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HQ 087691

February 26, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087691 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 4202.22.1500

Mr. Emilio Ruiz Jr.
Air Sea Shipping
P.O. Box 522475
Miami, FL 33126

RE: Leather/Vinyl Handbag; Plastic coated textile; Outer surface of plastics; Exterior Surface;

Dear Mr. Ruiz:

This letter is in response to your inquiry, dated August 6, 1990, on behalf of your client, Elka Handbags, Inc., concerning the classification of a woman's handbag under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample of the merchandise was submitted along with your request.


The subject merchandise, designated as Style Number 8016, is described as a woman's handbag with a shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is made of leather and is approximately 1/2 inch wide. The strap is sewn to the outer sides of the bag. The handbag contains a central zippered compartment and an inner zippered compartment. There is a front compartment which contains a snap closure. In addition, there is a small side compartment with a snap closure. There is also a back compartment without any type of closure which essentially forms an exterior pocket. The front flap of the bag is fastened by means of a magnetic snap button. The edges of the bag have been finished with a leather piping material. The front of the bag contains a circular leather logo patch approximately 1-1/2 inches in diameter. The outer surface of the bag is made of a combination of plastic sheeting and textile material. The vinyl sheeting material which comprises the outer surface consists of a dark brown pebble grain construction. Printed on the outer surface of the bag is a design pattern with the letters "VR" superimposed over each other and surrounded by a fleur-de-lis pattern.


What is the proper classification of the sample woman's shoulder bag under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

The sample article is properly classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, which includes, inter alia, the following articles (emphasis supplied):

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels. . .; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags. . ., of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber, or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials.

The specific subheading in the instant case is controlled by the composition of the outer surface of the sample article. The material used here is a combination of plastics and textile materials. Thus, in determining classification, it is necessary to determine whether the item is constructed of materials "with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials" under subheading 4202.22, HTSUSA, or under some other provision in the tariff schedule.

The classification of plastics and textile combinations is governed by the Legal Notes to the HTSUSA. Plastics and articles thereof are classified in Chapter 39, HTSUSA. Legal Note 2(l) to Chapter 39, HTSUSA, states the following:

2. This chapter does not cover:

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

The Legal Notes to Section XI - Textiles and Textile Articles, HTSUSA, provide that:

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 Customs and Trade Act of 1990 was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on August 20, 1990. Section 473 of the Act added Additional U.S. Legal Note (2) to Chapter 42, HTSUSA, to clarify the classification of certain articles in whole or part of fabrics coated, covered, or laminated with opaque rubber or plastics. Section 473 of the Customs and Trade Act provides the following:

2. For purposes of classifying articles under subheadings 4202.12, 4202.22, 4202.32, and 4202.92, articles of 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 4202.22, HTSUSA, comprised of a plastics and textile combination which is considered to be plastics for classification purposes will have an outer surface of plastic sheeting if the plastic constituent makes up the exterior surface of the article. In the instant case, the merchandise is made of plastics material and has an outer surface of plastic sheeting as described in subheading 4202.22.1500, HTSUSA.


The sample woman's handbag is classified in subheading 4202.22.1500, HTSUSA, which provides for handbags with an outer surface of plastic sheeting materials. The applicable rate of duty for articles classified under this subheading is 20 percent ad valorem. A copy of your ruling request has been forwarded to the Intellectual Property Rights Branch, within the Customs Service's Office of Regulations and Rulings, which will issue a ruling on the separate issue of trademark infringement.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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