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HQ 082271

December 1, 1988

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 082271 SR


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.1500 4202.1240 9017.80

Laurie M.H. Palmenco
H. Bernbaum Import Export Co.
3370 Commercial Avenue
Northbrook, Illinois 60062-1990

RE: Classification of canvas bags

Dear Ms. Palmenco:

This is in reference to your letter dated January 8, 1988, requesting the classification of cotton bags under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) and the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Because the HTSUSA is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 1989, we are only providing classification for goods under this tariff schedule.


The merchandise at issue is eleven cotton bags from the People's Republic of China. The importer claims that these bags are classifiable as handbags. The importer's model numbers are NT614, NT620, K337, K338, NT680, NT690, NT602, GP70, FT836, K330, and B400. Samples and the importer's catalogue with descriptions of each bag were provided. The bags are as follows:

The bag which is labeled model number NT614 is listed in the importer's catalogue as a dowel rod beach bag that is a carry-all which measures 18" x 16 1/2" x 12". It is described in the catalogue as having dowel rod handles that pull open to accommodate over stuffing and close tightly for shoulder carriage.

NT620 is listed as a shoulder bag. It is a yarn dyed woven tote which features a large central compartment with two internal pockets, three separate snap pockets, and a zippered pocket flap with hook and loop velcro closures. It has a long adjustable shoulder strap. It is described as perfect for school, picnics, a lightweight diaper bag, or many uses in the home. This bag measures 21"x 14" x 5".

K337 and K338 are listed as zipper top totes made of natural cotton canvas. The catalogue description states that these bags are a unique adaptation of the classic Ice Bag Tote. The tote features a wide top that folds in or out to accommodate large items and zips shut to protect them. They also contain a small zipper pocket and a metal hook on the inside of the bag. Model K337 measures 14" x 18" x 6". Model K338 is 18" x 20" x 7".

NT680 is a reversible rope tote. It is a traditional open tote bag with rope handles reinforced by canvas strips. It has yarn dyed stripes on one side and solid chambray on the other with an extra pocket on both ends for small items. It measures 16" x 15" x 7".

Model NT690 is a traditional rope tote. It has rope handles which are reinforced with canvas strips. There are two outside pockets which are advertised in the importer's catalogue as perfect for keys or a collapsible umbrella. It measures 13 1/2" x 14" x 5 1/2".

NT602 is listed as a plumber's bag. It has a large inside pocket and a plastic strip sewn to the inside bottom of the bag which gives it a stiff flat bottom surface. The handles are canvas covered and short for hand carrying rather than shoulder straps. A plastic zipper allows for closure of the top of the bag. The bag measures 17" x 13 1/2" x 17 1/2".

GP70 is called the "Europa" and is claimed in the importer's catalogue to be the ideal utility shoulder bag. It is described as a versatile "Scandinavian school bag" which can also be used as a briefcase or a purse. There are two pockets with snap flap closures, an expandable main compartment, and an exterior flap with a zippered pocket and velcro hook and loop closures. It comes with a wooden 12" ruler which is inserted into a special pocket and clear vinyl envelopes sewn into the top flap which hold a blank schedule and I.D. This bag made of cotton canvas measures 23" x 6 1/2" x 11".

FT836 is listed as a lady's business tote. It is claimed to be made of sturdy 22 ounce double stitched cotton canvas. The bag is made up of three compartments which have snap closures at the top. The center pocket contains a small zippered pocket and several compartments sewn to the inside which are described in the catalogue as organizers for pens, calculator or checkbook and a change purse. It measures 15" x

K330 is called the icebag tote. It is described as a durable "marine" style tote with a reinforced bottom for strength. It has a double layer of canvas to provide this reinforcement. The top of the bag is open and it has two short canvas straps as handles. It measures 18" x 12" x 6".

B400, called the Northwestern, is described as a fashionable adaption of the military style duffle made of 22 ounce cotton canvas. It has a large outside zippered pocket which measures 9" x 11" x 1", and a side zipper which allows access to the contents of the duffle. It has the traditional duffle style of closing at the top, three metal rings which fit over a loop. There is a long adjustable strap which hooks to the bottom of the bag and also hooks to the loop at the top to hold the bag closed. There is also a small handle attached to the side of the bag. The bag measures 12" x 24".


Whether the canvas bags at issue are classifiable as handbags.


Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for:

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases . . . and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags . . . sports bags . . . and similar containers, . . . of textile materials . . .

The bags at issue cannot be classified as handbags as claimed by the importer. Most of the bags are in the style of the typical tote and are too big to be considered a handbag. The term "handbags" includes pocket books, purses, shoulder bags, clutch bags, and similar articles customarily carried by women or girls, but not including luggage, flat goods or shopping bags. Tote bags are those bags that are larger than
handbags. They are substantially constructed and designed to contain various items including clothing and personal effects while traveling, and usually have at least one side which exceeds 12 inches in length.

The smallest of the bags at issue measures 13 1/2" x 14" x 5 1/2". They are all substantially constructed of cotton with thick sturdy handles. The language used in the catalogue descriptions also implies that these bags are not considered to be handbags. NT614 is described as a beach bag which opens up to accommodate over stuffing. NT620 is described as perfect for school, picnics or as a lightweight diaper bag as well as useful in any home. FT836 is called the Lady's Business Tote and is described as convenient for separating papers, pens, calculator, etc. Most of the bags are called tote bags by the importer and are described as being sturdy and capable of holding a lot of items. None of the descriptions provided in the importer's catalogue indicate that any of these bags are intended to be used as a handbag.

Bag GP70 is called the "Scandinavian school bag." It is designed in the style of a school satchel and it comes with a ruler and a school schedule and an I.D. School bags are bags which have been obviously designed or intended for a student to carry books, gym or other school-related items while traveling from place to place. GP70 is obviously designed to be used to carry books to and from school classes.


The bags at issue which are listed by importer's model numbers NT614, NT620, K337, K338, NT680, NT690, NT602, FT836, K330, and B400 are classifiable under subheading 4202.92.1500, HTSUSA, as travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, of vegetable fibers and not of pile or tufted construction with a rate of duty of 7.2 percent ad valorem. The textile category number is 369.

The school satchel which is importer model number GP70, is classifiable under subheading 4202.12.40, HTSUSA, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, school satchels and similar containers, with outer surface of textile materials, of vegetable fibers and not of pile or tufted construction, of cotton with a rate of duty of 7.2 percent ad valorem. The textile category number is 369. The ruler that comes with the school satchel is classified separately under subheading 9017.80, HTSUSA, as instruments for measuring length, for use in the hand, other instruments, with a duty rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem.

This classification represents the present position of the Customs Service regarding the dutiable status of the merchandise under the HTSUSA. The HTSUSA is scheduled to replace the TSUS on January 1, 1989. If there are changes before the HTSUSA becomes effective this advice may not continue to be applicable.


John Durant, Director

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