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HQ 084679

September 20, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084679 CB


TARIFF NO.: 4823.90.8500

Ms. Donna L. Allard
Marquel Limited
1864 Rollins Road
Burlingame, California 94010

RE: Classification of paperboard box with mirror

Dear Ms. Allard:

This ruling letter is issued in response to your letter of May 23, 1989, requesting a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for a fabric-covered paperboard box with mirror and two drawers to be imported from Hong Kong.


One sample was submitted for classification. The subject merchandise is a fabric-covered paperboard box. This box has two drawers suitable for jewelry or make-up and has a mirror on the box lid. The box will be imported in various fabrics, but with the same construction and content.


Whether the subject merchandise is classified as a textile or paperboard product?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 states, in part, that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes ...." In applying GRI 1, GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials "...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...."

The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) state that the factors which determine the essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. The 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. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level.

It is Customs position that the subject box is not classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUSA, which provides, among other things, for jewelry boxes and similar containers. Unlike a typical jewelry box, the sample lacks compartments and a felt or similar lining. It is also not a "similar container" because the examples cited by the Explanatory Notes represent articles or classes of articles which are designed to contain specific items. No mention is made of general purpose containers such as the one at issue which are designed to hold a variety of articles.

The sample at issue consists of composite goods classifiable in different headings which describe the component materials. The cardboard portion is classifiable in Chapter 48, HTSUSA, while the textile portion is classifiable in Chapter 63, HTSUSA. With regard to the subject merchandise, the essential character of this composite good is the cardboard frame. It gives the box its form and structural integrity. If the cardboard were removed, the box would cease to function as a box. In comparison, the elimination of the textile portion would be immaterial to the use of the box. The textile is merely a decorative feature to enhance the visual appearance.


The subject box with mirror is classified under subheading 4823.90.8500, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of paper or paperboard dutiable at the rate of 5.3% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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