CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955047 HP

Ms. Lisa Levaggi Borter
Adduci, Mastriani, Schaumberg & Schill
330 Madison Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10017

RE: PC 887434 affirmed. Float bag is a travel, sports and similar bag.

Dear Ms. Borter:

This is in reply to your letter of September 21, 1993. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of float bag, produced in China. Please reference your client Texsport, file # TEX-022.

In your letter, you requested that the sample be returned. Recent budgetary constraints have forced the Customs Service to discontinue return shipment of oversized samples. Should you wish to make arrangements either for pickup or prepaid shipping, please contact Howard Plofker of my staff at (202) 482-7050. If we do not hear from you within 30 days from the date of this letter, we will destroy the sample.


The merchandise at issue consists of a "Deluxe White Water Float Bag." This product is 16" x 30" in size, and is made from a heavy gauge polyvinyl chloride (PVC) reinforced nylon construction. The plastic coating on both sides is clearly visible to the naked eye; accordingly, it passes the requirements of Note 2 to Chapter 59, HTSUSA, and is considered to be "of plastics." The water tight roll-down top with Velcro~ and nylon web strap closure makes the product waterproof. The closure is designed to trap air inside, allowing the bag to float. The bag is bright orange in color and does not have handles. The product is designed to carry personal belongings and keep them dry during a white water rafting trip.

In PC 887434 of July 13, 1993, this merchandise was classified under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA, as a travel, sports and similar bag. You disagree, requesting that classification be as either a plastic article for the conveyance and packing of goods, or as an other article of plastics. Our analysis follows.


Whether the float bag is considered a travel, sports and similar bag, an article for the conveyance and packing of goods, or an other article of plastics?


Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, travel, sports and similar bags. Additional U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 42 defines these bags as "...designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading...." Heading 3923, HTSUSA, provides for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System) constitute the official interpretation of the scope and content of the tariff at the international level. They represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. Totes, Inc. v. United States, No. 91-09-00714, slip op. 92-153, 14 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1916, 1992 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 158 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1992). While not treated as dispositive, the EN are to be given considerable weight in Customs' interpretation of the HTSUSA. Boast, Inc. v. United States, No. 91-11-00793, slip op. 93-20, 1993 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 19 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1993). It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA. The EN to heading 3923 provides such examples as boxes, crates, sacks, bags, carboys, bottles, flasks, spools, cops, bobbins, stoppers, lids, caps, other closures and similar article. It is clear that this heading provides for containers used for the packing or conveyance of bulk goods and commercial goods, not personal items. Conversely, heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for a variety of containers ranging from luggage to sports and travel bags, fitted cases, and assorted similar articles. Its scope extends to various containers that are used to store and/or transport the belongings of an individual, as opposed to bulk or commercial goods. Accordingly, classifying the float bag in heading 3923 over heading 4202 would be erroneous.

You have argued that since the float bag floats and is waterproof, it is "more than" a container of heading 4202. We do not agree. The bag's buoyancy and its ability to keep the contents dry are merely additional features which make the bag more desirable, but not alter its classification from a heading 4204 container to something more.

You have also argued that the float bag's lack of carrying straps or handles precludes it from being classified within heading 4202. This is incorrect. While many of the articles classified within heading 4202 do indeed possess such handles, there exists no language in the tariff, Explanatory Notes or applicable legislative history which would support excluding an article merely because it lacked straps.

Alternatively, you suggest that heading 3926, HTSUSA, would be more appropriate than heading 4202. Heading 3926 provides for articles of plastic not elsewhere specified or included. Note 2(h) to Chapter 39, however, excludes from classification therein "... trunks, suitcases, handbags or other containers of heading 4202." Since we have already demonstrated that classification of the float bag in heading 4202 is correct, the float bag may not be classified within Chapter 39, HTSUSA. PC 887434 is affirmed.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA, as travel sports and similar bags with outer surface of sheeting of plastic. The applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division