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HQ 084732

August 24, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084732 HP


TARIFF NO.: 3923.90.0000

Ms. Dorla Reppas
Import Specialist
Import Department
22301 Foothill Boulevard
Hayward, CA 94541

RE: Classification of a single ring box

Dear Ms. Reppas:

This is in reply to your letter of May 1, 1989, concerning the tariff classification of single ring box, produced in Thailand, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the
United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue consists of a small box with a hinged lid. It is constructed of a plastic shell covered by a flocked textile material. The exterior lid and interior are padded. The article is packed within a cardboard box, and is of the type usually sold at retail with a ring. You state that the box is to be imported in various sizes for other jewelry.


Is the instant article a jewelry box under the HTSUSA?


Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for

[t]runks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases , school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks , purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, bottle cases, and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized rubber or of paper board, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials[.]

To be classified under heading 4202, HTSUSA, an item must be ejusdem generis with the items listed in the provision.
Jewelry boxes traditionally are larger boxes with compartments to store several pieces of jewelry. The box at issue is not in the same class as a jewelry box or as the other items listed. It has no special features that would make it a jewelry box, other than the fact that a ring is placed in a piece of padding capable of storing one ring at a time. This plastic box is used primarily for the promotion of the sale of the ring. It provides protective storage for the ring, but is made of plastic and is easily disposable after purchase. See HRL 081456 SR of August 17, 1988 ( classifying earring boxes outside of heading 4202).

The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While they represent the considered views of clas sification experts from the various member countries and have been approved by the
CCC, they are not binding upon our legal system.

In its Second Session, the Harmonized System Committee (HSC) voted to amend the
Explanatory Notes to Heading 4202, HTSUSA, so as to include the following definition of jewelry boxes:

The term "jewellery boxes" covers not only boxes specially designed for keeping jewelry, but also small lidded containers (with or without hinges) of the type in which individual articles of jewelry are normally sold.

Under this definition, many articles, including the instant merchandise, would be classifiable as jewelry boxes under heading 4202, HTSUSA.

The United States does not agree with the position of the HSC with respect to the merchandise at issue. Accordingly, we have decided to continue to classify such containers as essentially retail packaging under the heading pertaining to the materials of which the article is primarily composed, rather than boxes designed for the keeping of jewelry. As a result, the instant article is not considered a jewelry box under
Heading 4202, HTSUSA.

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with
GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's, taken in order.

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) [goods of more than one material or substance] or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) [which requires that goods be classified, if possible, under the more specific of the competing provisions], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.
Although the box is completely lined with fabric, the plastic imparts the essential character of the merchandise. The plastic is superior in bulk, provides the box with its structural integrity, and serves to protect the contents.


As a result of the foregoing, the merchandise at issue is classifiable under subheading
3923.90.0000, as articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics, other. Pursuant to 502(a)(3) of the Trade
Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2462(a)(3)) and General Note 3(c)(ii)(A), HTSUSA, Thailand has been designated a beneficiary developing country for the purposes of the Generalized
System of Preferences (GSP), provided for in Title V of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.). Provided all applicable requirements are met under the GSP program, this merchandise may be entered free of duty. Otherwise, the applicable rate of duty is 3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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