Tariff Classification Advance Ruling
Fitted Protective Case for iPhone 5, product number COV-IPH5-109


Ms. Arzugul Amat
Winners Division
of Winners Merchants Intl. Lp.
60 Standish Court
Mississauga, ON  L5R 0G1

Date of issuance of ruling:

This is in response to your request for an advance ruling on the tariff classification of the Fitted Protective Case for iPhone 5, product number COV-IPH5-109. This product is supplied by Bytech NY Inc. of Brooklyn, NY, USA.

TRS Number: 273233
Classification Number: 4202.32.90.90
Effective Date:

Product Description

The product is a hard plastic cell phone case designed to snap onto the back and sides of the iPhone 5. It is composed of molded plastics, and it is printed with a decorative pattern. The shell is essentially flat with two curved sides to cover the long edges of the phone with a cut out on one side for access to volume controls. The flat back piece has a cut out for the camera lens. The top and bottom ends are open and not enclosed. The case measures approximately 5 inches x 2 ½ inches x 3/8 inches and is available in various designs.

Analysis and Justification

You have proposed classification under tariff item 3926.90.99.90. Heading 39.26 provides for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 39.01 to 39.14".  However, these cell phone cases are similar to the cases and containers provided for under heading 42.02. The Explanatory Notes to this heading state that "only the articles specifically therein and similar containers" are to be classified under the heading. In a decision of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (Tribunal) AP-2010-057, the Tribunal interpreted the term "similar containers" to mean containers that share important characteristics and features with those items specifically named in the heading. In AP-2011-023, the Tribunal confirmed those features to be cases specially shaped or fitted to contain a particular good and are used to hold, protect and carry that good. The Fitted Protective Case for iPhone 5 is specifically shaped to hold, protect and carry the iPhone 5. Accordingly, it is similar to those goods enumerated in the heading and is more specifically described in subheading 4202.32, "Articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag other; with outer surface of sheeting of plastics or of textile materials".


Section 10 of the Customs Tariff directs that classification of imported goods shall be determined in accordance with the General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System. Section 11 of the Customs Tariff states that in interpreting the headings and subheadings, regard shall be had to the World Customs Organization's (WCO) Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.

General Interpretative Rule 1 (GIR 1) directs that titles of Sections, Chapters and sub-Chapters are provided for ease of reference only. For legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the heading and any relative Section and Chapter Notes. Similarly, General Interpretative Rule 6 (GIR 6) directs that classification shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related Subheading Notes.

The Fitted Protective Case for iPhone 5, product number COV-IPH5-109, is classified under tariff item 4202.32.90.90 in accordance with General Interpretative Rule 1 of the Customs Tariff.

Legislative/Administrative References

This ruling has been issued under paragraph 43.1(1)(c) of the Customs Act and will be honoured by the CBSA for future importations of the goods specified, provided the material facts and circumstances remain as originally presented; all conditions in the ruling have been met; the ruling has not been modified, revoked, revised, or cancelled; and the Customs Tariff legislation has not changed. Should there be a change in the material facts or circumstances pertaining to the goods, you must notify the CBSA as soon as possible. You may request that the Advance Ruling be modified or revoked as of the date of the change.

Importers should quote the advance ruling number at the time of importation in either the description field of the B3 entry document or on the Canada Customs Invoice. Exporters or producers should quote the advance ruling number on the Certificate of Origin or commercial invoice accompanying the goods.

Should you disagree with this advance ruling, you may file a dispute notice under subsection 60(2) of the Customs Act within 90 days of the date of issuance. Please see the procedures outlined in Appendix C of the CBSA's Memorandum D11-11-3, Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification.

This advance ruling is considered 'reason to believe' for the purposes of section 32.2 of the Customs Act and the CBSA's Administrative Monetary Penalty System, described in Memorandum D22-1-1.

All Memoranda referenced in this letter may be accessed on the CBSA website.

Consent to the Public Release of the Advance Ruling

As per your consent statement, we will release this advance ruling to the public, in both official languages, in accordance with the procedures described in Memorandum D11-11-3. The ruling will be published on the CBSA website in 30 days.

CBSA Contact

Mark Grant
Manager, Tariff Policy Unit 'B'
Trade Policy Division
Headquarters, Ottawa

File Number


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