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HQ 083386

September 15, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083386 DSN


TARIFF NO.: 3923.10.0000, 3924.90.5000

Mr. Edward J. Murray
Director of Importing
Allied of Chicago, Inc.
190 Carpenter Avenue
Wheeling, IL 60090

RE: Tissue tote and cotton ball/applicator tip organizers

Dear Mr. Murray:

This ruling letter is in reference to your request of May 3, 1988, for tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for organizers produced in China or Hong Kong. Samples were submitted for examination.


Three samples were submitted. Style number V108 is a tissue tote which measures approximately 3 inches by 4 inches. It is made of injected molded plastic with a a metal strip across the top of the case. The inside top cover contains a mirror while the bottom cover is fitted with a cut-out oval tray designed to hold tissues in place. The tissues are packaged inside the tote case.

The other two samples consist of a decanter style organizer, of clear acrylic plastic, designed for storing cotton balls and applicator tips, or make-up sponges. The organizer consists of two separate containers attached at the base. One of the containers is slightly taller and has a slightly larger diameter than the other container. Each container has a separate top. One sample contains make-up sponges and eye makeup (tip) applicators and the package describes the product as a "sponge 'n applicator", which measures approximately 5 inches by 5-1/2 inches which keeps puffs, swabs, pens, pencils, candies in easy
sight. The box describes this product as providing hundreds of uses. The cosmetic accessories that are provided are from Taiwan, although the cotton balls may also be purchased from South Korea or Hong Kong. The other sample is identical except it does not contain any cosmetic accessories. It is packaged as a cotton ball and swab holder and the box does not list any other uses.


How are the samples at issue classified under the HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. Pursuant to GRI 1, the plastic decanter alone would be classified in heading 3924, HTSUSA, as other household and toilet articles. However, since one of the decanters and the compact tissue tote contains cosmetic accessories, and no one heading describes the complete article, classification is in accordance with GRI 3.

GRI 3(b) provides that goods put up in sets for retail sale which cannot be classified by GRI 3(a), are classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) state that goods put up in sets for retail sale are those which consist of at least two different articles which are classifiable in different headings; consist of products of articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

The two articles at issue are classifiable under different headings because they contain tissues, mirror, sponges, and/or eye makeup applicators as well as the decanter or tote. They are also put together to meet a particular need of the consumer in having their cosmetic accessories in specific containers. In addition, the articles are suitable for sale directly to the purchaser without repacking. Thus, the cosmetic accessories and the decanters are considered sets.

Having determined that the two samples are considered sets, we must decide the essential character in order to properly classify the samples. According to the Explanatory Notes 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 opinion that the containers impart the essential character because their value is much greater than the value of either the sponges or applicators or tissues. These cosmetic articles are merely included with the containers as an inducement to purchase the holders.

With respect to the classification of the tissue case, subheading 4202.32.2000, HTSUSA provides for articles of the kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag, with outer surface of plastic sheeting, other. Inasmuch as Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides only for "...similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of composition leather, of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials, if the tissue case is not of plastic sheeting it does not fall in heading 4202, HTSUSA. Therefore, if the tissue case does not have an outer surface of plastic sheeting, the issue becomes whether is it considered plastic articles for the coveyance or packing of goods. If so, the tissue case will be classifiable in the provision for these articles under subheading 3923.10.00, HTSUSA.

It is our position that an article which is made directly from a mass of plastic which never becomes a "sheet" or "sheeting" and which never has a "sheet" or "sheeting" applied to its surface cannot be classified under the provision for articles with outer surface of plastic sheeting under subheading 4202.32.2000, HTSUSA. In HRL 082262 of August 14, 1989, a plastic tissue case similar to the sample at issue was classified under subheading 3923.10.0000, HTSUSA, based on the same analysis. See also HRL 083600 of May 24, 1989, and HRL 084657 of June 13, 1989, where a lipstick case and a cosmetic compact were classified under heading 3923, HTSUSA.


The tissue case is classified under subheading 3923.10.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for articles for the conveyance of packing of goods, of plastics, boxes, cases, crates and similar articles, and dutiable at the rate of 3 percent ad valorem.

The decanter style organizers are classified under subheading 3924.90.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics, other, other, and dutiable at the rate of 3.4 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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