United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
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HQ 084748

August 22, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084748 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 7018.90.5000

Ms. L. Ephie Hearne
Sekin Transport International
1245 Royal Lane
DFW Airport, Texas 75261

RE: Tariff classification of a fully glass beaded handbag

Dear Ms. Hearne:

Your letter dated May 9, 1989, addressed to our New York office concerning the tariff classification of a fully glass beaded handbag made in China, has been referred to this office for a direct reply to you. A sample was submitted for examination.


Sample # 3 designated as style # 20849 is a black rayon handbag with scalloped top and round body with scale designs. The beads are black and white with scale pattern. They are of various sizes and are attached by thread sewn onto a black rayon cover. There is a black nylon zipper across the top of the handbag which measures approximately 8 inches long. Along the scalloped top there are two rows of 1/16 inch diameter, round glass beads. Along the outer seam of the bag are 4 rows of black, 1/16 inch diameter, round glass beads. The scale pattern on each side of the bag is outlined in 1/16 inch diameter round, white glass beads. The shoulder strap is black braided rayon with an approximately 22 inch drop from the shoulder.


Is the handbag classifiable as a handbag or is it classifiable as an article of glass beads?


Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides
that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]."

Handbags are generally classified under heading 4202, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, handbags of leather or of composition leather, of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials.

At first glance, it appears that the handbag may be classified in heading 4202, HTSUSA, or heading 7018, HTSUSA, as glass beads and articles thereof other than imitation jewelry. In order to determine which heading is applicable, we must look to the Explanatory Notes which are the official interpretation of the HTSUS at the international level.

The Explanatory Notes for heading 4202, HTSUSA, state that "[t]his heading covers only the articles specifically named therein and similar containers." The notes go on to say, "[t]he articles of the second part of the heading [the part in which handbags are named] must, . . ., be only of the materials specified therein or must be wholly or mainly covered with such materials (the foundation may be of wood, metal, etc.) (underline added).

It appears fairly clear from the Explanatory Notes that in order to be classified within the provisions of heading 4202, HTSUSA, the handbag at issue must be only of textile materials, not textile materials and glass beads, or must have outer surfaces which are wholly or mainly covered with textile materials. Since the handbag is completely covered with glass beads, it cannot be classified under heading 4202, HTSUSA, because it does not fall within the terms of the heading.

The Explanatory Notes for heading 7018, HTSUSA, contain an exclusion for "[h]andbags and similar articles of leather or fabric, decorated with glass beads, imitation pearls or imitation precious or semiprecious stones (heading 42.02)." We do not believe this exclusion precludes classification of the instant handbag. The glass beads covering the outer surface are more than decoration, they cover the entire, or virtually entire outer surface. Because of this, as previously discussed, the handbag cannot be classified in heading 4202.


The sample handbag is classifiable under subheading 7018.90.5000, HTSUSA, as articles of glass beads with duty at the rate of 6.6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director,

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