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HQ 082171

October 17, 1988

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G: 082171 DSN


TARIFF NO.: 4202.12.8070

Mr. John Goodrich
International Operations
Fingerhut Corporation
4400 Baker Road A-195
Minnetoka, Minnesota 55343

RE: Classification of a five-piece luggage set

Dear Mr. Goodrich:

Your inquiry of August 28, 1987, addressed to our New York office concerning the tariff classification of a five-piece luggage set under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), was referred to this office for a direct reply. Classification of the merchandise under the current Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUSA) was furnished previously from our New York office. Samples produced in Korea were submitted for examination.


The samples identified as PC-43256, contain one twenty-four inch and one twenty-one inch wire framed pullman type suitcase, a fifteen inch carry-on shoulder tote bag, a nine and one-half inch travel bag, and an eleven inch ladies' shoulder bag. All five pieces are constructed of parachute nylon textile material, and all contain a monogram of the letter "A" on the front face. According to information provided by your staff, the items are packaged in a large shipping box which contains individual remailable cardboard boxes intended for retail sale.

Both the twenty-four inch and the twenty-one inch pullman suitcases have a zipper going across the top, down the sides and around the bottom. They also feature a zipper going across the front, which opens up to pocket compartments. There are two carry handles sewn at the bottom which attach approximately three inches from the top. The inside of the suitcases contain two one inch wide straps, one sewn at the top and one sewn onto the
bottom of the cases. These straps have an adjustable metal buckle.

The shoulder tote measures approximately fifteen inches by ten inches by four and one-half inches. It has a zipper across the top with double adjustable straps sewn to each side and is thirty-three and one-half inches long when fully extended. There is a zippered pocket inside the tote which attaches at the top back. There are five pockets on the front, one is zippered, one has a flap secured with velcro, and the remaining three are open.

The purse measures approximately eleven inches by eight by four inches. It features a double adjustable shoulder strap with metal buckle that is thirty-three inches long when fully extended. There is a zippered pocket inside the purse which attaches to the top back. On the outside of the purse is a front flap pocket secured with velcro.

The travel bag measures approximately nine and one half inches by seven and one half inches. This bag zips across the front and features a six and one-half inch handle.


Is the merchandise classified separately or as a set?


Under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), classification of goods is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the starting point is the terms of the headings and subheadings of the tariff and any relevant section and chapter notes. Heading 4202 provides for suitcases, handbags and travel bags. Subheading 4202.12. provides for suitcases, subheading 4202.22. provides for handbags and subheading 4202.91. provides for travel bags. No subheading specifically provides for suitcases, handbags and travel bags together.

GRI 2(a) is inapplicable to the present merchandise because it concerns incomplete or unassembled articles. GRI 2(b) is also inapplicable because no question arises in this case of headings that refer to materials or substances.

GRI 3 provides for goods that are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings. Since the suitcases, handbags and travel bags are classified under different subheadings, GRI 3 is applicable.

GRI 3(a) provides that when two or more headings each refer
to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods. Each subheading is regarded as equally specific when each refers to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale. Subheadings 4202.12, 4202.22 and 4202.91 each refer to part only of a set for retail sale. Therefore, the subhead- ings are regarded as equally specific, and the classification of the suitcases, handbags and travel bags cannot be determined by relative specificity.

GRI 3(b) provides that goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.

According to the Explanatory Notes which constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, note (X)(a) to GRI 3(b), refers to "goods put up in sets for retail sale" as meaning goods which (a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings and (b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. The instant merchandise fits squarely within the definition of "goods put up in sets for retail sale." As previously stated, the suitcases, handbags and travel bags are classifiable in different subheadings. The merchandise fulfills a particular need of the purchaser by providing a luggage and handbag set for traveling that is visually identifiable as belonging together. The items are intended to be sold together because they are packaged as sets in remailable boxes for retail sale. For the above stated reasons we believe this merchandise is a set for classification purposes.

Inasmuch as the merchandise is considered a set, we must now determine which material or component gives this merchandise its essential character. Pursuant to Explanatory Note (VIII) to GRI 3(b), essential character may be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. It is our view, that the essential character of the set is imparted by the two pullman-type suitcases by virtue of the quantity and value of each.


In view of the foregoing, the luggage set is properly
classified under subheading 4202.12.8070, HTSUSA, which provides for trunks, suitcases, and similar containers, with outer surface of textile materials, other, of man-made fibers, textile category 670, dutiable at the rate of 20 percent ad valorem. This classification represents the present position of the Customs Service regarding the dutiable status of the merchandise under the HTSUSA. If there are changes before the effective date, this advice may not continue to be applicable.


John Durant, Director

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