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HQ 088430

April 11, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088430


TARIFF NO.: 3926.10.0000

Mr. Ernest Ferrante
Kuehne & Nagel, Inc.
10 Exchange Place, 19th Floor
Jersey City, New Jersey 07302

RE: Agenda; Planner; Diary; Address Book; Flatgoods; Portfolio; Office supplies; School supplies; Set; GRI

Dear Mr. Ferrante:

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated December 12, 1990, requesting a binding classification ruling for merchandise known as an agenda or planner. Your correspondence and a sample of the goods have been forwarded to this office for a response.


The merchandise at issue is a tri-fold cover which may be fitted with different inserts for different purposes. They are commonly known as "agendas", "planners", "portfolios", "folders" and "organizers", among other characterizations. They consist of three pieces of paperboard covered with plastic sheeting and assembled by gluing and/or sewing. The finished product folds twice, once in from each end, along a gusset approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide. The exterior surface of the sample has a simulated eel skin appearance, but may be finished in a variety of simulated textures. Inside the sample are a business card holder, an address/telephone book and a notepad. The holder, book and pad are secured by inserting the cardboard backing of each into a slit in the interior vinyl surface. Thus, each can be removed and/or replaced when their usefulness is exhausted, or to create a different combination of fillers. The finished, folded item measures 9 inches in length, 6 1/2 inches in width and approximately 1 1/4 inches in thickness. The article is clearly too large to be suitable for carrying in a handbag.

How are the goods 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.

We note that two headings may be eligible for classification of this product by applying GRI 1. First, we considered heading 4820, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, notebooks, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar items. Customs has consistently ruled that merchandise such this is not included in heading 4820, HTSUSA, as an article "similar" to these enumerated. We see no reason to change that analysis in this case. Secondly, we have considered heading 4202, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, suitcases, attache cases, school satchels, and similar containers. We do not believe that heading 4202, HTSUSA, describes a type of merchandise which would bring these goods within the "similar containers' of that heading. Although the "planner" may appear to be related to the containers of heading 4202, HTSUSA, they are not similar in that they are not designed or intended for use in a similar manner, nor do they exhibit the requisite physical attributes that Customs has found common to goods of heading 4202, HTSUSA.

Having determined that no heading terms provide for these goods, we consider the plastic cover and the paper contents to comprise a "set put up for retail sale" as described by GRI 3(b). Such sets are taken to mean merchandise which: (a) consists 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 the specific activity of organizing one's activities; and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking . . . (See, Explanatory Note X to GRI 3(b)).

The instant item consists of a plastic cover classifiable in heading 3926, HTSUSA, as an article of plastic, and paper inserts classifiable as articles of paper in heading 4820, HTSUSA, thus satisfying (a), above. In addition, they are put up together to provide a complete and handy tool for tracking and recording appointments, business contacts, daily events, or personal memoranda, all activities legitimately with the intent of (b). Lastly, they are put up in manner suitable for sale directly to users. In fact, it is not uncommon for items such as this to be sold in commercial settings in precisely the same condition as the sample was presented to this office.

GRI 3(b) states that goods put up in sets for retail sale be classified according to that component which establishes the essential character of the set. In the case of substantially similar merchandise, Customs has determined that the essential character of such an item is the plastic cover because of the indispensable and central role it plays in relation to the overall use of the goods. The holder is much more than a simple container; it functions to bring together all the components in a single set so that they interrelate, allowing the user to organize, record and track his or her activities, the very activities which make the item a set (see above). Lastly, it is the plastic cover which may be used
over the long term, while the paper items are used and replaced, as when the notepad is empty or the new year requires a replacement calendar. The cover, as a component of the set, gives the set its essential character, and the set must be classified under the provision for that component, i.e., heading 3926, HTSUSA.


The above described merchandise, known variously as a "planner", agenda" or "organizer" is classified under subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA, as an article of plastic, office or school supplies. The applicable rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

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