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HQ 081729

February 16, 1990

CLA-1 CO:R:C:G 081729 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.3020

Mr. Allan H. Kamnitz
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. Eighty Broad Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Stuffed toy backpack; stuffed toy handbag

Dear Mr. Kamnitz,

We have received your letter of February 2, 1988, requesting a classification ruling for "Mickey's Pals", a group of combination stuffed toy/backpack and stuffed toy/handbag items. A sample of the goods was received with your request.


The sample submitted is a combination stuffed toy/backpack, suitable for use by children. It consists of a stuffed toy figure of man-made textile representing the character Mickey Mouse. Attached to Mickey's back is a man-made textile "backpack" compartment with a slide fastener closure. Attached to Mickey's hands and feet are straps which allow the item to be worn as a backpack. Mickey's head is turned to one side so that it does not interfere with the use of the merchandise as a backpack.

In the brochure which accompanied the sample, the item described above is referred to as a "Mickey's Pals Backpack". The brochure also displays items referred to as "Mickey's Pals Jr. 3-in-1" and "Mickey's Pals Handbag". "Mickey's Pals Jr. 3-in-1" is a smaller version of the enclosed sample, but is designed to be worn as either a backpack, belt "pack", or carried over the shoulder. "Mickey's Pals Handbag" is designed to be carried over the shoulder, in a manner similar to that of a purse.


How is this item classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States?

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. Then, if GRI 1 fails to classify the goods, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may be applied, taken in order.

No single heading within the Nomenclature includes goods of this type. GRI 1 is, therefore, inconclusive. The "Mickey's Pals" items are "composite goods" made up of the stuffed toy and backpack components. By GRI 3(a), the heading which includes backpacks, 4202, HTSUSA, and that of stuffed toys, 9503, HTSUSA, are equally specific. GRI 3(b) then requires a determination of essential character, as your letter correctly indicates. However, we do not agree with your contention that the essential character of the item is the stuffed toy. Rather, we are of the opinion that the backpack provides the essential character to the merchandise.

Explanatory Note (VIII) to Rule 3(b) explains that no hard and fast rules exist for determining essential character. Each case is determined on its own merits. Since you did not include a weight, mass or value breakdown of the component materials, we cannot consider those factors in our decision. Instead, we must make an empirical examination into the intended use of the item, and consider how the item is to be marketed.

In our opinion, the primary use of the sample item will be as a backpack. The addition of the Mickey Mouse character adds to the attractiveness of the backpack feature, while the backpack contributes little to the article as a stuffed animal. We agree with your assertion that the Mickey Mouse character is that feature which will attract the consumer's attention to the article, but it seems clear that the essential character of the product is the backpack, and the toy aspect merely a marketing feature.

Having determined that the essential character of the item is the backpack feature, the remaining decision which must be made is that of the proper subheading within 4202, HTSUSA. In the instant case, the backpack is classifiable in subheading 4202.92.3020, HTSUSA as travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, other, other, of man-made fibers, backpacks.


The sample item, "Mickey's Pals Backpack", has the essential character of a backpack, and is classified in subheading 4202.92.3020, HTSUSA. The rate of duty on these goods is 20% ad valorem. The applicable textile category is 670.

This classification is binding only as it applies to the sample goods submitted with your request. Without a sample, we cannot issue a binding classification ruling with regard to the other "Mickey's Pals" items. However, we believe, on the basis of the brochure descriptions that the belt "packs" referred to as "Mickey's Pals Jr. 3-in-1" would be also be classified in 4202.92.3020, HTSUSA. The handbags, referred to as "Mickey's Pals Handbag", would likely be classified differently due to distinctions made by the HTSUSA at the subheading level. They may fall within 4202.22.4030, HTSUSA, as handbags, whether or not with shoulder strap, with outer surface of textile materials, of man-made-fibers, and dutiable at the rate of 8.4% ad valorem. The applicable textile category if 670.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota category 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 you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available 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 the importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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