United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0084687 - HQ 0084763 > HQ 0084715

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 084715

August 24, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084715 JBW


TARIFF NO.: 3923.10.0000

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

RE: Stationery Kit

Dear Ms. Webster:

Your letter of May 1, 1989, addressed to our New York office, has been referred to this office for reply concerning the classification of your stationery kit under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise submitted for classification is a child's "Stationery Kit," Sample 87-7. This item consists of a rigid plastic box, two wooden pencils, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, two plastic clips, a small memo pad, and a ruler that has comb teeth on one edge and six stencil shapes cut out from the body. The box has two compartments that may house the pencils, sharpener, and eraser. The ruler will also fit within the confines of the box. These items are packaged for retail sale covered with clear plastic and attached to a cardboard backing.


What is the appropriate classification for the merchandise under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) provide the rules for classification under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

The individual items in the sample will be imported in a single retail package and are separately classifiable under different headings of the Nomenclature. GRI 3 applies when goods are classifiable under two or more headings; GRI 3(b) governs goods put up in sets for retail sale.

The first issue to be considered under GRI 3(b) is whether the items are put up in a set for retail sale. The Explanatory Notes, which represent the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, for GRI 3(b) define "goods put up in sets for retail sale." Such goods: (a) consist of at least two different articles that are classifiable in different headings, (b) consist of products put up 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 stationery kit constitutes a set under these criteria. The individual items are classifiable under two or more headings and are packaged in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. The particular purpose or specific activity of these articles is to create a portable set of items for writing or drawing.

GRI 3(b) requires classification of these items as if they consisted of the component that gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes state that the factor determining essential character may vary as between different kinds of goods. The Notes suggest such factor may be determined by the nature of a component or material, its bulk, quantity, weight, or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the present case, the box imparts the essential character of the set. The value of the box comprises approximately one third of the total value of the entire set and is more than twice that of the ruler, the item of the next highest value. The bulk of the box exceeds all other items. Finally, the box serves a central role for the set. The pencils, eraser, sharpener, and ruler all fit into the box.

The plastic box is classifiable as a plastic box for the conveyance of goods under Heading 3923. It is not a pencil- or pen-holder of the type enumerated under Heading 9608.


The "Stationery Kit" submitted for classification is a set. The box imparts the essential character to the set. This item is therefore classifiable under subheading 3923.10.0000, HTSUSA, under the provision for plastic boxes for the conveyance or packaging of goods with a rate of duty of 3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: