In ruling NY N322971 (December 15, 2021), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the classification of a cooling wristband from China. The item was compromised of a silicone wristband and a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cooling pack containing liquid gel. The liquid gel itself was made up of the following components: 97.8% water, 2% glycerin, and 0.2% carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC). The silicone wristband bracelet was designed to resemble a wristwatch, though it had no time function. The wristband bracelet measured 230 mm long by 25 mm wide while the cooling pack measured 36.1 mm long by 23.3 mm wide. The wristband had with it a rectangular opening to accept the hard plastic gel pack. Users of the wristband place the cooling pack in a freezer so that the pack may cool or freeze the contents. Users then insert the cooling pack into the opening of the wrist strap and wear it as a bracelet with the cooling pack touching their skin.

For its determination, CBP looked to the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Explanatory Note XII to the General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(c) states in part that “when goods cannot be classified by reference to Rule 3(a) specific description or 3(b) essential character, they are to be classified in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration in determining their classification.”

CBP found that the cooling wristband was considered a composite good – due to the fact that it was made up of a silicone wristband and a cooling pack – and that no one element provided the essential character of the item. As such, the classification for the cooling wristband would be from the last item that occurred in numeral order, which was in this case the silicone wristband. Therefore, CBP determined that the applicable subheading for the cooling wristband was 7117.90.7500, HTSUS, which provides for “Imitation jewelry: Other: Other: Valued over 20 cents per dozen pieces or parts: Other: Of plastics.”  The rate of duty is free.