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HQ 084950

September 20, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084950 JLJ


TARIFF NO.: 3926.10.0000

Mr. Jeffrey H. Pfeffer
Professional Services Group
Fritz Companies, Inc.
40 Exchange Place, 12th Floor
New York, New York 10005

RE: Reconsideration of New York Letter 825171 concerning the classification of an unfinished Executive Trapper Keeper

Dear Mr. Pfeffer:

On behalf of your client, The Mead Corporation, you requested a reconsideration of New York letter 825171 of October 2, 1987, which classified an unfinished Executive Trapper Keeper, style 46096, under the provision for attache cases, briefcases and similar containers, with outer surface of plastics, in subheading 4202.12.2030, HTSUSA. You submitted a sample of the item with your request.


You identify the trapper keeper as an unfinished binder or portfolio made in Taiwan. It is made of heavy gauge paperboard overlaid with vinyl. It is of modified trifold construction, with the front and back panels measuring approximately 13 inches by 10-1/2 inches and a flap measuring approximately 4- 1/2 inches in width and extending the full length of the folder. The gusset measures approximately 1-1/2 inches in width.

An open pocket is sewn to the inside front panel. On this pocket a compartment to hold business cards is heat sealed. After importation, the folder will be finished by the addition of a three ring binder mechanism to the inner gusset, the attachment of a metal clip with writing pad to one side and the installation of a velcro strip to the inside of the flap to close it more securely and to protect the edges of looseleaf paper or paper file folders held therein.


What is the classification of the trapper keeper under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated


Based on the information and sample supplied, we agree that the trapper keeper is an unfinished ring binder which is not classifiable in Heading 4202.

You suggest classification under several subheadings, but your chief claim is that the trapper keeper is an unfinished looseleaf binder or portfolio classified under the provision for registers, account books, notebooks, order books, receipt books, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar articles in subheading 4820.10.40, HTSUSA. You cite New York letter 832003 of October 6, 1988, as support for this claim.

New York letter 832003 classified a looseleaf binder filled with paper inserts similar to notebooks and paper pads in subheading 4820.10.40, HTSUSA, because the inserts were similar to the articles listed for that provision. The classification was based on the paper inserts, however, not on the looseleaf binder. Inasmuch as the unfinished trapper keeper has no such inserts at the time of importation, it cannot be classified in subheading 4820.10.40, HTSUSA.

Both of your claims-- i.e., that the trapper keeper is an unfinished looseleaf binder or an unfinished portfolio -- must meet the requirements of Heading 4820, which specifies that the articles are of paper or paperboard. Inasmuch as the instant trapper keeper is of paperboard overlaid with vinyl, it is a composite good made of different materials. General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(b), HTSUSA, states that we must determine the essential character of the instant composite good.

In the trapper keeper, the paperboard provides the structural integrity. The vinyl performs the essential task of joining the individual cardboard sections into a whole. The vinyl also provides the visual appeal and marketability of the complete article. While no cost breakdown was submitted, it is
evident that the cost of the plastic is greater than that of the cardboard. We conclude that the essential character of the trapper keeper is imparted by the vinyl overlay. Inasmuch as its essential character is the vinyl, it cannot be classified as a binder or portfolio of paper or paperboard.


The trapper keeper is classified under the provision for other articles of plastics: office or school supplies, in subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA, dutiable at the rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem. New York letter 825171 is revoked.


John Durant, Director

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