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HQ 084657

June 13, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G: 084657 DPS


TARIFF NO.: 3923.10.0000

Ms. Anne L. Friedman
International Manufacturing Coordinator
Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.
1330 Regal Row
P.O. Box 47167
Dallas, Texas 75247

RE: Classification of empty plastic cosmetic compact

Dear Ms. Friedman:

Your letter of May 1, 1989, to our New York office, has been referred to this office for a ruling on the tariff classification of empty plastic cosmetic compacts imported from Mexico, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were submitted with your letter.


The article requiring HTSUSA classification is a compact made of injection molded plastics. The item measures 3" x 2 5/8". The box is hinged and latched for tight closure. A small mirror is imbedded on the inside of its top portion. The compact is designed for carrying cosmetics which are sold separately and inserted into the bottom of the compact after importation.


How the empty plastic compact is properly classified under the HTSUSA.


The General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System (GRI's) govern classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. According to GRI 1, the primary consideration in determining whether merchandise should be classified in a heading should be given to the language of the heading and any relevant chapter or section notes. The subheadings at issue in this case are:

(a) 3923.10.0000, HTSUSA, articles for the conveyance or packing of goods,of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics: boxes, cases, crates and similar articles; and

(b) 4202.32.2000, HTSUSA, for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag, with outer surface of plastic sheeting: other.

Here, subheading 4202.32.2000 appears to describe the item except for the terms, "with outer surface of plastic sheeting." Heading 4202 provides, in pertinent part:

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, brief cases...sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases, and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of plastic sheeting, or textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials.

As applied to the plastic compact at issue, the above quoted heading language indicates that an item must be made of one of the materials specified. To fall under this heading, the plastic compact must have an outer surface of plastic sheeting. In Sekisui Products, Inc. v. United States, 63 Cust. Ct. 123, C.D. 3885 (1969), the court cited with approval, Webster's definition of "sheets." The dictionary definition is as follows:
sheet 5: a broad thinly expanded portion of metal or other substance.
sheeting 1: a material in the form of sheets***b: material (as a plastic) in the form of continuous

Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1986).

Consistent with the definitions cited above, an item that is made of injection molded plastics, 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, subheading 4202.32.2000.

The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes for heading 3923, HTSUSA, state that the heading covers all articles of plastics commonly used for packing or conveyance of all kinds of products. The compact in question is to be used for packing cosmetic creams. Therefore, subheading 3923.10.0000, the provision for boxes, cases, crates and similar articles, of plastics, describes this article.


The plastic compact, to be used for carrying cosmetics (which are sold separately), is properly classifiable under the provision for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics: boxes, cases, crates and similar articles, in subheading 3923.10.0000 HTSUSA. Items classified under this subheading are dutiable at the rate of 3 percent ad valorem. Items within this classification which are products of Mexico, a beneficiary nation under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP),are entitled to duty free treatment under the GSP upon compliance with all applicable regulations.


John Durant, Director

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