CLA-2; CO:R:C:T 953523 ch
Hoyt Shepston, Inc.
P.O. Box 2184
San Francisco, California 94126
RE: Seat cushion; travel, sports and similar bag; essential
character; combination; GRI 3(c).
Dear Mr. Harper:
This is in response to your letter of February 1, 1993,
requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a
combination seat cushion and utility pack. A sample was provided
to our office for examination.
The submitted sample is a combination stadium seat cushion
and utility pack composed of 100 percent man-made fiber. This
item folds in the middle and possesses two handles and a shoulder
strap for carrying purposes. When folded, one side features five
zippered pockets of various dimensions. The other side is
comprised of a foam pad inserted into a cover through a zippered
opening. The two sides are secured by means of a velcro type
closure. The folded article measures approximately 13 11/16
inches by 15 inches.
What is the proper tariff classification for the subject
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
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.
Hence, travel, sports and similar bags are classifiable under
Chapter 42, Additional U.S. 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 containers.
The instant article features zippered pockets designed to carry
personal effects from place to place. As this item is not
classifiable under subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, it is
prima facie classifiable in heading 4202 as a travel, sports or
Heading 9401 encompasses seats. The Explanatory Notes (EN)
to heading 9401 state that:
Separately presented cushions and mattresses, sprung,
stuffed or internally fitted with any material or of
cellular rubber or plastics whether or not covered, are
excluded (heading 94.04) even if they are clearly
specialised as parts of upholstered seats (e.g.
settees, couches, sofas). When these articles are
combined with other parts of seats, however, they
remain classified in this heading. They also remain in
this heading when presented with the seats of which
they form part. (Emphasis in original).
The seat cushion portion of the subject article consists of a
casing internally fitted with a foam pad. It is not presented as
part of or with a seat. Therefore, the EN specifically exclude
this item from heading 9401 and place it in heading 9404, which
provides for articles of bedding and similar furnishing (for
example...cushions) internally fitted with any material. See
Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 950252, dated December 4, 1991.
Hence, this article is prima facie classifiable under heading
GRI 3 provides that when goods are prima facie classifiable
under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as
(a) The heading which provides the most specific
description shall be preferred to headings providing a
more general description. However, when two or more
headings each refer to part only of the materials or
substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to
part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale,
those headings are to be regarded as equally specific
in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a
more complete or precise description of the goods.
(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different
materials or made up of different components, and goods
put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be
classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as
if they consisted of the material or component which
gives them their essential character, insofar as this
criterion is applicable.
(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to
3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the
heading which occurs last in numerical order among
those which equally merit consideration.
In HRL 953075, dated March 2, 1993, we had occasion to
classify a stadium seat cushion with utility pockets
substantially similar to the subject merchandise. In that
ruling, we concluded:
The stadium pack cannot be classified according to the
relative specificity provision of GRI 3(a) because the
applicable headings describe only part of the article
and are thus considered equally specific. The
merchandise cannot be classified as a GRI 3(b)
composite good consisting of different components
because the single component which gives the stadium
pack its essential character cannot be determined.
Based on these findings, we classified the stadium pack pursuant
to GRI 3(c). We see no reason to deviate from this precedent.
Accordingly, the subject merchandise shall be classified under
heading 9404, which is the heading which occurs last in numerical
order among those which merit consideration.
The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading
9404.90.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of bedding and
similar furnishing (for example, mattresses, quilts, eiderdowns,
cushions, pouffes and pillows) fitted with springs or stuffed or
internally fitted with any material or of cellular rubber or
plastics, whether or not covered: other: pillows, cushions and
similar furnishings: other. The applicable rate of duty is 6
percent ad valorem.
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