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Sandwich Bags Classified Under Principle Use Provision, Court Says

Thursday, December 19, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Court of International Trade ruled Dec. 16 that Ziploc® brand recloseable sandwich bags are properly classified as plastic bags for the conveyance or packing of goods under HTSUS 3923.21.00. The CIT thus rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that the bags are classifiable as other household articles under HTSUS 3924.90.56.

The CIT states that heading 3923 is a principal use provision encompassing goods of plastic used to carry or transport other goods of any kind and that the physical characteristics, use, channels of trade, and sales environment of the bags, along with the expectations of the ultimate purchasers and the recognition of the bags in the trade for a particular use, support classification under this heading 3923. However, the bags are also classifiable under heading 3924, which is an eo nomine provision (i.e., one that describes the goods by name instead of use) that encompasses plastic goods of or relating to the house or household.

Applying General Rule of Interpretation 3(a), the CIT concluded that heading 3923 is more specific because it requires the goods to be used in a specific way, whereas heading 3924 merely describes the articles regardless of their use. In addition, the articles described in heading 3924 include a more diverse range of products with a wider range of characteristics than those described in heading 3923.

For assistance pursuing a classification issue through litigation, please contact customs attorney Lee Sandler at (305) 894-1000.

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