CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 957116 ch

John A. Slagle
Director, Customs Laws & Regulations
Wolf D. Barth & Co., Inc.
7575 Holstein Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19153

Re: Modification of NYRL 882874; tariff classification of a nylon bag for a beach blanket; GRI 5(a); of a kind normally sold therewith; GRI 3(b); composite goods.

Dear Mr. Slagle:

In New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 882874, dated March 8, 1993, you were advised that a beach blanket and a nylon bag were classified together in subheading 6307.90.9986, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other made up textile articles. We have had occasion to review NYRL 882874 and find that the classification of the nylon bag was in error.

Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter section 625), notice of the proposed revocation of NYRL 882874 was published on January 18, 1995, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 29, Number 3. Two comments were filed in response to the notice.


The submitted sample is described as a "Beach Blanket." The article measures approximately 80 inches by 44 inches and features a surface layer of 100 percent cotton terry cloth; and a bottom layer of 100 percent cotton twill fabric. A round patch with hook and loop fasteners has been sewn onto each corner, so that individual blankets may be attached to one another. The corners are waterproof and contain galvanized steel disks. The item features a pocket, secured by hook and loop fasteners, which contains a plastic inflatable pillow.

An accompanying nylon bag may be used to hold the "Beach Blanket." It measures approximately 24 inches in length by 15 inches in width and is composed of woven nylon. The bag features a drawstring closure, plastic hardware and a polypropylene handle and shoulder strap. A pocket secured by hook and loop fasteners, and measuring approximately 9 inches by 7 1/2 inches, has been sewn to the front of the bag.

Accompanying marketing materials describe the bag as a "Back-pack Tote Bag -- constructed of heavy duty waterproof nylon." In addition, a hangtag affixed to the bag states:

IT'S IN THE BAG! The original Rolle Bag makes carrying the blanket and other beach supplies a breeze. Features multiple position strap (converts to back pack, fanny bag, shoulder bag, etc.), interior key hook, wet/dry pocket and more.


What is the proper tariff classification for the carrying bag?


In NYRL 882874, the "Beach Blanket" was classified in heading 6307, HTSUS, which provides for other made up textile articles. The bag was classified in the same heading on the basis of General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 5(a), which provides that:

Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing instrument cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, suitable for long-term use and entered with the articles for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith. This rule does not, however, apply to containers which give the whole its essential character.

We concluded that the nylon bag met the requirements of GRI 5(a). Accordingly, the bag was classified with the blanket.

The Explanatory Note (EN) to GRI 5(a) provides that:

(I) This Rule shall be taken to cover only those containers which:

(1) are specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, i.e., they are designed specifically to accommodate the article for which they are intended. Some containers are shaped in the form of the article which they contain;

(2) are suitable for long-term use, i.e., they are designed to have a durability comparable to that of the articles for which they are intended. These containers also serve to protect the article when not in use (during transport or storage, for example). These criteria enable them to be distinguished from simple packings;

(3) are presented with the articles for which they are intended, whether or not the articles are packed separately for convenience of transport. Presented separately the containers are classified in their appropriate headings;

(4) are of a kind normally sold with such articles; and

(5) do not give the whole its essential character.

(Emphasis added).

In order for the nylon bag to be classified with the blanket, it must meet the criteria set forth above. The criteria limit the scope of GRI 5(a) to containers which would normally be discarded or have no use without their contents.

In NYRL 882874, we erroneously concluded that the bag was classifiable with the blanket pursuant to GRI 5(a). The bag does not possess internal fittings, nor is it shaped to the form of its contents. Consequently, it is susceptible to uses other than to hold the beach blanket. In this regard, we note that the bag resembles a duffel bag and is marketed for use as a back pack, fanny bag or shoulder bag. Similar bags are the subject of trade in the United States when sold separately and are marketed as general purpose carrying bags. Thus, the bag is desirable in and of itself and may be used without the blanket. Evidence that the instant item may be used in this fashion includes the fact that it is advertised as a container for "carrying the blanket and other beach supplies." The alternative use of the article as a general purpose travel bag may induce the consumer to purchase its contents and will enhance the value of the merchandise as a whole. For these reasons, the bag is not "of a kind normally sold with" its contents and cannot be classified with the beach blanket.

You have submitted a copy of the U.S. Patent awarded to the beach blanket, which indicates that the blanket will be used in conjunction with a carrying bag incorporating preferred physical attributes. Preferred specifications for the bag include a drawstring closure, waterproof material, carry strap, and a pocket secured by means of hook and loop fasteners. In addition, the bag must be of a size suitable for holding the blanket in its folded position. By way of analogy, the extraneous carrying capacity of the bag has been equated with additional room in a gun case for ammunition; or an additional compartment in a guitar case for strings. In light of these considerations, you contend that the bag has been designed to specifically accommodate its contents and should be classified with the blanket.

While we agree that the bag is suitable for use with the blanket, we reiterate that it resembles duffel or travel bags which are the subject of trade as general purpose carrying containers. The preferred physical characteristics for the bag are relatively generic and are not so restrictive that the bag is limited for use with the blanket. The bag is just as suitable for carrying or storing clothing and other personal effects as it is for transporting and protecting the beach blanket. On the other hand, musical instrument or gun cases shaped to the form of their contents would be unsuitable for use as travel or tote bags, despite the presence of compartments for ammunition or strings. Hence, they would be discarded without their contents or would be sold solely for use with a particular article such as a gun or a guitar. Consequently, for the purposes of this discussion, the gun and musical instrument cases are designed to specifically accommodate their contents. However, the bag for the blanket does not meet this description.

GRI 3(b) states:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, 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 (emphasis added).

On occasion, we have determined that a carrying bag and its contents may be classified as composite good, with the essential character imparted by the contents. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 955787, dated April 26, 1994 (carrying bag classified with boxer shorts); HRL 087280, dated July 16, 1990 (carrying bag classified with ponchos); HRL 086343, dated July 13, 1990 (carrying bag classified with windbreaker); HRL 086344, dated July 5, 1990 (carrying bag classified with coveralls). Thus, GRI 3(b) provides an alternative basis by which a carrying bag may be classified with its contents.

The EN to GRI 3(b) provides in pertinent part that:

For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts (emphasis added).

In this instance, the nylon bag is in the nature of a tote, duffel or shoulder bag for carrying various personal effects. It is of a durable construction and, as discussed above, would normally be sold as an independent product in its own right. Consequently, in this instance the carrying bag and the blanket do not comprise a composite article.

As the nylon bag cannot be classified with the blanket, it must be classified under the heading which most specifically describes it. Therefore, it is classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUS, which provides in pertinent part for travel, sports and similar bags.


NYRL 882874 is hereby modified . The "Beach Blanket" is classifiable in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUS, which provides for other made up textile articles. The applicable rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.

The nylon bag is classifiable in subheading 4202.92.3030, HTSUS, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials: other, other: of man-made fibers: other. The applicable rate of duty is 19.8 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 670.

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 the subject of frequent negotiations 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 issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at the 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, you should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the status of any import restraints or requirements.

In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decision pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice of position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division