On 23 May the European Commission published a tariff classification on mobile phone covers designed to hold and protect the back and sides of a mobile phone.
It is described as an article of a rectangular shape with rounded edges, made of moulded plastics (polycarbonate), in the form of a shell which covers the back and the sides of a mobile phone, measuring approximately 7 x 14 x 0.8 centimeters.
The outer surface of the back is covered with a leather layer and the inner surface, which makes contact with the back of the mobile phone, is lined with man-made fibres (microfibres).
It is designed to hold and protect the back and sides of a mobile phone. The front of the mobile phone is not to be covered.
The tariff classification is tariff subheading 3926.90.97. [Just remember that this is an European Union (EU) tariff classification.]
The European Commission’s reasoning is:
Classification is determined by General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) 1, 3(b) and 6 of the Combined Nomenclature and by the wording of tariff heading and tariff subheadings: 39.26; 3926.90; and 3926.90.97.
According to its objective characteristics, the article is designed to hold and protect the back and sides of a mobile phone. The protection is given by the material of the shell (polycarbonate plastic).
The leather layer on the outer surface of the back of the article enhances its appearance providing only an additional effect to the main purpose of protection. Consequently, the polycarbonate plastic forming the protective shell constitutes the material that gives the article its essential character within the meaning of GIR 3(b).
Classification of the article under tariff heading 42.05 as other articles of leather is therefore excluded.
Classification of the article under tariff heading 6307 as other made-up articles is also excluded as the man-made fibres constitute merely the lining.
Consequently, the article is to be classified under tariff subheading 3926.90.97 as other articles of plastics.
Story by: Riaan de Lange