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HQ 084045

July 21, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084045 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.1500;9004.10.0000

Ms. Mona Webster
Import Customs Specialist
Target Stores
33 South Sixth Street
P.O. Box 1392
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440-1392

RE: Tariff classification of a cotton tote bag with sunglasses made in China

Dear Ms. Webster:

In a letter dated March 23, 1989, you inquired as to the tariff classification of a cotton canvas tote bag with sunglasses. A sample was submitted for examination.


The sample tote bag measures approximately 10 inches in width and 9-1/4 inches in height and is made of cotton canvas. It has two cotton canvas carrying straps. Attached to the bag is a transparent, plastic sunglass case containing a pair of plastic sunglasses. Imprinted on the front of the bag is the representation of an elephant on roller skates pulling a wagon holding a cat and a bear. The plastic glasses are so positioned on the bag as to give the impression that the elephant is wearing them. You indicate that the principal use in the United States for this merchandise will be as a kid's tote bag.


Does the combination consisting of the tote bag and the sunglasses constitute a set for tariff purposes?


In applying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), the Customs Service must follow thew terms of the statute. Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]." In other words classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and relative section or chapter notes

GRI 2(b), HTSUSA, provides in part that "[t]he classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of Rule 3."

We note that the tote bag is classifiable under subheading 4202.92.1500, HTSUSA, while the sunglasses are classifiable under subheading 9004.10.0000, HTSUSA. When goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings or subheadings in the HTSUSA, classification must be determined based on the sequential application of the principles set out in GRI 3, HTSUSA, which reads as follows:

3. When, by application of Rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods . . . those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and 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, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, is relevant here because GRI 3(a), HTSUSA, cannot be used in determining classification. The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3, HTSUSA, state that the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" means goods that:

(a) consist of at least two different articles prima facie classifiable in different headings (or, by GRI 6, subheadings).

(b) consist of products or articles put 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 cotton canvas tote bag and the sunglasses do not constitute a set for tariff purposes. A product must meet all of the above conditions in order to be regarded as a set. The fact that miscellaneous items, as is the case here, are packaged together for retail sale does not mean that the merchandise may be considered a set. All of the items which are packaged together must be dedicated to as "particular need" or "specific activity." In this instance the tote bag and the sunglasses perform diverse functions and are not geared to a "particular need" or a "specific activity."

Pursuant to GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, classification of the tote bag with the transparent, plastic sunglass case attached is dependent on the component or material which imparts its essential character. The Explanatory Note for GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, reads in pertinent part as follows:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material, its bulk, quantity, weight, or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

Here there is no doubt that the essential character of the tote bag with the attached transparent eyeglass case is imparted by the cotton canvas tote bag. Certainly, the sunglass case is subordinate to the tote bag in terms of value, weight, and bulk. Consequently, the tote bag with the attached sunglass case is 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, of cotton.

The plastic sunglasses are separately classifiable under subheading 9004.10.0000, HTSUSA, as spectacles, goggles and the like, corrective, protective or other, sunglasses.


The tote bag with the attached plastic sunglass case is classifiable under subheading 4202.92.1500, HTSUSA, and dutiable at the rate of 7.2 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile category is 369.

The sunglasses are classifiable under subheading 9404.10.0000, HTSUSA, with duty at the rate of 7.2 percent ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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