U.S. Customs to Revoke Rulings Dealing with the Classification of Certain Gazebos

In the August 19, 2015 Customs Bulletin, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a notice announcing that it will revoke two rulings dealing with the classification of certain gazebos under the HTSUS.  Importers entering this kind of merchandise should take note of these ruling revocations, which take effect on October 19, 2015.

Why is this Notice Important for Importers? More Duty or Refunds!

This notice is important for importers because it means that they may need to start paying more duty or they may qualify for a refund of duties on their entries of this type of merchandise.  For example, if an importer has been entering the merchandise under Heading 7308, HTSUS, as a duty-free structure of iron or steel, it may need to start paying 5.3% ad valorem (if the canopy is made of plastic textile).  If an importer made entry under Headings 6306 at 8.8% or 6307 at 7%, it may be able to obtain a refund of the excess duties paid by filing a protest.

The Merchandise in Issue in the Rulings

The gazebos in the rulings consist of steel frames with canopies made of plastic textile. CBP had originally classified the gazebos under subheading 7308.90.95, HTSUS, which provides for structures of iron or steel (duty-free).  Based on the CIT’s analysis in Target Stores v. United States, 2012 Ct. Intl Trade LEXIS 40, CBP has concluded that the gazebos are neither “tents” of Heading 6306, HTSUS, nor “structures” of Heading 7308, HTSUS.

According to CBP, even though temporary, the gazebos are not tents of Heading 6306, HTSUS, because they have no walls and do not protect “the user from weather elements other than sunshine.”  The gazebos are also not “structures” of Heading 7308, HTSUS, like the Target gazebos because they are relatively easy to assemble by one or two persons and they do not serve as permanent shelters/landscape design features.

Instead using a GRI 3(b) analysis, CBP believes the gazebos that were the subject of the two rulings are more appropriately classified under subheading 3926.90.9995, which provides for other articles of plastic and carries a duty rate of 5.3% ad valorem.

The full notice is available on page 41 at http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Vol_49_No_33_Title.pdf.

If you have any questions concerning this action by CBP, please contact Mariana del Rio at mdelrio@customs-law.com or 212-775-0055, Ext. 205.