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HQ 089569

October 21, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089569 JS


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.4500

Daniel C. Holland
District Director
U.S. Customs Service
909 First Ave., Rm. 2039
Seattle, WA 98174

RE: Decision on application for further review of protest no. 3001-91-100390 on the classification of polyethylene strip shopping bags

Dear Mr. Holland:

This is a decision on application for further review of a protest timely filed on behalf of Fingerhut Corporation on April 17, 1991, against your decision on the classification of polyethylene strip shopping bags entered under entry number P40- 0021419-2.


A sample of the merchandise at issue, a shopping bag, was provided for our inspection. It is manufactured in China of woven polyethylene strips which are laminated (on both sides) with a clear plastics material. The plastics material is visible in the interstices of the loosely woven article. The bag has an unsecured top opening, finished edges and reinforced loop handles, and measures 17 x 15 x 7 inches.

These goods were classified and liquidated under HTS subheading 4202.92.3030, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials. The importer, Fingerhut Corporation, contests this classification. It contends that the goods are properly classified under subheading 4202.92.4500, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, other, to include plastic coated goods.



For the purpose of classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated ("HTSUSA"), does the present merchandise have an outer surface of textile materials or plastic sheeting.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 states that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI, taken in order. Where 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 may be applied, taken in order.

The goods at issue here were classified under heading 4202, HTSUSA, as other containers, similar to those enumerated in the heading, as follows:
traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, ...of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials.

Additional U.S. Note 1, Chapter 42, provides in pertinent part that:

For the purposes of heading 4202, the expression "travel, sports and similar bags" means goods, other than those falling in subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading ...

The present sample is a durable bag which is constructed in the manner of a shopping bag for the carrying of groceries. In order for this item to be classified within this heading, however, it must be "of...or wholly or mainly covered with" either (in this case) textile materials or plastic sheeting. Under heading 4202, such a determination is based on what material comprises the "outer surface" of the material. The Customs and Trade Act of 1990 added Additional U.S. Legal Note (2) to Chapter 42, which further clarified how classification should be made under the "outer surface" criteria, as follows:


2. For the 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 4202.92, 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, where the shopping bag is made of woven polyethylene strip (a textile) that has been coated with a layer of clear polyethylene (a plastic). There is no requirement that the plastic coating or lamination be visible to the naked eye as there is for coated fabrics of 5903. Additional U.S. Note 2 specifically provides that the sole determining factor is the constituent material of the article's exterior. The bag at issue, having an exterior which is entirely coated with an outer surface of plastic sheeting, is therefore classifiable in subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA.


The sample merchandise is classified in subheading 4204.92.4500, as a travel, sport or similar bag, of textile materials, with outer surface of plastic sheeting. There is no textile visa category associated with this classification, and the applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem.

Since there is no visa requirement under the classification indicated, you are instructed to allow the protest in full. A copy of this decision should be furnished to the protestant with the Form 19 notice of action.


John Durant, Director

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