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NY 876819

August 6, 1992

CLA-2-48:S:N1:234 876819


TARIFF NO.: 4820.30.0040

Mr. Thomas C. Lloyd
3M Customs/Import Transportation Dept.
PO Box 33250
St. Paul, MN 55133

RE: The tariff classification of photo album covers (binders) from Hong Kong.

Dear Mr. Lloyd:

In your letter dated July 23, 1992, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

A sample was submitted and will be retained for reference. It is a two-piece (front and back) cover for a 3M "Flashbacks" brand photo album. Each piece is a 33 x 36 cm sheet of stiff paperboard which is covered with paper and a very thin exterior layer of decorative vinyl. The left side of each piece incorporates a 2-cm-wide hinged strip that is hole-punched to accommodate the fasteners which eventually will hold the finished album together. The front cover differs slightly from the back in that it also contains a layer of plastic foam beneath its surface, to impart a slightly padded effect.

You indicate that the imported product will be the album covers only, without fasteners or inserts (pages). After importation, the covers will be made up into complete albums containing a "negative storage page" as well as adhesive pages designed to hold 140 standard-size photos.

You suggest that the imported covers be classified as albums for samples or for collections, as provided for in subheading 4820.50.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). We note, however, that an incomplete or unfinished version of a particular article must possess the essential character of that article if it is to be classified as such. In our view, the instant covers are essentially binders, rather than albums.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the "Flashbacks" album covers will be 4820.30.0040, HTS, which provides for binders of paper or paperboard, other than looseleaf binders. The rate of duty will be 5.3%.

We note that the sample is not marked with its country of origin. The imported articles, or their containers, will be required to be so marked.

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

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