CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 962450 GGD
Mr. Nathan Chen
Unique Products Company
12891 Western Avenue, Unit “E”
Garden Grove, California 92841
RE: Visor, CD Case, and Insulated Bottle Holder for Single
Bottled Beverage; SGI, Incorporated v. United States, 122
F.3d 1468 (Fed. Cir. 1997)
Dear Mr. Chen:
This letter is in response to your request of November 9, 1998, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a sun visor, a case for compact discs (CD), and a holder designed to carry a single bottled beverage. The articles are manufactured in Taiwan. Samples were submitted with your request.
Each of the sample articles, described as a visor, a CD case, and a bottle holder, is essentially composed of neoprene rubber which is covered on both sides with a knit man-made fiber fabric. The visor consists of neoprene material that is cut into a modified “u” shape (thicker at the bottom). The article is able to function as a sun visor upon connection of the hook and loop fabric fastener pieces that are glued to each of the ends. The CD case measures approximately 6 inches in height by 7 inches in width by 2 inches in depth (in the closed position). The case
is zippered on 3 sides and its interior features one full-height, full-width pocket on each side. The neoprene insulated bottle holder, which measures approximately 8 inches in height by 8-1/4 inches in circumference, is designed to contain and transport a single bottled beverage and maintain its temperature for a short period of time. In its flattened state, it resembles a small holster or sheath. After insertion, a bottle may be secured by pulling the holes of two extended pieces of the neoprene material upward and over the bottle top. There also is a dog leash clasp and a short, webbed textile loop, which allow the bottle holder to be clipped onto a backpack, attached to a belt, etc.
1) In what provisions are the visor and CD case classified?
2) Whether the insulated bottle holder is classified under heading 6307, HTSUSA, as an other made up (textile) article to which the principles of the decision in SGI, Incorporated v. United States apply; or under heading 4202, HTSUSA, as a container similar to a bottle case.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods 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 tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.
Since the visor is composed of both rubber and textile materials, we look first to its potential classification under chapter 40, HTSUSA, which covers rubber and articles thereof. Note 2(a) to chapter 40, HTSUSA, states that “[t]his chapter does not cover: Goods of section XI (textiles and textile articles).” Note 2(c) to chapter 40 states that “[t]his chapter does not
cover: Headgear or parts thereof (including bathing caps) of chapter 65. Visors are not provided for within any heading or subheading under chapter 40, HTSUSA.
Chapter 65, HTSUSA, covers headgear and parts thereof. There are no legal notes to chapter 65, HTSUSA, which exclude articles that are composed, in part, of rubber. Among other goods, heading 6505, HTSUSA, covers hats and other headgear. A visor may be worn on the head, either on its own or as part of a cap, helmet, etc. Although visors are not provided for, eo nomine, in the language of heading 6505, as exemplars of headgear, “Visors, and other headgear” are provided for at the ten digit level of several subheadings under heading 6505, HTSUSA. The subject visor is excluded from chapter 40 as headgear of chapter 65, HTSUSA. We find that the visor is classified in subheading 6505.90.8050, HTSUSA, textile category 659, the provision for “Hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted, or made up from lace, felt or other textile fabric...: Other: Of man-made fibers: Other: Not in part of braid, Other: Other: Visors, and other headgear which provides no covering for the crown of the head.”
Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides, in part, for camera cases, musical instrument cases, and similar containers. Although CD cases are not expressly listed as an exemplar of heading 4202, Customs has held that CD cases - including “unfinished” cases imported without CD-holding inserts - are classifiable as being “similar” to the containers of the heading. In making such determinations, Customs has noted that there is no requirement that cases of heading 4202, HTSUSA, be specially fitted to accommodate particular objects, be constructed with rigid exteriors, nor possess handles or straps. The containers of heading 4202 have in common the purpose of providing storage, protection, and convenient transportation for their contents. EN(c) to heading 4202 states, in part, that “[t]he heading does not cover: Articles which, although they may have the character of containers, are not similar to those enumerated in the heading....” We find that the CD case is similar the exemplars enumerated in heading 4202, and that the article is classified in subheading 4202.92.9026, HTSUSA, textile category 670, the provision for “Trunks...camera cases, musical instrument cases...and similar containers...: Other: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Other: Other.”
The classification of certain portable, soft-sided, insulated cooler bags with outer surface of plastics, was examined by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
(CAFC) in SGI, Incorporated v. United States, 122 F.3d 1468 (Fed. Cir. 1997). The CAFC focused on whether food or beverages were involved with the eo nomine exemplars set forth in the tariff provisions at issue and, without discussion of heading 4202 exemplars that organize, store, protect, and/or carry food or beverages, the CAFC held that the appropriate classification for the cooler bags was subheading 3924.10.50, HTSUS, the provision
for “Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles...of plastics: Tableware and kitchenware: Other.” The Court stated
that this classification “does encompass exemplars that are ejusdem generis with the coolers because their purpose is to contain food and beverages.” The exemplars (specifically enumerated in subheading 3924.10.10) which the Court noted in
particular were the “various household containers for foodstuffs such as salt, pepper, mustard, and ketchup dispensers and serving pieces for food.”
This office concluded that the CAFC’s decision in SGI should be implemented. Instructions were issued to Customs field personnel on March 18, 1998, and September 10, 1998 (and approved for dissemination to members of the importing community), by which the principles of the CAFC’s decision were expressly extended to portable, hard or soft-sided, insulated coolers and similar insulated containers (whose primary purpose is to store and preserve food and/or beverages), with outer surface of plastics, with outer surface of textile materials (classified in subheading 6307.90.9905, 6307.90.9907, or 6307.90.9909, HTSUSA, depending upon whether the outer surface is composed of cotton, man-made fibers, or other textile materials, respectively), and with an exterior layer composed of a textile fabric that is coated, covered or laminated with compact plastics, with the plastic surface facing outward (classified in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA).
The instructions issued in March 1998 also stated, however, that the classification of bottle cases, insulated bottle bags, and similar containers (if designed to contain only one bottle or similar single unit of a beverage, regardless of the unit’s capacity) was unaffected by SGI. It was noted that a bottle case is an exemplar container of heading 4202 and (unlike the articles before the Court in SGI) is not designed to contain food or multiple beverages.
The insulated bottle holder is not similar to the soft-sided, insulated cooler bags at issue in SGI. The bottle holder is designed to transport a single bottled beverage and is thus similar to the exemplar bottle cases properly classified under heading 4202, HTSUS. In light of the principles of the SGI decision and the instructions noted above, the insulated bottle holder is classified in subheading 4202.92.9026, HTSUSA.
The visor is classified in subheading 6505.90.8050, HTSUSA, textile category 659, the provision for “Hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted, or made up from lace, felt or other textile fabric...: Other: Of man-made fibers: Other: Not in part of braid, Other: Other: Visors, and other headgear which provides no covering for the crown of the head.” The general column one duty rate is 20.4 cents per kilogram plus 7.4 percent ad valorem.
The CD case is classified in subheading 4202.92.9026, HTSUSA, textile category 670, the provision for “Trunks... binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases...and similar containers...: Other: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Other: Other, With outer surface of textile materials: Other: Of man-made fibers.” The general column one duty rate is 18.8 percent ad valorem.
The insulated bottle holder is classified in subheading 4202.92.9026, HTSUSA, textile category 670, the provision for “Trunks...holsters...bottle cases...and similar containers...: Other: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Other: Other, With outer surface of textile materials: Other: Of man-made fibers.” The general column one duty rate is 18.8 percent ad valorem.
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 subject to frequent renegotiations 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 internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your 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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division