics, Inc. v. United States, 806 F. Supp. 268 (CIT 1992). In that case, the Court of International Trade addressed the proper classification of merchandise substantially similar to the instant article under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). In Sports Graphics, the Court acknowledged that in the past articles similar to the instant merchandise had been found to meet the statutory definition of "luggage." Id. at 271; See Prepac, Inc. v. United States, 78 Cust. Ct. 108, 433 F. Supp. 339 (1977) (insulated plastic picnic bags with handles and zippers classified as "luggage"); Aladdin Int'l Corp. v. United States, 13 CIT 1038 (1989) (plastic lunch box properly classified as "luggage"). However, it declined to follow this precedent, and found that the cooler was "of a class or kind of merchandise with a different purpose than articles in the luggage provision." 806 F. Supp. at 272. The Court then concluded that the merchandise was classifiable under item 772.15 or 772.16, TSUS, which was the proper classification for articles chiefly used for preparing, serving, or storing food or beverages. This finding was based on General Interpretive Rule 10(e), which controlled tariff classification based on use. Id. at 272-274.

You contend that the scope of the luggage provision under the TSUS is "virtually identical" to that of heading 4202, HTSUSA. Therefore, in light of Sports Graphics, the "Coldsac" cooler is not ejusdem generis with the exemplars of heading 4202. Accordingly, it is your position that this article is not classifiable under heading 4202. In the alternative, you suggest classification of the cooler under one of the following provisions of the HTSUSA:

1. Heading 3923, which provides for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods;

2. Heading 3926, which provides for other articles of plastics not more specifically described elsewhere in the Nomenclature; or

3. Heading 6307, which provides for other textile articles not more specifically described elsewhere in the Nomenclature.

Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in order.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, covers:

Trunks, Suit-Cases, Vanity-Cases, Executive-Cases, Briefcases, School Satchels, Spectacle Cases, Binocular Cases, Camera Cases, Musical Instrument Cases, Gun Cases, Holsters and Similar Containers; Travelling- Bags, Toilet Bags, Rucksacks, Handbags, Shopping-Bags, Wallets, Purses, Map-Cases, Cigarette-Cases, Tobacco- Pouches, Tool Bags, Sports Bags, Bottle-Cases, Jewellery Boxes, Powder-Boxes, Cutlery Cases and Similar Containers, of Leather or of Composition Leather, of Sheeting of Plastics, of Textile Materials, of Vulcanised Fibre or of Paperboard, or Wholly or Mainly Covered with Such Materials or With Paper. (Emphasis added).

Thus, containers similar to those enumerated are classified under this heading.

Chapter 42, U.S. Additional Note 1, states:

For the purposes of heading 4202, the expression "travel, sports and similar bags" means goods, other than those falling in subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading, but does not include binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, bottle cases and similar cases. (Emphasis added).

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G.&C. Merriam Co. (1977), defines a "backpack" as follows:

backpack vt: to carry (food or equipment) on the back esp. in hiking. (Emphasis added).

Hence, the "backpack" exemplar in this note supports the proposition that containers used to transport food and beverages are within the purview of heading 4202. Similarly, a shopping bag is commonly used to transport food, beverages and other articles. As backpacks and shopping bags are designed to carry food and beverages, we conclude that food and beverages are "personal effects" for the purposes of Chapter 42. Moreover, an insulated cooler bag is a container similar to a backpack and shopping bag, as it is designed to carry food and beverages during travel (i.e. for picnics and other outings). Hence, the cooler bags are classifiable as travel bags pursuant to heading 4202.

We note that Sports Graphics does not operate as precedent in this case. Sports Graphics was decided under the TSUS, which has been superseded by the HTSUSA. In addition, heading 4202, HTSUSA, and item 706, TSUS, are not analogous provisions, as heading 4202 contains language and exemplars not included in item 706. Hence, these provisions vary in scope.

Furthermore, item 772, TSUS, which provides for articles chiefly used for preparing serving, or storing food or beverages, bears no resemblance to headings 3923, 3926 or 6307 HTSUSA. In Sports Graphics, the Court relied on General Interpretive Rule 10(e) to resolve the dispute. This rule governed classification of goods based upon the principal of "chief use." General Interpretive Rule 10(e) was not carried over into the HTSUSA. In addition, the doctrine of chief or principle use is not at issue in this case because containers classifiable under heading 4202 are completely excluded from headings 3923, 3926 and 6307. See Section XI, note 1(l); Chapter 39, note 2(h).

Finally, the competing provisions you suggest either do not describe the cooler or are less specific than heading 4202. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 3923 state that:

This heading covers all articles of plastics commonly used for the packing and conveying of all kinds of products. The articles covered include:

(a) Containers such as boxes, cases, crates, sacks and bags (including cones and refuse sacks), casks, cans, carboys, bottles and flasks.

The heading also covers cups without handles having the character of containers used for the packing or conveyance of certain foodstuffs, whether or not they have a secondary use as tableware or toilet articles.

(b) Spools, cops, bobbins and similar supports.

(c) Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures.

The heading excludes, inter alia, household articles such as dustbins, and cups which are used as tableware or toilet articles and do not have the character of containers for the packing or conveyance of goods, whether or not sometimes used for such purposes, (heading 39.24), and containers of heading 42.02.

The exemplars cited in this passage describe articles used for the transporting or shipping of goods, and not articles used for the storing or preparing of food. It follows that heading 3923 does not describe the subject merchandise.

Headings 3926 and 6307 are basket provisions for textile and plastic articles not more specifically described elsewhere in the Nomenclature. As we find that the cooler bag is classifiable under heading 4202, headings 3926 and 6307 are inapplicable.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA, which provides in part for travel and sports bags: other: with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials: travel, sports and similar bags: with outer surface of textile materials: other, other: of man-made fibers: other. The applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 670.

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 the subject of frequent negotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report 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, you should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director