United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
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HQ 087367

September 5, 1990

CLA-1 CO:R:C:G 087367 KWM


TARIFF: 6307.90.9590

Mr. David Krakauer
Designs on Travel
West 33rd Street
New York, New York 10001-3302

RE: Textile covered boxes; Other made up articles of textiles

Dear Mr. Krakauer:

This will acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated April 4, 1990, regarding the classification of textile covered "general purpose" boxes. Your letter and samples of the goods were forwarded to this office for a ruling.


The merchandise at issue here is described in your request as a "general purpose box." Three different styles of box are covered by your ruling request. Each box has a cardboard structure, and is covered inside and out with a textile material described as 100% cotton. They have no mirrors, trays, partitions or other special features. The component materials are broken down by value and weight as follows:

Style 101 Style 102 Style 103 $ WT% $ WT% $ WT%

Fabric 1.15 22 1.83 16 1.02 20
Cardboard 1.64 67 2.80 78 1.65 68
Foam/Trim .70 11 1.09 6 1.63 12

According to the figures provided, the cardboard component clearly comprises the majority of the weight in each sample. It also has the highest value in terms of cost.

Classification of Style 103 was provided to you by our New York office under separate cover. This ruling addresses the classification of Styles 101 and 102.


How are these goods classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules 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. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may be applied, taken in order.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for jewelry boxes with an outer surface of textile materials. However, the terms "jewelry boxes" under the HTSUSA include goods which are specifically suited to hold jewelry items, and are suitable for long term use. The instant merchandise is not of that type. The absence of fittings, trays, et cetera, indicate that this not a jewelry box within the meaning of heading 4202, HTSUSA. It is, as you have described, a general purpose or trinket box, suitable for a number of uses.

Having found no other heading the terms of which describe these goods, we consider the instant merchandise to be a composite good, classified according to GRI 3. In pertinent part, GRI 3 provides:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or . . . shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character . . .

(emphasis added). Classification of these goods, then, requires a determination of which material provides the goods with their essential character. In this regard, the Explanatory Notes for GRI 3 provide, in pertinent part:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

(emphasis added). While not legally binding, the Explanatory Notes represent the official interpretation of the tariff schedules at the international level. The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3 provide only rough guidelines and limited examples of the factors used to determine essential character. There is no explicit set of criteria for that determination.

We note the predominance of the cardboard structure in terms of both weight and value. The cardboard forms the core of each box, providing shape and rigidity. However, the textile material is in our opinion equally important, particularly in terms of intangible qualities not easily measured or quantified. For example, it is the textile which provides the principal, if not the only, feature for marketing these goods. Without the textile, these items would be simple cardboard boxes, no different from any other. Thus, for the classification of these goods, it is our opinion that neither the cardboard nor textile taken alone will establish essential character in this case.

Failing classification by GRI 3(b), GRI 3(c) provides:

(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

We have eliminated from consideration here those components described as "foam/trim" because they do not merit equal consideration with the cardboard and textile. As between the textile and cardboard components (headings 6307 and 4823, HTSUSA, respectively), classification falls under subheading 6307.90.9590. HTSUSA, which provides other made up textile articles, and occurs last in numerical order.


The textile covered cardboard boxes described as Styles 101 and 102 are classified as other made up textile articles under subheading 6307.90.9590, HTSUSA. There is no textile visa category associated with this classification.


John A. Durant

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