CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960811ptl

Mr. Russell Kramer
108 W. Main Street
Sykesville, PA 15865-1018

RE: Plastic insulated flasks; HQ 955047, 957894, 957895, 954072.

Dear Mr. Kramer:

This is in response to your letter of July 10, 1997, to the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, in New York, requesting a ruling on the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a plastic insulated flask which may be manufactured in China. Your letter and a drawing of the article were forwarded to this office for a response. We regret the delay.


The article under consideration is a “plastic sportsman’s flask.” It will be made of dense polystyrene, or a similar material which will provide insulation. A drawing of the article indicates that its measurements will be approximately 4_” long by 1¾” wide by 7_” high. A 2¼” cap which is intended to be used as a removable drinking cup, covers the entire top of the flask. A leak proof pouring spout is located at the top of the flask and will be covered by the cap. The flask is intended to be able keep approximately 2

cups of liquids either hot or cold for 3 to 4 hours while being compact enough so that it can be easily slipped into a coat pocket.


What is the classification of the plastic insulated flask?


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the HTSUS is such that virtually all 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. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied in order.

Based on the information you have provided, we are able to determine that the flask is classifiable in Chapter 39 of the HTSUS which covers plastics and articles thereof.

Within that chapter, the headings under consideration are as follows:

3923 Articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics:

* * *

3923.30.00 Carboys, bottles, flasks and similar articles

* * *

3923.90.0090 Other.

3926 Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914:

* * *

3926.90 Other:

* * *

3926.90.98 Other:

* * *

3926.90.9880 Other.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

In HQ 955047, dated October 6, 1994, Customs stated:

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(s). It is clear that this heading provides for containers used for the packing or conveyance of bulk goods and commercial goods, not personal items.

This interpretation of the ENs was followed in HQ 957894 and HQ 957895, both issued on December 14, 1995, and which cited an earlier ruling, HQ 954072, issued September 2, 1993, that stated that the EN to heading 3923 made it “clear that this heading provides for cases and containers of bulk goods and commercial goods and not personal items.”

The article we are considering is intended to be sold empty and filled repeatedly. There is no indication that the article is designed or intended to be filled with a liquid at the time of its sale.


Because the article described as a “Sportsman’s Insulated Flask” is not intended or designed for the packing or conveyance of commercial goods but is to be used to contain liquids for personal use of its purchaser, it is classified in subheading 3926.90.9880, HTSUS, as other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: other, other other. The 1999 general column 1 rate of duty, applicable to products of China (see General Note 3, HTSUS) for subheading 3926.90.9880 is 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division