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HQ 084337

October 23, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084337 JLJ 839579


TARIFF NO.: 4202.32.2000

Mr. Robert D. Stang
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: Tariff classification of a combination holder, telephone and address book, calendar, memorandum pad and pen

Dear Mr. Stang:

You requested tariff classifications for a Super Planner Style R 7057 and a Mini Planner Style R 5087 on behalf of your client, RGA Accessories. You submitted samples of both items, as well as an empty Super Planner. Your associate, Harold Grunfeld, attended a conference at Customs Headquarters concerning these planners. You made an additional submission dated October 4, 1989.


The Super Planner is a number of items fitted into a holder with a plastic exterior. The holder looks like a wallet and has a snap clasp. When it is empty, it has room for a notebook or traveller's checks. It also has a billfold and a sewn-in plastic credit card case. Within this wallet-like holder are an address book, a calendar, a memorandum pad and a pen. The address book, the calendar and the memorandum pad are all of paper. The Mini Planner has the same features as the Super Planner, but it is smaller than the Super Planner.


For tariff classification purposes, does the instant combination article constitute goods put up in a set for retail sale under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(b), HTSUSA, states that goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, define the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" to mean goods which:

(1) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings,

(2) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and

(3) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking
(e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards).

The first qualification is easily met inasmuch as the address book of paper and the memorandum pad of paper would be --if imported separately--classified in Heading 4820, HTSUSA, which provides for registers, account books, notebooks, order books, receipt books, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar articles...of paper, while the ball point pen would be classified under Heading 9608, which provides for ball point pens, among other things.

The second criterion is also met in that the articles put up together are all intended to help the owner organize his activities --i.e., a calendar, an address book, a memorandum pad, a pen with which to record addresses and notes, and a convenient wallet-like holder, with a holder for pictures or cards permanently attached, which packages the other items.

The third and final element of retail sets is also present in that the other articles are packaged in a holder with a snap clasp which constitutes a package suitable for sale directly to users. We find, therefore, that the instant combination article constitutes goods put up in a set for retail sale.

The next question to be determined is the essential character of the set. The Explanatory Notes state that a set's essential character may be determined by the nature of the component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. Clearly the only applicable criterion here is the role of the component article in relation to the overall purpose of the set. Viewed in this light, it is clear that the essential character of the set is determined by the wallet-like container which packages the set in a convenient form and which pulls all the components together. The set as a whole is therefore either classifiable in the provision for wallets and similar containers, of plastic sheeting: articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag: with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials: with outer surface of plastic sheeting: of reinforced or laminated plastics, in subheading 4202.32.1000, HTSUSA, if of reinforced or laminated plastics, or in subheading 4202.32.2000, HTSUSA, if of other plastics, because the essential character of the set lies in the wallet-like container.

You argue that the set must be classified in Heading 4820, which provides for the address book and the memorandum pad, and you cite New York letter 832003 of October 6, 1988, in support of this classification. We note that both the address book and the memorandum pads are small refillable items which are not permanent and which do not impart the essential character as does the wallet-like container. We further note that the merchandise at issue in New York letter 832003 was a leather covered loose-leaf binder filled with paper inserts. The looseleaf binder did not constitute the essential character of the set.

You also argue that the wallet-like container should be classified as a specially shaped container pursuant to General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 5(a), HTSUSA, and that it should be classified with the articles it contains. The instant wallet-like container is more than a mere container. It is a separate entity and constitutes the essential character of the set, therefore GRI 5(a) does not apply.

Finally, you argue that the planners are binders classified in Heading 4820, for paperboard binders, or Heading

3926, for other articles of plastic. You cite a dictionary definition of "binders" and Customs Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 075156 of February 21, 1989. You also argue that the planners' wallet-like container is not similar to the exemplars listed in Heading 4202.

HRL 075156 dealt with a loose-leaf binder, so the merchandise in that letter is distinguishable from the instant merchandise. The instant merchandise is more than a binder. Each planner has sewn-in pockets for its contents, for a pen and for photographs, as well as a billfold and a snap clasp. In point of fact, the planners resemble wallets more than they resemble binders, therefore they are classifiable in Heading 4202, which covers wallets and similar containers.

Schedule 7, Part 12, Subpart A, Headnote 2, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), defined the term "reinforced or laminated plastics" as follows:

2. For the purposes of the tariff schedules, the term "reinforced or laminated plastics" means --

(i) rigid, infusible, insoluble plastics formed by the application of heat and high pressure on two or more superimposed layers of fibrous sheet material which has been impregnated or coated with plastics, or

(ii) rigid plastics comprised of imbedded fibrous reinforcing materials (such as paper, fabric, asbestos, and fibrous glass) impregnated, coated or combined with plastics usually by the applica- tion of heat or heat and low pressure.

Although a definition of "reinforced or laminated plastics" does not appear in the HTSUSA, it is a well settled principle of Customs law that tariff terms are to be construed in accordance with their common and commercial meanings, which are presumed to be the same. Information before this office is that the definition for "reinforced or laminated plastics" under the TSUS, supra, still represents the common and
commercial understanding of those terms. Inasmuch as the wallet-like containers of the instant Super Planner and Mini Planner do not have rigid plastic on their outer surfaces, they cannot be considered to have exterior surfaces of reinforced or laminated plastic. They are therefore classifiable under the provision for wallets ... and similar containers ...: articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag: with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile material: other, in subheading 4202.32.20, HTSUSA.


The instant merchandise constitutes goods put up in a set for retail sale. Both the Super Planner and the Mini Planner are classified in subheading 4202.32.2000. Subheading 4202.32.2000 is dutiable at the rate of 20 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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