CLA-2; CO:R:C:T 953523 ch

Lew Harper
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 merchandise?


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).

Hence, travel, sports and similar bags are classifiable under this provision.

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. (Emphasis added).

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 similar bag.

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 9404.

GRI 3 provides that when goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(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