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HQ 084068

July 21, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084068 CMR



Ms. Julie White
Import Specialist
P.O. Box 870
Seattle, Washington 98111-0870

RE: Reconsideration of NYRL 837830 of March 17, 1989

Dear Ms. White:

This ruling is in response to your letter of March 28, 1989, requesting reconsideration of NYRL 837830 of March 17, 1989. In that ruling, plastic hangers imported with garments were classified with the garments with which they are imported.


Samples of various styles of hangers were submitted. All of the hangers are plastic with metal wire top hooks. Some have metal clasps for skirts or slacks. The hangers are imported with garments for the purpose of shipping and handling the garments they support. The hangers are removed from these garments at retail. When a garment is sold, the hanger is removed and reused to display another garment.

The countries of origin of the hangers are Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea.


Were the hangers properly classified in NYRL 837830 with the garments with which they are imported?


The classification of the plastic hangers with the garments with which they are imported in NYRL 837830 was based on the decision in Holly Stores, Inc. v. The United States, 534 F. Supp. 818 (1981),
aff'd, 697 F.2d 1387 (Fed.Cir. 1982). Although this decision involves the interpretation of the meaning of "reuse" as it appears in General Headnote 6(b) of the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), we believe it is applicable in understanding the meaning of "repetitive use" as it appears in General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 5(b) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. Each provision addresses the issue of when containers imported with goods are classifiable with those goods or classifiable separately.

Holly Stores involved the classification of plastic and plastic coated wire clothes hangers imported with garments by the plaintiff, Holly Stores. The issue turned on whether the hangers were "designed for, or capable of, reuse" within the meaning of General Headnote 6(b), TSUS. If considered designed for, or capable of, reuse, the hangers were to be treated as separate articles of commerce; if not, they were to be treated as part of the value of the clothing with which they were shipped and dutied at the rate for the clothing.

You state that the hangers at issue are used for more than the shipping and handling of the garments with which they are imported. The hangers are reused many times for displaying other garments in your stores. The hangers in Holly Stores were also used for displaying other garments after the garments they were shipped with were sold. The Court in Holly Stores found that such "reuse" of the hangers was not sufficient to be considered reuse in the commercial sense as contemplated in General Headnote 6(b). The reuse of the hangers by the plaintiff's stores was "limited to the operation of [the plaintiff's] own enterprise." The Court found the reuse of the hangers to be only "incidental and fugitive relative to [the plaintiff's] own scale of operations." While we recognize that the hangers at issue here are more substantial in construction than those at issue in Holly Stores, their use is very much the same.

The term "reuse" as used in the container provision, General Headnote 6(b), is reuse in a practical, commercial sense. It is reuse in terms of commercial shipping or transportation purposes. Tariff Classification Study, Seventh Supplemental Report, page 99. Reuse such as that claimed is not the reuse contemplated. As the Court stated in Holly Stores at 289, the hangers do not enter the mainstream of commerce; they do not become separate items of commerce. The function of the hangers was for shipment and presentation of the garments to the consumer. Reuse of the hangers to hang other garments was not viewed by the Court as a reuse in the commercial sense intended in General Headnote 6(b).

We believe the Court's interpretation of "reuse" in Holly Stores applies to the interpretation of "repetitive use" in GRI 5(b) and the correct application of that Rule of Interpretation. "Clearly suitable for repetitive use" as used in GRI 5(b) is taken to mean repetitive use in the practical, commercial sense. This interpretation follows the case law as reflected in Holly Stores and
other various container cases. See, United States v. Hohner et al., 4 Ct.Cust.Appls. 122, T.D. 33393 (1913); United States v. W.J. Mulligan & Co., 29 CCPA 117, C.A.D. 179 (1941); and R.J. Saunders & Co., Inc. v. United States, 69 Cust. Ct. 151, C.D. 4387 (1972).

The reuse of the hangers at issue is not viewed as a repetitive use in the commercial sense.


The hangers at issue were correctly classified in NYRL 837830 with the garments with which they are imported, and therefore, dutiable at the same rate as such garments.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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