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HQ 085347

October 3, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085347 JLJ, 844193


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9050

Mr. David Krakauer
Vice President, Operations
RGA Accessories, Inc.
4 West 33rd Street
New York, New York 10001-3386

RE: Nested textile-covered boxes

Dear Mr. McGehee:

You requested a tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for three nested boxes, style JBR-106. You submitted a sample along with your request.


You state that the instant boxes are jewelry boxes, but there is no indication that they are specially adapted for use as jewelry boxes (i.e., fittings for earrings, rings, etc.), so we regard them as general purpose boxes.

The sample submitted is a three-box nested set, with a small box inside a slightly larger box, both of which fit inside a still larger box. They are made of cotton-covered cardboard.

You state that China is the country of origin, but each box has a label which says "Made in Hong Kong."

You also state that you received a non-binding ruling from CST-203, a New York Seaport commodity team, that the merchandise was classified under the provision for other articles of paper: other: other: other: other: other, in subheading 4823.90.8500, HTSUSA.

Finally, you submit a value breakdown for a box called JBR 103 which states that the cotton covering is in chief value.

Since this is a different item number and mentions several components not found in the instant merchandise (i.e., mirror, snap buckle, ribbon and sponge), however, we assume that this value breakdown does not apply to the instant merchandise.


What is the classification of the nested boxes?


The issue confronting us is the classification of the textile-covered boxes. The box will be classified according to the material which imparts the essential character of the boxes. The question is, does the textile covering impart the essential character of the box, or does the cardboard frame?

In applying the HTSUSA, the Customs Service must follow the terms of the statute. Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). 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]". In other words classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and relative section or chapter notes.

GRI 2(b), HTSUSA, provides in part that "The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of Rule 3."

GRI 3, HTSUSA, reads in pertinent part as follows:

3. When, by application of Rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to the headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(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), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) state in pertinent part as follows:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, 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.

In this case, what is being marketed is much more than a cardboard box. There are elements of beauty, texture and good taste which provide much of the appeal of the textile-covered boxes. Although the cardboard frame provides structural integrity, it cannot compare with the beauty and the value of the textile covering. It is apparent that the aesthetic appeal and the marketability of the boxes are dependent upon the textile covering.

In view of the foregoing, it is our opinion that the essential character of the textile-covered boxes is imparted by the textile covering. Following GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, the textile- covered boxes are classifiable under the provision for other made up textile articles: other: other: other, in subheading 6307.90.9050, HTSUSA, dutiable at the rate of 7 percent ad valorem.


The nested cotton-covered boxes are classified in subheading 6307.90.9050, HTSUSA.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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