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HQ 086981

August 1, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086981 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 4202.32.9550

Ms. Mona Webster
Target Stores
P.O. Box 1392
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440-1392

RE: Tri-fold Organizer

Dear Ms. Webster:

This ruling is in response to your letter of March 20, 1990 requesting a tariff classification of a textile covered tri-fold organizer under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted for our examination.


The submitted sample, style #33-654, is a 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton textile covered cardboard tri- fold organizer. It contains a note pad, a spiral bound phone and address book and a spiral bound note book. These articles are glued on to the inside of the organizer. The organizer measures approximately 6.25 inches by 3.87 inches.


What is the tariff classification of the tri-fold organizer?


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 order.

GRI 3 provides for goods which may be classifiable under two or more headings. GRI 3(b) is applicable in this case. It provides in pertinent part:

(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.

Explanatory Note (IX) to GRI 3(b) to the HTSUSA, which constitutes the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, provides, in pertinent part:

(IX) For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

As a general rule, the components of these composite goods are put up in a common packing.

In the instant case, since the pad, notebook and address book are glued to the cardboard they form a practically inseparable whole; they form the organizer. Therefore, the organizer is considered a composite good and we must determine which component imparts the essential character of the item pursuant to the factors set out in the applicable Explanatory Note.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b)states that:

The factor which determined 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 the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the instant case, the component which gives the tri- fold organizer its essential character is its textile cover because of the indispensable and central role of the cover in relation to the overall use of the goods. The cover is much more than a simple "container," as, for example, a camera case is to a camera. Rather, the cover 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. This feature of allowing one to organize one's activities provides the commercial appeal of the product and is the source of the common name for the product: "organizers". Therefore, the textile cover imparts the essential character of the composite good. The tri-fold organizer is classifiable under the subheading which applies to the cover.


The tri-fold organizer is classifiable in subheading 4202.32.9550, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag, with outer surface of textile materials, other, of man-made fibers. The textile category is 670 and the rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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