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HQ 087640

November 8, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087640 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.4500

Mr. Alan Siegal
Genghis Khan Freight Service Inc.
161-15 Rockaway BoulevardJamaica, New York 11434

RE: Plastic coated textile; Handbag; Backpack; Travel, sports and similar bags; Outer surface of plastics; Tactile and visible; Exterior surface.

Dear Mr. Siegal:

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated July 11, 1990, regarding the classification of merchandise described as a "handbag." Your letter and a sample of the goods were forwarded to this office for a response.


The merchandise at issue is described in your letter as a "handbag." The bag is similar to a backpack, rectangular in shape with a zipper across the top front edge. The zipper opens into the main, center compartment of the bag. On the front is a pocket having a flap closure and a buckle fastener.

On top is a strip of textile webbing which could serve as a handle. On either side is a D-ring to which a long textile webbing strap is attached. The strap may be attached like a shoulder strap on a handbag, or may be threaded through two additional D-rings on the back of the bag to create a pair of shoulder straps like a backpack.

The material is a woven textile described as cotton. It has been printed with cartoon caricatures and covered with a clear plastics described as compact polyurethane. The clear plastic allows the printing to be visible on the outer surface of the bag but still present a "glossy" waterproof exterior. The textile and plastics layers are not easily separated.


How is this merchandise 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 GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

After reviewing the eligible headings in this case, we believe that the terms of heading 4202, HTSUSA, best describe the goods at issue. That heading provides for, in pertinent part:
. . . [t]raveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, . . . of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials.

To be classified here, a product must be one of the itemsnamed in the heading (or sufficiently similar to it) and must be 'of' one of the enumerated materials.

We do not agree with your description of this item as a "handbag." While it might be used in such a manner we do not believe that it will be used principally or primarily as such.

Rather, we consider a much more likely use to be that of a backpack, travel bag or similar bag for the transport of personal effects. We rely not only on our inspection of the goods and the heading terms, but also on Additional U.S. Note1 to Chapter 42 which states:

For the purposes of heading 4202, the expression "travel, sports and similar bags" means goods, other than those of subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.92, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel . . .

For classification purposes therefore, we regard the subject merchandise as a "travel, sports or similar bag" of heading4202, HTSUSA.

Classification in heading 4202, HTSUSA, also requires that the subject article be "of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, . . . or be wholly or mainly covered with such materials." The material used here is a plastics and textile combination. The classification of plastics and textile combinations is governed by the Legal Notes to the HTSUSA:

Legal Note 2(1) to Chapter 39, HTSUSA:
2. This chapter does not cover:

(l) Goods of section XI (textiles and textile articles);

Legal Note 1(h) to Section XI - Textiles, HTSUSA: 1. This section does not cover:

(h) Woven, knitted or crocheted fabrics, felt or nonwovens, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, or articles thereof, of Chapter 39;

The effect of these provisions in the chapter and section notes is to place within the scope of Chapter 39 those goods which are considered plastics, as that Chapter defines them,and to include those materials regarded as textile materials in Section XI. In applying the notes, we find that the component material is considered a textile material for purposes of heading 4202, HTSUSA; specifically that this is a textile material (printed cotton) which has been coated with plastics (polyurethane), and that the textile is not present merely for reinforcing purposes. This finding is based on the language of Legal Note 2 to Chapter 59 (a part of Section XI), HTSUSA:
2. Heading 5903 applies to:

(a) textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastic material (compact or cellular), other than: . . .

5. Plates, sheets or strip of cellular plastics combined with textile fabric,where the textile fabric is present merely for reinforcing purposes.

Within heading 4202, HTSUSA, classification is based on what type of material comprises the "outer surface" of the goods. The Customs and Trade Act of 1990 (The 1990 Act) added Additional U.S. Legal Note (2) to Chapter 42, HTSUSA, which clarified how classification should be made under the "outer surface" criteria. The 1990 Act, at Section 473, provides for an Additional U.S. Note:
2. For the purposes of . . . 4202.92, articles if textile fabric impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics (whether compact or cellular) shall be regarded as having an outer surface of textile material or of plastic sheeting, depending upon whether and the extent to which the textile constituent or the plastic constituent makes up the exterior surface of the article.

In other words, an article of subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA,comprised of a plastics and textile combination which is considered to be textile for classification purposes shall have an outer surface of plastic sheeting if the plastic constituent makes up the exterior surface of the article. Such is the case here. Therefore, the bag at issue is made of textile material and has an outer surface of plastic sheeting as described in subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA.

The sample submitted, your style number 999, described as a "handbag" is classified in subheading 4202,92,4500, HTSUSA, as a travel, sport or similar bag, of textile materials, with outer surface of plastic sheeting. The applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem. There is no textile visa category associated with this classification.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

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