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HQ 089830

July 26, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089830 KWM


TARIFF No.: 7310.29.0050

Mr. Peter J. Fitch
Fitch, King and Caffentzis
116 John Street
New York, New York 10038

RE: Jewelry boxes; Metal containers; Metal boxes; Point of purchase; textile material; textile flock; Similar containers; Specially fitted; Long term use.

Dear Mr. Fitch:

This is in response to your correspondence dated June 25, 1991, regarding the tariff classification of merchandise referred to as "point of purchase packaging." We have received your request for a binding classification ruling, and our response follows.


The merchandise at issue consists of five different boxes, each made of metal and covered with textile material. They may be generically referred to as "jewelry boxes." Each box varies slightly from the other, but they may all be described as rectangular or square in shape with a body of steel or iron. The exterior is covered with a woven textile fabric to which textile flock has been applied. Some of the boxes have gold trim, which increases the relative value of the metal component, but not the relative weight. Each box may or may not be imported with a paperboard insert. The inner surface of each box lid is not lined. For each style, your letter provides a breakdown of the boxes' component materials by weight and by value. The metal component comprises approximately 90 percent of the weight of the finished article (ranging from 85.7 to 92.3%) and approximately 70 percent of the value (ranging from 59.5% to 77.4%). For the purposes of these figures, you have disregarded the paperboard and other materials, if present, since they are for our purposes de minimis.

Are the instant boxes jewelry boxes of heading 4202, HTSUSA, or are they classified otherwise according to essential character?


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.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, would appear to encompass these goods in the terms of the heading. That heading provides for, in pertinent part:

4202 . . . wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sport bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers . . . (Emphasis added)

If these items are considered "jewelry boxes" of heading 4202, HTSUSA, they would be so classified by application of GRI 1. We are of the opinion, however, that these are not jewelry boxes as that term is used in the Nomenclature.

The language of the tariff schedule must be read in pari materia, or construed as a whole with regard to the same subject matter. In this case, the terms of heading 4202, HTSUSA, all refer to items designed or fitted to hold, protect or store particular goods (e.g., maps, cigarettes, bottles or jewelry). Jewelry boxes of heading 4202, therefore, must be designed or specially fitted for holding and storing jewelry. In addition, the exemplars of heading 4202 are of a class of goods which are suitable for repeated, long-term use. The jewelry boxes of heading 4202, HTSUSA, then, must be of substantial construction such that they can be used for long- term storage of jewelry.

Of the boxes at issue here, all are adapted by means of inserts for the display of jewelry and related items as well as the transportation and protection of those items after purchase and up until the time of first use. Some are fitted with special features for displaying the jewelry. None of these items, however, are designed for repeated, long-term use or use with several various items as, in our opinion, heading 4202 "jewelry boxes" would be. In this case, the use of papercorad inserts is indicative of the boxes' impermanent nature. Goods such as these are provided with jewelry items as a type of premium packaging at the point of purchase. In our opinion, most will be disposed of shortly after the purchase, when storage in a more suitable jewelry box is available. Viewed in pari materia with the other items set out in heading 4202, HTSUSA, it is clear to us that the term "jewelry boxes" does not include these goods.

Since we find no other headings within the nomenclature whose terms would specifically include boxes such as these, GRI 1 is inconclusive. These items must be classified by determining essential character on the basis of component materials, according to GRI's 2 and 3. Under GRI 2, any reference to a material or an article made of a material includes goods made wholly or in part of that material. GRI's

3(a) & (b) hold that goods such as these which are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings are classified by determining which of the component materials provides the goods with its essential character. The Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b) indicate that there are no hard and fast rules for determining essential character. Each case involves an individual evaluation of such factors as weight, value, bulk, marketability, etc. The samples at issue here are composite goods which should be classifiable as products of textile or metal, depending upon which of these materials gives the product its essential character.

In this case, the metal body or frame of each box contributes the overwhelming majority of both weight and value of the finished product. In addition, the steel body of the box affords to the merchandise the protective features desirable in such a box. We find that the essential character of the box is that of the metal shell.

Your letter asks that we consider the classification of the boxes with and without the paperboard inserts. As noted, the paperboard material is a de minimis component material. In addition, we do not consider the boxes without inserts to be incomplete articles. The character of these boxes is established by the metal shell and textile exterior. Therefore, whether the boxes are imported with or without inserts, and with or without inner lid linings, they are classified under that provision which pertains to the metal shell.


The merchandise, referred to by style numbers 321R, 621R, 322R, 319R, and 602R are classified in subheading 7310.29.0050, HTSUSA, as boxes or steel, having a capacity of less than 50 liters, other, other. Goods of that classification may be imported free of duty.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

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