CLA-2 OT:RR:CTF:EMAIN H273307 NVF
TARIFF NO: 8479.89.95
Deringer Logistics Consulting Group
173 West Service Road
Champlain, NY 12919
RE: Tariff Classification of a Slackline with Ratchet
Dear Mr. Kavanaugh:
This letter is in reply to your November 20, 2015 request submitted on behalf of Copious Marketing Inc., for a binding ruling on the tariff classification of a Goodtimes brand slackline. In arriving at our determination, we have considered the information submitted in your ruling request and additional information submitted via email. We apologize for the delay in responding to your request.
The slackline at issue consists of a strap made from polyester webbing that is 5 centimeters wide and 15 meters long. The strap has a loop on one end and a ratcheting mechanism on the other end. The strap is meant to be used as a slackline or balancing device after it is attached to trees or posts and tensioned appropriately using the ratchet.
In your request for a binding classification ruling, you assert that the slackline is classified as an other toy under heading 9503 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS"), which provides for "Tricyles, scooters, pedal cars and similar wheeled toys; dolls' carriages; dolls, other toys; reduced-scale ("scale") models and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; parts and accessories thereof."
Whether the slackline is classified under heading 9503, HTSUS as an other toy or under heading 8479, HTSUS as a mechanical appliance with individual functions not specified elsewhere.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Merchandise imported into the United States is classified under the HTSUS. Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation ("GRIs") and, in the absence of special language or context which requires otherwise, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUS and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all classification purposes.
GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first 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 heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes ("ENs") constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headinigs. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
The HTSUS headings under consideration are as follows:
8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof.
9503 Tricyles, scooters, pedal cars and similar wheeled toys; dolls' carriages; dolls, other toys; reduced-scale ("scale") models and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; parts and accessories thereof.
At the outset, we observe that the slackline in your request is substantially similar to ratcheting tie down straps that we have previously classified under heading 8479, HTSUS. We have classified other "tie down straps" in headings 6307 and 8425 and discuss the distinctions between each below.
Certain basic tie down straps are classified pursuant to GRI 3 in heading 6307, HTSUS as other made up articles. These straps typically consist of polyester webbing material in various widths with simple metal hardware attached to one or both ends. The hardware typically consists of spring-loaded cams, although D-rings and S-hooks are sometimes used. The straps are used to wrap around cargo, tightened by hand, then secured in place by the hardware to maintain tension and prevent movement during transportation. We have a longstanding practice of classifying such straps in heading 6307, HTSUS. See, e.g., NY 875985 (July 9, 1992), NY 883806 (Mar. 26, 1993), NY F89805 (Aug. 8, 2000), and NY N258863 (Nov. 21, 2014).
By contrast, we have long established that ratchets that provide tension and hold straps in place are classified under heading 8479, HTSUS as machines having individual functions not specified elsewhere. HQ 089411 (June 20, 1991). The ratchets contain a gear and pawl mechanism that holds the straps firmly in place and has a lever that allows the user to tighten the tension on the straps beyond what could be achieved by merely pulling on them. The mechanical advantage conferred by the ratchets is significant enough to distinguish them from the tie down straps with simple metal hardware fasteners that are classified in heading 6307. Therefore, ratcheting straps are classified in heading 8479, HTSUS as machines having individual functions not specified elsewhere.
Finally, we observe that when greater mechanical advantage is desired, some systems utilize a separate, stand-alone, hand cranked or electric drum to adjust tension on straps, cord, or chain. See HQ H031587 (Apr. 1, 2011). These devices utilize a mechanical tensioning device that is distinct because it is housed separately. In HQ H031587, we classified a device that mounts underneath the bed of a truck and consists of a steel plate and a hand-operated ratchet drum over which webbing or cable is wound. Because the drum and crank operate in the same manner as a winch, we classified the device under heading 8425, HTSUS as a winch.
In this case, the slackline is substantially similar to the ratcheting straps that are classified under heading 8479, HTSUS. Both consist of a length of webbing that is tensioned and held securely in place by a gear and pawl ratchet that confers a mechanical advantage. We are not persuaded that the intended use of the slackline is sufficient to distinguish it from the ratcheting straps classified in heading 8479 because it is mechanically identical to the articles used to secure and hold cargo. Additionally, the ratchet serves the same function regardless of whether the strap is being used to secure cargo or act as a balancing device. In both cases the ratchet is used to tension and secure the strap in place.
In your request, you argue that the slackline is distinguished from tie-down straps because it is designed and marketed specifically for children ages 4-12 years old. Specifically, you assert that the webbing has a cute logo and is manufactured from softer material than webbing used to secure cargo. The design and texture of the strap have no impact on the functionality of the strap or the ratchet. We do not find cosmetic differences sufficient to distinguish the slackline from ratcheting cargo straps classified in heading 8479, HTSUS. Finally, you argue that straps used to secure cargo generally have S-hooks on the end of the straps. As discussed above, we have classified straps with a wide variety of hardware and machinery that are used to secure cargo, and many such straps use ratchets that are substantially similar to the one used in the instant slackline.
In light of the foregoing, the applicable heading for the slackline is 8479, HTSUS which provides for: Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof.
By operation of GRIs 1 and 6, the slackline is classified in subheading 8479.89.95, HTSUS, which provides for: Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: Other machines and mechanical appliances: Other: Other. The column one rate of duty is 2.5 percent ad valorem.
Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 8479.89.95, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, in addition to subheading 8479.89.95, HTSUS, listed above.
The HTSUS is subject to periodic amendment, so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Note cited above and the applicable Chapter 99 subheading. For background information regarding the trade remedy initiated pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, including information on exclusions and their effective dates, you may refer to the relevant parts of the USTR and CBP websites, which are available at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/enforcement/section-301-investigations/tariff-actions and https://www.cbp.gov/trade/remedies/301-certain-products-china respectively.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
Please note that 19 C.F.R. 177.9(b)(1) provides that "[e]ach ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all the information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. The application of a ruling letter by a [CBP] field office to the transaction to which it is purported to relate is subject to the verification of the facts incorporated in the ruling letter, a comparison of the transaction described therein to the actual transaction, and the satisfaction of any conditions on which the ruling was based."
A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the CBP officer handling the transaction.
Gregory Connor, Chief
Electronics, Machinery, Automotive,
and International Nomenclature Branch