TARIFF NO: 3922.20.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Port of Seattle
1000 - 2nd Ave
Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98104

ATTN: Frank McCracken
Import Specialist

Re: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3001-15-100039; classification of airplane lavatory seats

Dear Port Director,

This is in reply to the Application for Further Review (AFR) of Protest No. 3001-15-100039, dated January 23, 2015, on behalf of Yokohama Aerospace America, Inc. (“Protestant”), contesting U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) classification and liquidation of airplane lavatory seats and covers in heading 3922, HTSUS, as lavatory seats and covers.

The subject merchandise was entered on February 25, 2014, in heading 8803, HTSUS, which provides for parts of goods of heading 8801 and 8802, HTSUS. The entry was liquidated on January 9, 2015, in heading 3922, HTSUS, which provides for, inter alia, lavatory seats and covers of plastic.


The merchandise at issue consist of plastic lavatory seats and covers utilized in commercial passenger aircraft. The seats are designed for use in airplane lavatory modules installed in Boeing B737NG aircraft. Each lavatory module built for the B737NG aircraft is designed for specific locations on the aircraft. The lavatory module is designed to match the contour of the airplane fuselage, which varies depending on where the lavatory is located on the aircraft. The seat and lid are designed to fully open and remain in the up position within the lavatory module. The seat and lid attach to a shroud, which covers the bottom of the lavatory bowl.

Protestant further notes that the material used to fabricate the seat and lid are designed and tested to meet the FAR 25.853(a) requirements for aircraft cabin interiors. The seat and lid are also certified by the FAA, which grants manufacturing approval for parts of aircraft. Airlines cannot install parts on an aircraft unless they purchase from an FAA-approved manufacturer.


Whether the instant articles are classified in heading 3922, HTSUS, as lavatory seats and covers of plastic, or in heading 8803, HTSUS, as parts of goods (aircraft) of heading 8802, HTSUS.


Initially, we note that the matter protested is protestable under 19 U.S.C. §1514(a) (2) as a decision on classification. The protest was timely filed, within 180 days of liquidation of the first entry for entries made on or after December 18, 2004.  (Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 2004, Pub.L. 108-429, § 2103(2) (B) (ii), (iii) (codified as amended at 19 U.S.C. § 1514(c) (3) (2006)).

Further Review of Protest No. 3001-15-100039 was properly accorded to Protestant pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 174.24(a) because the decision against which the protest was filed is alleged to be inconsistent with a decision made by a port with respect to the same or substantially similar merchandise.

Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined 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 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

3922: Baths, shower baths, sinks, washbasins, bidets, lavatory pans, seats and covers, flushing cisterns and similar sanitary ware, of plastics:

3922.20.00: Lavatory seats and covers… * * * * 8803: Parts of goods of heading 8801 or 8802

8803.90: Other:

8803.90.90: Other… * * * * Note 2 to Chapter 39 provides, in pertinent part:

2.- This Chapter does not cover :

(t) Parts of aircraft or vehicles of Section XVII;

Note 3 to Section XVII provides:

3.- References in Chapters 86 to 88 to “parts” or “accessories” do not apply to parts or accessories which are not suitable for use solely or principally with the articles of those Chapters. A part or accessory which answers to a description in two or more of the headings of those Chapters is to be classified under that heading which corresponds to the principal use of that part or accessory.

* * * * 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 the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The General Explanatory Note to Section XVII provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(C) Parts and accessories covered more specifically elsewhere in the Nomenclature.   Parts and accessories, even if identifiable as for the articles of this Section, are excluded if they are covered more specifically by another heading elsewhere in the Nomenclature, e.g.:

Profile shapes of vulcanised rubber other than hard rubber, whether or not cut to length (heading 40.08). Transmission belts of vulcanised rubber (heading 40.10). Rubber tyres, interchangeable tyre treads, tyre flaps and inner tubes (headings 40.11 to 40.13). Tool bags of leather or of composition leather, of vulcanised fibre, etc. (heading 42.02). Bicycle or balloon nets (heading 56.08). Towing ropes (heading 56.09). Textile carpets (Chapter 57). Unframed safety glass consisting of toughened or laminated glass, whether or not shaped (heading 70.07). Rearview mirrors (heading 70.09 or Chapter 90  see the corresponding Explanatory Notes). Unframed glass for vehicle headlamps (heading 70.14) and, in general, the goods of Chapter 70. Flexible shafts for speed indicators, revolution counters, etc. (heading 84.83). Vehicle seats of heading 94.01.

* * * * Protestant claims classification of the subject lavatory seats and covers in heading 8803, HTSUS, as parts of aircraft of heading 8802, HTSUS, and that they are excluded from classification in heading 3922 as a lavatory seat and cover by Note 2(t) to Chapter 39. If the instant articles are classifiable as parts of aircraft of Section XVII, they cannot be classified in Chapter 39. However, pursuant to the General Explanatory Note to Section XVII, even if a part is identifiable as for aircraft of Section XVII, if covered more specifically in another heading, it must be excluded from classification as a part in Section XVII.

In HQ 953562, CBP found that prefabricated (complete) lavatory modules were classifiable as parts of aircraft in heading 8803, HTSUS. The Chapter 39, note 2(t), exclusion is for parts of aircraft. The exclusion would certainly apply to the lavatory modules if they could be described in heading 8803. The instant merchandise, however, to the extent it may be used in an airplane, is described more specifically in heading 3922 as “lavatory…seats and covers” and excluded from classification in heading 8803 under the General EN to Section XVII (C). This appears to be the exact situation described in the EN—where a part is identifiable as “for the articles of this Section” (an airplane), but because it is classified more specifically elsewhere, is excluded. See also Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c), which holds that a provision for “parts” or “parts and accessories” does not prevail over a specific provision for such part or accessory.

We further note that even if the instant merchandise was not more specifically described in heading 3922, HTSUS, it is not a part of an aircraft for the purposes of the HTSUS. The Court of International Trade (CIT) considered the nature of “parts” under the HTSUS when it addressed the issue of whether two vase-shaped glass structures were classifiable as glassware in heading 7013, HTSUS, or as parts of lamps in heading 9405, HTSUS. Pomeroy Collection, Ltd., v. United States, 783 F. Supp. 2d 1257, No. 11-78 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2011).  The CIT found that the first article was classified in heading 9405 as a part of lamp, because “[w]hen imported, the claimed article is dedicated solely for use in such article, and, when applied to that use, the claimed part meets the Willoughby  test.” Ibid, at 1261-1262.  In Pomeroy, the court found that the first article satisfied the Willoughby test because the hurricane lamp “clearly could not function without the first article in question” since the lamp relied upon the glass structure to hang upon. Id. at 1262.  The Court found that the second glass structure satisfied the Pompeo test because the evidence showed that the glass structure contained the flame and enabled the candles to remain lit and to prevent open flames. Thus, the second article at issue also satisfied the Willoughby precedent, because “when applied to that use,” the lamp could not function without the glass structures. Id.  In other words, Pomeroy clarifies the existing precedent by setting forth a two prong test which must be satisfied in order for an article to merit classification as a part under the HTSUS: (1) the article must be dedicated solely for use with the product it claimed to be a part of and, (2) when applied to that use, the article cannot function without the article at issue. 

Thus, under Pomeroy’s two-part test, a part must be both solely or principally used with the primary article, and also essential to the proper function and use of that article. Applying this test, the instant lavatory seats and covers are not classifiable as parts of aircraft. The seats and covers are certainly dedicated for use with protestant’s lavatory modules. However, the seats and covers do not act on the aircraft or affect its function in any way. Indeed, while the seats and covers are integrated into the lavatory module, they are not essential for the operation of the airplane. In fact, there is no FAA regulation mandating the existence of a functioning toilet on passenger aircraft. Furthermore, a plastic toilet seat merely provides comfort for the user, while the lid acts as an additional seat when the toilet is not in use. Together, the seat and lid cover the toilet bowl, an immodest object. Due to the vacuum function of airline toilets and lack of water in the toilet bowl itself, covers are not necessary to fulfill the sanitary role of an airline toilet. Waste is hygienically sucked away without splash. For the reasons stated above, the instant lavatory seats and covers are not parts of aircraft of heading 8803, HTSUS, and Note 2 to Chapter 39 does not apply.

Protestant cites to HQ 953562, dated October 7, 1993, HQ 957811, dated July 19, 1995, and HQ 963663, dated July 30, 2001, in support of classification of the lavatory seats and covers in heading 8803, HTSUS. In HQ 953562, CBP found that prefabricated lavatory modules were classifiable as parts of aircraft in heading 8803, HTSUS. In HQ 963663, dated July 30, 2001, CBP concluded that aluminum rails, drawers and latches for an airplane galley were classified in heading 8803, HTSUS, because the articles were suitable for use solely or principally with aircraft of heading 8802, HTSUS. Similarly, in HQ 957811, dated July 19, 1995, CBP ruled that laminated veneer panels for automobile consoles were classifiable as “parts of automobiles” in Heading 8708, HTSUS.

The rulings cited by protestant are not relevant here. First, they were issued before the CIT decision in Pomeroy; thus, CBP did not consider whether the articles at issue in the cited rulings met the two-prong test set out therein. The cited rulings are also distinguishable on their face; the merchandise in HQ 953562 was a complete lavatory module, essentially a portion of the interior of the aircraft. The instant merchandise is a toilet seat, which has a distinct commercial identity of its own regardless of where the toilet bowl to which it is fastened is situated. The merchandise in HQ 963663 was not found to be parts of general use and therefore not excluded from heading 8803 by the notes or ENs. Similarly, the notes applicable to the merchandise at issue in HQ 957811 specifically included “dashboards” and parts and accessories thereof as an example of a part or accessory of a motor vehicle of heading 8708, HTSUS. Unlike the merchandise in the cited cases, the instant merchandise is excluded from classification in Section XVII by the General EN thereto.

A more applicable precedent, issued after the CIT decision in Pomeroy, is HQ H173197, dated November 13, 2012.  HQ H173197 concerned the classification of woven fabric curtains specially designed for various models of civil aircraft. The curtains were sized and shaped to fit specific aircraft and locations on those aircraft, to be used as dividers on aircraft to separate seating classes within the plane, divide the galley area from passenger areas, provide sound dampening for crew rest areas, provide privacy for handicap lavatories, and for other similar uses. CBP rejected classification for the curtains as parts of aircraft in heading 8803, HTSUS, because although the curtains were used in airplanes, they did not contribute to the function of the aircraft and were not parts thereof. Like the toilet seats here, the curtains had their own commercial identity, described eo nomine in another heading.


By application of GRIs 1 and 6, the instant airplane lavatory seats and covers are classified in heading 3922, HTSUS, specifically subheading 3922.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for “[b]aths, shower baths, sinks, washbasins, bidets, lavatory pans, seats and covers, flushing cisterns and similar sanitary ware, of plastics: Lavatory seats and covers.” The 2015 column one, general rate if duty is 6.3% ad valorem.

You are instructed to deny the protest in full. In accordance with Sections IV and VI of the CBP Protest/Petition Processing Handbook (HB 3500-08A, December 2007, pp. 24 and 26), you are to mail this decision, together with the CBP Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter.  Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office International Trade, Regulations and Rulings, will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public online at, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division