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HQ 088343

January 25, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 088343 KWM


TARIFF: 4202.92.6000

Ms. Maggie Tang
L. Kee & Company, Inc.
543 Forbes Boulevard
South San Francisco, California 94080-2019

RE: Revocation of HRL 087684; Modification of HRL 084977; Textile covered paperboard box; Jewelry box; Specially shaped or fitted.

Dear Ms. Tang:

On November 26, 1990, this office issued to you Headquarters Ruling Letter 087684, which modified a prior ruling letter, HRL 084977. Since HRL 087684 was released, we have determined that the ruling contains an error. Therefore, we revoke HRL 087684 in its entirety, and issue the following in its place.


On August 16, 1989, this office issued Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 084977 at your request, providing tariff classification for textile covered paperboard boxes under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Since that letter was issued, we have reconsidered our classification of the merchandise at issue, and find that it is incorrect.

The merchandise at issue is a box, constructed of paperboard and covered both inside and out with textile material. The top of the box is padded, has an embroidered design, and is hinged along the back edge. Inside the box are two trays, connected in the middle, one of which is fitted to hold rings or other articles of jewelry. Included in the box are embroidered textile handkerchiefs. Your original submission indicates that two such handkerchiefs will be imported with each box. The textile material was identified in HRL 084977 as cotton.


Is the item properly classified as a jewelry box under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated?


As noted in HRL 084977, 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 GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

That portion of HRL 084977 which indicates that the handkerchiefs and textile covered box do not constitute a set is, in our opinion, correct. Further, the classification of the handkerchiefs in subheading 6213.20.2000, HTSUSA is also correct. However, HRL 084977 classified the textile covered box by applying GRI 3(c) to the constituent materials of the box. We believe now that the box should have been classified by application of GRI 1, and that it is included under the terms of nomenclature heading for "jewelry boxes."

To reach that determination, we must decide that the term "jewelry box" as it is found in heading 4202 provides for this merchandise. This issue was not addressed at the time of your original inquiry. The Explanatory Notes to heading 4202, which are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, state that:

The term "jewelry boxes" covers not only boxes specially designed for keeping jewelry, but also similar lidded containers of various dimensions (with or without hinges or fasteners) specially shaped or fitted to contain one or more pieces of jewelry and normally lined with textile material, of the type in which articles of jewelry are presented and sold and which are suitable for long term use.

The instant boxes fit this definition. While the Explanatory Notes are not legally binding, we consider them instructive, and in this case they represent our interpretation of the terms "jewelry box." Therefore, we classify the box under heading 4202, HTSUSA, as a jewelry box or similar container.

Within heading 4202, HTSUSA, goods are classified by that material which composes their "outer surface." The outer surface of an article is that surface which is visible and tactile. In this case, the outer surface material is the cotton textile covering. Subheading 4202.92.60, HTSUSA, includes jewelry boxes, with an outer surface of textile materials, of cotton. That heading provides for these goods.


HRL 087684 is revoked. HRL 084977 is hereby modified as described in this ruling.

As stated in HRL 084977, the handkerchiefs and textile covered box are not a set for tariff classification purposes. The handkerchiefs are provided for eo nomine in subheading 6213.20.2000, HTSUSA. The applicable rate of duty is 7.5 percent ad valorem. Textile category 330 is associated with this classification.

The textile covered box in this case is classified as a jewelry box or similar container with outer surface of textile materials, specifically cotton, as provided for in heading 4202.92.6000, HTSUSA. The textile visa category associated with that classification is 369. The applicable rate of duty is 7.2 percent ad valorem.

For the purposes of future transactions in this merchandise, HRL 087684 will not be valid precedent, and HRL 084977 is valid only as recognized above. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification in that current contracts for importation arriving at a port subsequent to the release of this modification may be classified under the modified ruling. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion and pursuant to section 177.9 of the Code of Federal Regulations, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of the new ruling as may be dictated by the circumstances.

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 A. Durant

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