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HQ 086310

March 29, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086310 RFC


TARIFF NO.: 4202.32.2000

Ms. Elizabeth Brault
Fingerhut Corporation
4400 Baker Road
Minnetonka, MN 55343

RE: Pocket-size organizer

Dear Ms. Brault:

This ruling letter is in response to your letter dated December 13, 1989, on behalf of Craftmaster Leatherware Corp., concerning the classification of a pocket-size organizer under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The organizer was manufactured in Taiwan and a sample was submitted for examination.


The submitted sample is a set consisting of a plastic, portfolio-type holder which contains a notepad, ballpoint pen, calendar, identification card, and telephone and address book. The sample is identified as a "pocket organizer" and is approximately 3" X 4" in size.


Whether the plastic, portfolio-type holder imparts the essential character to the set.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in numerical order.

GRI 3 provides for goods which may be classifiable under two or more headings. GRI 3(b) states, in part, that "...goods put
up in sets for retail sale...shall be classified as if they consisted of the...component which gives them their essential character...."

Explanatory Note X to GRI 3(b) states, in part, that "the term 'goods put up in sets for retail sale' shall be taken to mean goods which...(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings...(b) consist of products or articles 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 above-described organizers are "goods put up in sets for retail sale," as discussed above, because (1) at least two different articles are classifiable in different headings (e.g., the ballpoint pen in subheading 9608.10.0000, HTSUSA, and the notepad in subheading 4820.10.20, HTSUSA); (2) the various components of the goods are put up together to meet the particular need or to carry out the specific activity of organizing one's activities; and (3) the goods are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

As to the essential character of the set, Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states, in part, that "[essential character]...may be determined by the nature of the material or component...or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods." In the instant case, the component which gives the above-described goods their essential character is the plastic holder because of the indispensable and central role of the holder in relation to the overall use of the goods. The holder is much more than a simple "container," as, for example, a camera case is to a camera. See GRI 5. Rather, the holder functions to bring together all the component goods in a single set so that the component goods interrelate to allow one to organize, in a coordinated and comprehensive fashion, one's activities. The feature of allowing one to organize, in a coordinated and comprehensive fashion, one's activities provides the commercial appeal of the goods and is the source of the common or apt name of the goods: to wit, "organizers."

The above-discussed role of the plastic holder in relation to the overall use of the set shows that the holder is indispensable and central to the function and intended purpose of the goods. Therefore, the holder, as a component of the set, gives the set its essential character, and the set must, as a result, be classified under the subheading for that component.


The above-described organizer is classified under subheading 4202.32.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for trunks, suitcases, vinyl cases, articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag, with outer surface of plastic sheeting, other, and dutiable at the rate of 20 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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