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HQ 951080

May 14, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951080 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.9020

Anthony K. Mallgren, Esq.
Mallgren & Associates, P.C.
Tenth Floor
3600 South Yosemite Drive
Denver, CO 80237

RE: Cassette tape and compact disk carrying cases; country of origin; quota; marking; 19 CFR 12.130; 19 U.S.C. 1304; 19 CFR 134.

Dear Mr. Mallgren:

This is in reply to your letter dated January 13, 1992, on behalf of your client, Hai Yang, in which you requested a ruling on the tariff classification and country of origin for quota and marking purposes of certain cassette tape and compact disk cases. Samples of the merchandise at issue, assembled and unassembled, were provided.


The merchandise in question consists of five types of cassette and compact disk carrying cases, identified as CL-15, CP-30, CL-60, CD-15 and CD-30. The sample cases have an outer surface of man-made textiles.

The carrying cases will be assembled in the Philippines or the Peoples's Republic of China from parts cut in the Republic of Korea. All of the component parts will be made in South Korea, including the polyurethane foam, zippers, thread and nylon fabric and webbing. The materials will be cut to shape in South Korea and then sent either to the Philippines or to China where they will be assembled into finished cases. For example, the assembly operation for style CP-30 consists of stitching together four pieces of nylon fabric, two pieces of polyurethane foam, and adding zippers, a carrying handle and labels. Over 70 percent of the value of the carrying cases will derive from operations performed in South Korea.

At the importer's (Case Logic, Inc.) U.S. plant, a plastic separator tray will be inserted into the bags. The bags will then be repackaged in clear plastic for shipment throughout the U.S. and for export. A paper wrapper bearing a picture of the article and stating its country of origin will be visible through the plastic wrapper.


The issues presented are: (1) whether the instant carrying cases are similar to certain enumerated articles such that they are classifiable in heading 4202, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA); and (2) whether for quota and marking purposes the cases are considered articles of Korea or of the Philippines or China.



Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides, inter alia, for camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases and similar articles. The instant carrying cases have an outer surface of textiles and are similar to musical instrument and camera cases. Accordingly, they are classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUSA, specifically,in subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA, which provides for articles with an outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials.

Country of Origin

Pursuant to section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130), a textile or textile product which consists of materials produced or derived from, or processed in, more than one foreign territory or country shall be a product of that foreign territory or country where it last underwent a substantial transformation. A textile or textile product will be considered to have undergone a substantial transformation if it has been transformed by means of substantial manufacturing or processing operations into a new and different article of commerce.

The following factors are considered in determining whether merchandise has been substantially transformed: the physical change in the merchandise; the time involved in the manufacturing or processing operations; the complexity of the operations; the level or degree of skill and/or technology required; and the value added to the article. 19 CFR 12.130(d)(2).

However, an article usually will not be considered a product of a particular foreign country merely by having undergone simple combining operations. 19 CFR 12.130(e)(2). In this instance, approximately four cut pieces of fabric are assembled to form the outer shell of a carry bag, and are combined with assorted pieces of other materials, e.g., webbing, polyurethane foam, to complete the finished article. Customs generally considers the assembly of cut pieces to be a substantial transformation. T.D. 85-38; 19 Cust. Bull. 58, 70; 50 Fed. Reg. 8712, 8715. However, when the assembly operation is a relatively simple one, Customs will rule on the particular factual situation. See, e.g., Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 083641 dated May 15, 1990; HRL 081155 dated February 3, 1988. You contend that the assembly of the bags is a simple combining operation and state that over 70 percent of the value of the bags is attributable to work performed in the Philippines. Furthermore, we are advised by the National Import Specialist responsible for this line of merchandise that the instant assembly operation is relatively simple. Accordingly, in Customs' view, the bags in question have not been substantially transformed by the assembly operation in the Philippines.


The five carrying cases in question are classifiable in subheading 4202.92.9020, HTSUSA, under the provision for trunks, suitcases...camera cases, musical instrument cases...and similar articles: other: with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials: other: other: with outer surface of textile materials: other: of man-made fibers. They are dutiable at the rate of 20 percent ad valorem and are subject to textile category 670.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

The country of origin for quota and marking purposes of the instant carrying bags is the Republic of Korea.

The holding in this ruling applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise identified in the ruling request. This position is set forth in section 177.9(b)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(b)(1)), which states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that the information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

Should it subsequently be determined that the information furnished is not complete and does not comply with 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1), the ruling will be subject to modification or revocation. In there is a change in the facts previously furnished, the country of origin determination may be affected. In such a case, it is recommended that a new ruling request be submitted in accordance with section 177.2, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.2).


John Durant, Director

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