CLA-2 R:C:T 957997 BC
P.O. Box 1256
Linwood, PA 19061
RE: Reconsideration of HRL 954702; classification of a picnic basket
made of plaiting materials; baskets; luggage
Dear Mr. Melloni:
Recently, Customs has had occasion to review the matter of
classification of picnic baskets and cases made of plaiting
materials. We have determined that baskets and cases of the
class or kind principally used as picnic baskets are classifiable
as "other baskets" rather than as "luggage," under subheading
4602.10, HTSUSA. Consequently, we hereinbelow modify
Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 954702, issued to you on
August 16, 1994, on behalf of Jenigere.
On August 16, 1994, Customs issued HRL 954702, which
classified a rattan picnic basket in subheading 4602.10.2500,
which provides for luggage of vegetable plaiting materials, of
rattan. The ruling affirmed District Ruling (DD) 887262, issued
by the District Director of Customs, Providence, Rhode Island, on
June 23, 1993. The Headquarters ruling described the picnic
basket as follows: "The merchandise at issue consists of an
unlined rattan picnic basket with two dividers, model #W-00158-0.
It measures approximately 21" x 12" x 11.5"BH x 6" HH and has a
single rattan handle. The slotted lid is designed to fit over
Whether the picnic basket at issue is classifiable as "other
baskets" or as "luggage" under subheading 4602.10, HTSUSA?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
For purposes of this discussion, we note that heading 4602,
which provides for basketwork, wickerwork, and other articles
made directly to shape from plaiting materials, is divided
into two major parts: (I) of vegetable materials (4602.10) and
(II) other (4602.90). The relevant first part (4602.10) is
divided into four subparts: (1) fishing baskets and creels
(4602.10.05); (2) other baskets and bags, whether or not
lined (4602.10.07 - 4602.10.18); (3) luggage, handbags and
flatgoods (4602.10.21 - 4602.10.29); and (4) other (4602.10.35 -4602.10.80).
In HRL 954702, we correctly pointed out that the structure
of heading 4602, HTSUSA, requires that baskets be classified
separately from luggage, handbags, and flatgoods. However, in
concluding that the picnic basket at issue was correctly
classified as luggage (of plaiting materials) in DD 887262, we
stated the following: "By specifically listing luggage, handbags
and the like separately from baskets, Congress demonstrated its
intent to have articles used for the conveyance of items (which
the picnic basket' clearly is ) classified apart from mere
household containers constructed of plaiting materials." This
statement implies that, for purposes of classification in heading
4602, HTSUSA, luggage is defined as articles used for the
conveyance of items, and baskets are defined as household
containers constructed of plaiting materials. We now believe
that this definition of "luggage" is too broad, encompassing many
articles that are not luggage, and this definition of "baskets"
is too narrow, appearing to limit baskets to household containers
that do not convey items. The result is a blurring of the
heading's separation of baskets from luggage.
The definitions put forward in HRL 954702 permitted
classification of the picnic basket as luggage: A picnic basket
or case, being used outside the home, is not a household article,
so it could not be classified as a basket; also, since a picnic
basket/case is an article that conveys items, it fit the broad
definition of luggage. Yet, a close examination of the picnic
basket at issue in HRL 954702 (as well as picnic baskets/cases
generally) reveals that its nature and character are more like
those of baskets than of luggage. It is made of materials
characteristic of picnic and other baskets. It is designed and
used for carrying food, beverages, and utensils to picnics and
picnic-like events (such as a day at the beach or outdoor
concert). (Some baskets/cases of the general kind at issue
contain lining and/or interior compartments or fittings for
holding plastic dinnerware.) It is called a picnic basket. It
is marketed as a picnic basket. In short, everything about this
picnic basket suggests "basket."
In Royal Cathay Trading Co. V. United States, 45 Cust. Ct.
99, C.D. 2206 (1960), a case where the United States Customs
Court rejected Customs classification of suitcases and valises
made of plaiting materials as baskets under the Tariff Schedules
of the United States (TSUS), the court based its decision on the
character of the articles there at issue. The court reasoned
that while the suitcases and valises fit the broad definition of
"baskets" put forward in United States v. Byrnes & Co., 11 Ct.
Cust. Appls. 68, T.D. 38728, the obvious character of these
articles precluded their classification as such. The court
looked to the nature and use of the articles to determine their
character, and concluded that their character was not that of
baskets, but was instead that of suitcases and valises.
Applying the rationale of the Royal Cathay opinion to the
instant case, and to the matter of picnic baskets and cases
generally, we believe that the character of these articles is
more like that of baskets and less like that of luggage. Their
nature and use establish their character as picnic baskets,
rather than as luggage. (See H.J. Stotter, Inc. V. United
States, Court No. 92-03-00142, Slip op. 94-121, July 27, 1994
(CIT), 28 Cust, Bull., No. 33, p. 48, 52, quoting from United
States v. Quon Quon Co., 46 CCPA 70, 73, C.A.D. 699 (1959), for
the proposition that evidence of use is often highly probative of
an article's identity for tariff purposes.)
It is necessary then to set forth an interpretation of
heading 4602, HTSUSA, that better distinguishes between baskets
and luggage. Thus, we conclude that the "other baskets"
subheadings of subheading 4602.10, HTSUSA, provide for all
baskets, other than fishing baskets and creels, whether or not
they are household articles and whether or not they are used to
carry other articles. The "luggage, handbags, and flatgoods"
subheading is limited to coverage of the named articles (subject
to the ejusdem generis rule of statutory construction). We
decline to broadly define luggage for purposes of heading 4602,
HTSUSA, as containers used to carry other articles from place to
place. To do so is to improperly encompass a wide variety of
containers that do not resemble luggage.
Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the picnic basket
at issue is classifiable as an "other basket" of vegetable
plaiting materials. The precise subheading applicable to the
basket depends on its material composition. As stated in the
"FACTS" section, the picnic basket is made of rattan.
The rattan picnic basket at issue, classified in HRL 954702
in subheading 4602.10.2500, HTSUSA, as luggage of vegetable
plaiting materials, is instead classifiable in subheading
4602.10.1600, HTSUSA, as an other basket of vegetable plaiting
materials, of rattan, other. The applicable duty rate is 7% ad
Accordingly, HRL 954702 is hereby modified, and District
Ruling 887262 is hereby superseded.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division