CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960373 JGB

Mr. John H. Qualey
Rogers & Brown Customs Brokers, Inc.
P.O. Box 20160
Charleston, South Carolina 29413-0160

Re: Plastic Water Bottle Dear Mr. Qualey:

This is in further reference to your letter of February 25, 1997, to the Customs National Commodity Specialists Division, New York, on behalf of Franco Manufacturing, in which you request a ruling on a beach towel, mesh bag, and plastic water bottle. In NY B82327 of March 31, 1997, you were provided with the tariff classification of the beach towel and mesh bag. This ruling concerns the plastic bottle to be imported from China or Taiwan. We regret the delay in responding.


A photograph of the supplied sample bottles was included in our file. The bottles, identified as being of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), would contain in one version about 25 oz. and in the other about 12-16 oz. They have a tight cap to allow fluids to be carried to the beach and may have a valve at the top to permit sipping without removing the cap. The bottles would be imported empty and the user would repeatedly fill them with his beverage of choice. ISSUE:

Whether the bottles are articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics in heading 3923 or other articles of plastics in heading 3926. LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUS and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes. The majority of imported goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes.

The Explanatory Notes (EN's) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's.

If heading 3923, HTSUS, is inapplicable, the residual provision, heading 3926, HTSUS, other articles of plastics, would apply. Within heading 3923, subheading 3923.30.00, HTSUS, provides for “Carboys, bottles, flasks and similar articles.” In HQ 952264, issued November 25, 1992, we concluded that the bottles classified in that subheading “are bottles such as beverage bottles which are designed to be filled and sold to the ultimate consumer with a beverage therein. They are not containers to be filled by the end user.” This determination was based on our consideration of EN 39.23, which states that the heading “covers all articles of plastics commonly used for the packing or conveyance of all kinds of products.” The reference to products carries the meaning of commercial products which would not be used with bottles under consideration here. If the bottles were used to sell shampoo or bleach, they might qualify for classification in heading 3923; however, inasmuch as they are expected to be used to hold a product of the user’s personal choice, they are precluded from classification here. See, e.g., HQ 955047, issued October 6, 1994.

Within heading 3926, HTSUS, the specific subheading is 3926.90.9880, the provision for “Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of heading 3901 to 3914: Other: Other: Other,” dutiable at the column one rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem.


The PVC bottles are classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9880, the provision for “Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of heading 3901 to 3914: Other: Other: Other,” dutiable at the column one rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John A. Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division