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HQ 082476

October 31, 1988

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082476 c


TARIFF NO.: 386.14; 4202.92.3030

Louis S. Shoichet, Esq.
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
Counsellors at Law
One Whitehall Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Tariff classification of a nylon folding shopping bag manufactured in Taiwan

Dear Mr. Shoichet:

In your letter dated September 22, 1987, you inquired as to the tariff classification under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) and under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule Annotated (HTSUSA), of a nylon folding shopping bag. A sample designated as style No. 402 was submitted for examination.


The sample bag has an open top, double handles, and an inside zippered pocket. A textile label with the word "traveler" sewed or stitched thereon is sewn on the front and bottom of the bag. This bag is designed so that when the entire article is folded it resembles a wallet which has a complete zipper closure. When open the bag measures approximately 15 inches in height by 13-1/2 inches in width. When folded the bag measures approximately 6 inches by 5-1/2 inches.


Whether the instant bag is a handbag or a shopping bag for tariff purposes.


Schedule 7, Part 1, Subpart D, Headnote 2(b), TSUS, provides that "the term 'handbags' covers pocketbooks, purses, shoulder bags, clutch bags, and all similar articles, by
whatever name known, customarily carried by women or girls, but not including luggage or flat goods as defined herein or shopping bags."

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 074556 dated March 18, 1985, this office ruled that a nylon folding tote bag similar in all material respects to style 402 is classifiable under the provision for other articles not specially provided for, of textile materials, ornamented in item 386.13, TSUS.

Our rationale for this holding was as follows:

1. There was evidence submitted that the bag was bought and sold as a shopping bag. The specific evidence presented consisted of printed matter from a New York retail store advertising the item as an "expandable shopping bag" retailing for $15.00.

2. Additional evidence that the bag is a shopping bag was submitted in the form of Montgomery Ward catalogs in which the tote bag is advertised as a "Boxed Shopping Tote" or an "expandable shopping bag" with a normal retail price of $7.00 and a sales price of $4.99.

3. The nylon folding bag is designed after folding to be placed in a handbag and taken out and opened after purchases are made and thereafter used to carry the purchases home.

Our decision to classify the nylon folding tote bag under item 386.13, TSUS, rather than as luggage of textile materials in item 706.41, TSUS, was later supported by affidavits from a buyer of women's fashion accessories for all of Bradlees' stores and from a buyer of luggage for all of the Sears stores, and from a former fashion accessories buyer for Sears.

The Bradlees affidavit dated February 25, 1988, indicated that style Nos. 401 (which is similar to 402) and 402 are bought and sold as folding totes (expanding) tote bags and not as handbags or as luggage. Furthermore, these bags are advertised as "shopping totes" which can be folded into a pouch for use when shopping.

The Sears affidavit dated March 30, 1988, indicates that style No. 401 does not constitute either a handbag or luggage within the common or commercial meanings of those terms. Further, style No. 401 would be used primarily for shopping.

This affidavit also noted that this style does not have a handbag-type shape and would not be purchased by a consumer in lieu of a handbag.

The Sears affidavit dated April 1, 1988, states that style No. 4010 (similar to 402) was bought and sold by Sears as folding (expanding) tote shopping bags and not as handbags or as luggage. Further, the affiant asserts that based on his experience in the trade, style No. 4010 is not considered to be a handbag or luggage.

In view of the foregoing, it remains our opinion that style 402 is a shopping bag for tariff purposes. It is to be noted that shopping bags are not considered handbags pursuant to Schedule 7, Part 1, Subpart D, Headnote 2(b), TSUS, supra.

Further, style 402 is not within the purview of the term "luggage" as defined in Schedule 7, Part 1, Subpart D, Headnote 2, TSUS, because it is not a travel good or a like article designed to contain clothing or other personal effects during travel or is it a like container or case designed to be carried with the person which is similar to the exemplars named therein.

Classification under the HTSUSA is resolved under the rules and specific language in that tariff law. Heading 4202, HTSUSA, specifically names shopping bags. Additional U.S. Note 1 to chapter 42 provides in pertinent part as follows:

1. For the purposes of heading 4202, the expres- sion "travel, sports and similar bags" means goods, other than those falling in subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading, ***.

It is our opinion that because style No. 402 is known in the trade as a shopping bag, it should be so considered for purposes of classification under the HTSUSA.


Style No. 402 is a shopping bag classifiable under the provision for other articles not specially provided for, of textile materials, ornamented, in item 386.14 (formerly 386.13), TSUS, and dutiable at the rate of 10 percent ad valorem.

Under the HTSUSA style No. 402 is a shopping bag classifiable under subheading 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA, as travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, other, of man-made fibers, other with duty at the rate of 20 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile category number is 670.

The classifications set forth in this letter represent the current position of the Customs Service regarding the dutiable status of the merchandise under the HTSUSA which becomes effective on January 1, 1989. If there are changes before that date, this advice may not continue to be applicable.


John Durant, Director

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