United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1991 NY Rulings > NY 0850445 - NY 0850611 > NY 0850525

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

NY 850525

April 11 1990

CLA-2-39:S:N:N3G:343 850525


TARIFF NO.: 3924.90.5000

Mr. Ralph H. Sheppard
Adduci, Mastriani, Meeks & Schill
330 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10017

RE: The tariff classification of a storage caddy from Hong Kong.

Dear Mr. Sheppard:

In your letter dated March 13, 1990, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

A sample of the Nice 'n Neat plastic storage caddy packed with complementary cotton and plastic swabs accompanied your request. The storage caddy consists of four major components as follows: a one piece clear molded plastic component represents the front, bottom and rear. A one piece molded plastic top with 2 pins functioning as hinges permit the lid to open and close. The organizer contains sixty cotton swabs. The swabs consist of cotton placed at the ends of thin plastic rods approximately 3 inches long. The storage chest with cotton swabs is packaged in a retail container which emphasizes the identity of the product as a "see thru crystalline chest with hinged lid". You have submitted a value breakdown as follows: plastic box $.20, cotton swabs $.09, package $.02, packing and overhead $.12. It is noteworthy that the plastic box comprises more than sixty percent of the cost of the components.

In your letter you suggest classification in subheading 3923.10.0000, HTS, which provides for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods of plastics... and other closures, of plastics. You believe that this article is a box or case...or similar article. You further state that although the imported article is identified by the packing as a chest or storage caddy, the article is similar to a `box or case' for the packing of goods. We disagree. Subheading 3923.10.0000, HTS, provides for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods. The instant caddy is not used for the conveyance or packing of goods, but for storage.
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Pursuant to GRI 1, the plastic storage case alone would be classified in heading 3924, HTSUSA, as other household and toilet articles. However, since the storage case contains cotton swabs, and no one heading describes the complete article, classification is in accordance with GRI 3.

GRI 3(b) provides that goods put up in sets for retail sale which cannot be classified by GRI 3(a), are classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) state that goods put up in sets for retail sale are those which consist of at least two different articles which are classifiable in different headings; consist of products of articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

The storage caddy and the cotton swabs are put together to meet a particular need of the consumer in having their cosmetic accessory in specific containers. The articles are suitable for sale directly to the purchaser without repacking. Therefore, the storage caddy and the cotton swabs are regarded as a set.

Having determined that the storage caddy and the cotton swabs are a set, we must decide the essential character. According to the Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b), essential character may be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. The storage caddy imparts the essential character since 1) the value of the storage caddy is much greater than the value of the cotton swabs, 2) the box serves the essential role for the set since the components of the set fit into the box. Furthermore, the cotton swabs are included in the containers as an inducement to purchase the holder.

The applicable subheading for the plastic storage caddy will be 3924.90.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics, other, other. The duty rate will be 3.4 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director
New York Seaport

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: