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HQ 086774

July 17, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086774 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9050; 7323.93.0080

Ms. Mona Webster
Target Stores
33 South Sixth Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440-1392

RE: Stationery gift box; Pencil box; Stationery gift set; Pencil cup set; Stationery organizer; letter holder; textile, cardboard, paperboard and steel; textile covered; sets.

Dear Ms. Webster:

We have received your correspondence regarding the classification of certain textile covered desk accessory items. Your inquiries and samples of the subject goods were forwarded to this office for reply. We have reviewed your submission and our ruling follows.


This ruling addresses the goods submitted in five different letters from you:

HQ 086774 - Your letter dated March 8, 1990, regarding a "stationery gift box" (style 33-659) and a "memo box" (style 33-648). The gift box measures approximately 6 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches, is lidded and is filled with note paper and envelopes. The memo box measures 4 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches, is lidded, and is filled with square sheets of memo paper. The front of the memo box has a slot to aid in removing the paper. Both boxes have paperboard/cardboard frames and are covered in textile material identified as 65% polyester and 35% cotton.

HQ 086776 - Your letter dated March 9, 1990, regarding a "pencil box" (style 33-652). The pencil box measures 7 1/2 inches by 2 inches by 1 inch, is lidded and filled with six standard lead/wood pencils. The pencils fill the entire interior of the box. The box has a paperboard/cardboard frame and is covered in textile material identified as 65% polyester and 35% cotton.

HQ 086778 - Your letter dated March 7, 1990, regarding a "stationery gift set" (style 33-635) and "pencil cup set"

(style 33-649). The stationery gift set is oval in shape, measures approximately 3 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches by 4 inches, is lidded, and contains the following items: a box-tie shaped memo pad, sheets of paper with matching envelopes, pencils and a small, blank hard bound "journal" (book). the pencil cup is cylindrical, approximately 4 inches tall and 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

It contains 3 pencils, and a slender (2 inch by 5 inch) note pad. Both articles have paperboard frames and are covered with 65% polyester, 35% cotton textile fabric.

HQ 086868 - Your letter dated March 10, 1990, regarding a "stationery organizer" (style 33-664). The stationery organizer is a box measuring approximately 6 inches by 4 inches by 3 inches. The top of the box is lidded, and contains envelopes tied with a ribbon. The bottom portion of the box has a drawer filled with small writing paper. The box has a paperboard/cardboard frame and is covered in textile material identified as 65% polyester and 35% cotton.

HQ 086941 - Your letter dated March 6, 1990, regarding a "letter holder" (style 36-012). The letter holder is "U" shaped and measures approximately 5 inches by 4 3/4 inches. It is constructed of stainless steel covered with 65% polyester/35% cotton textile fabric. The fabric is backed with foam and a paperboard liner.

The floral print fabric used on all of the above articles is identical, indicating to us that each is part of a series of desk accessories marketed and sold together. Due to the similarity among the issues presented in all of the above cases, we have consolidated your inquiries for classification purposes.


How is each item classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relevant Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may be applied, taken in order.

Two headings suggest themselves for classification of the goods at issue here. Heading 4817, HTSUSA, includes boxes, of paper or paperboard, which contain an assortment of paper stationery. This would appear to include the stationery gift box, memo box, stationery organizer, and possibly the stationery gift set, if we are to consider the box in each set to be "of" paper or paperboard. This office has previously determined that boxes such as these, composed of paperboard with an outer surface of textile, are not "of" paper or
paperboard. Therefore, we have eliminated heading 4817, HTSUSA, from consideration in all of the above cases.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for containers such as map cases, cigarette cases, cutlery cases and other similar goods, of certain materials, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials. The Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff language at the international level, aid in determining what attributes a "similar container" of heading 4202, HTSUSA, must possess. One of the Explanatory Note exemplars is "pen cases", which might be construed to include pencil cases as well. We do not reach this conclusion here, because we believe that even if such is the case, goods of the type presented in HQ 086776 would not fall within the purview of heading 4202, HTSUSA. The exemplars of both the heading and the Explanatory Notes are more specially designed to hold and/or protect certain items. The goods submitted in HQ 086776 are merely ordinary decorative boxes which contain pencils. They are not ejusdem generis to the goods of heading 4202, HTSUSA, as suggested by exclusion (c) of the Explanatory Notes.

Since no other heading suggests itself for GRI 1 classification, we turn to the remaining GRI's. GRI 3 provides for the classification of goods put up in sets for retail sale. The Explanatory Notes describe such sets as possessing the following characteristics:

(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 our a specific activity, and;

(c) Are put up in manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

Criteria (a) and (c) are clearly met all of the instant cases, except HQ 086941, the letter holder. Our analysis here applies to each of the other samples. We will address the letter holder of HQ 086941 below.

While it is unclear whether or not each of the set components would be used for the same "specific activity", they do appear to be put up together to meet a particular need, namely to provide in one set a grouping of desk or writing accessories for use by the consumer. It is true that the boxes serve as storage containers, and the paper and writing utensils are used for correspondence. It is also true that some of the sample boxes may be used repetitively after the original writing supplies are gone. We do not believe however, that these differences serve as a bar to classification as a set. As imported and as put up for retail sale, the samples are sets of writing materials and/or desk accessories and should be classified as such.

Having found that the goods in HQ's 086774, 086776, 086778, and 086868 are sets of GRI 3(b), the rules of interpretation prescribe that classification "is made according to the component, or components taken together,
which can be regarded as conferring on the set as a whole its essential character." We find that the essential character of these sets is imparted by the textile covered paperboard containers. In reaching this conclusion, we have considered several factors, including the relative weight, bulk, and value contributions made by each of the component parts. In addition, we note that all of the containers present in the sample sets are suitable for repeated use after the paper or other writing materials are used. For example, the memo box of HQ 086774 may be refilled numerous times with ordinary square notebook paper. The boxes of HQ's 086774, 086776, 086778 and 086868 may be restocked with paper or filled with other items such as paper clips, stamps or small jewelry. Further, we believe that the decorative box plays an essential role in the marketing of these items, particularly as gift sets. This office has determined previously that boxes such as those presented here are classified according to the textile component.

The letter holder of HQ 086941, as noted, is not a "set" as classified by GRI 3(b). It is a composite good, comprised of two or more component materials, primarily textile material and stainless steel. As such, it is classified by that component material which imparts essential character. It is our opinion that essential character is imparted by the stainless steel. The "spring" in the letter holder, which is necessary to hold the letters in place is derived from the stainless steel, which also provides the rigidity, weight and presumably value to the good.


The boxed sets of HQ's 086774, 086776, 086778, and 086868, described as:
Style 33-659, Stationery Gift Box
Style 33-648, Memo Box
Style 33-652, Pencil Box
Style 33-635, Stationery Gift Set
Style 33-649, Pencil Cup
Style 33-664, Stationery Organizer
are classified by application of GRI 3(b), the essential character of which is imparted by the textile covered paperboard box component of each set. Each set as a whole is therefore considered for classification purposes an other made up textile article, of subheading 6307.90.9050, HTSUSA. The duty rate on these goods is 7 percent ad valorem.

The letter holder of HQ 086941 is classified by application of GRI 3 as a composite good, the essential character of which is imparted by the stainless steel component. As such, the holder is considered an other household article of stainless steel, of subheading 7323.93.0080. the rate of duty on this item is 3.4 percent ad valorem.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings

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