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HQ 089182

January 21, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089182 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 3924.90.5000

Mr. Louis S. Shoichet
Siegel, Mandel & Davidson, P.C.
One Whitehall Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Revocation of New York Ruling Letter 860908; Earring Closet; Avon Products; Jewelry box; Similar containers; Travel, sports and similar bags; outer surface.

Dear Mr. Shoichet:

This is in response to your letters of April 11, 1991 and September 30, 1991, regarding the tariff classification of merchandise referred to as the "Earring Closet."


The article at issue is called the "Earring Closet." The product is intended to be folded in half, placed over a hanger, and hung in the closet so that articles of jewelry may be kept there. The Earring Closet consists of three pieces of plastic sheet, assembled in layers. Laid flat, one surface of the article features four snaps, which meet when the article is folded over the hanger. The snaps serve to secure the Earring Closet so that it does not slide off the hanger. The opposite surface of the Earring Closet features several pockets for holding jewelry items. The pockets do not have zippers or other fasteners to secure items inside.

The sample Earring closet is made of PVC plastic. The outer layer, which comprises the pockets, is clear so that the pockets' contents are visible. The middle and inner layers are opaque. Your letter of April 11, 1991, indicates that the overlay may also be made from textile material, 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton.

New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 860908 was issued on March 10, 1991, at your request, and classified the Earring Closet under subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUS, as a travel, sports, and similar bag. NYRL 860908 was based on a finding that the product was similar to a jewelry roll and suitable for use while traveling. You now ask us to reconsider that finding.


Is the Earring Closet a travel sports or similar bag classified in subheading 4202.92.4500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States?

If not, is the Earring Closet a household article classified in subheading 3924.90.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, as you suggest?


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.

Your submissions on behalf of Avon Products assert that the Earring Closet is "specifically designed and constructed solely for use in the home." (April 11, 1991, letter, at 2) Additionally, you maintain that it is neither designed for, nor suitable for, use while traveling. Specifically, you assert that the absence of zippers, ties or other closures prevents the article's use as a travel item, since the contents would not be held securely when the article is rolled or folded.

With regard to the item's use as a travel container, similar to a jewelry roll, we agree with your assertions, and revoke NYRL 860908. We find, based on the assertions found in your letters and the additional information you provided that the articles are not designed for use during travel.

Having found that NYRL 860908 is incorrect, we must determine where the instant article should be classified. Heading 4202, HTSUS, provides for, among other articles, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder case, cutlery cases and similar containers, of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials. Customs has held that heading 4202, HTSUSA does not apply only to articles used for travel. While some of the items provided for eo nomine are designed for travel, others are not. We have held that articles of heading 4202, HTSUS, provide storage, protection, and in some cases portability to their primary objects.

Some of the eo nomine terms of heading 4202, HTSUS, are specifically described in the Explanatory Notes. The term "jewelry boxes" is described as:

The term "jewellry boxes" covers not only boxes specially designed for keeping jewellry, 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 jewellry and normally lined with textile material, of the type in which articles of jewellry are presented and sold and which are suitable for long-term use.

Based on the Explanatory Note description, the instant articles are not classified eo nomine as "jewelry boxes."

The Earring Closet may still be considered an article of heading 4202, HTSUS, however, if we determine that it is ejusdem generis to the exemplars listed. In other words, that Earring Closet may be a "similar container." Examples of similar containers for the second half of heading 4202, HTSUS, are provided in the Explanatory Notes and include "note- cases, writing-cases, pen-cases, ticket-cases, key-cases, cigar-cases, pipe-cases, tool and jewellry rolls, shoe-cases, brush-cases, etc." Similar containers provide (among other things) storage and/or protection and/or portability.

Your letter refers to several prior Headquarters ruling letters which you believe indicate classification in heading 3924, HTSUS, as household articles of plastic. Those rulings recognize that certain articles classified in heading 3924, HTSUS, also serve storage and/or protective functions. Clearly, the Earring Closet is designed for both storage and protection of jewelry articles. We find, therefore, that the Earring Closet is provided for prima facie in both headings 3924 and 4202, HTSUS.

General Rule of Interpretation 3(a) states that where goods may be classified prima facie in two or more headings, the heading which provides the most specific description shall control. In this case, we believe that the Earring Closet, by virtue of the individual pockets for holding jewelry, and the storage function designed into the article is similar to the articles of heading 4202, HTSUS. However, we also believe that heading 3924, HTSUS, describes the principal use of the product. Customs has classified similar articles and articles with similar functions in heading 3924, HTSUS, based on this rationale. We find that the Earring Closet is more specifically provided for in heading 3924, HTSUS.

Your letter of September 30, 1991, refers to Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088184 in support of the proposition that the instant articles not ejusdem generis to the exemplars of heading 4202, HTSUS. We cannot agree. In HRL 088184, we specifically excluded from consideration the latter half of the heading based solely on the materials from which the merchandise was constructed. We did not suggest that the design features for the storage and protection of sewing accessories served to exclude the product from that portion of the heading after the semicolon. Our findings in that regard applied only to classification as a container similar to those in the first half of the heading. Although the ruling clearly states as much, we reiterate here the limitations of HRL 088184 to avoid any misinterpretation of our holding.

Further, we do not fully agree with your additional assertions which would exclude the Earring Closet from classification as a "similar container" in heading 4202, HTSUS. In the absence of a more specific provision, we would be inclined to classify the merchandise in heading 4202, HTSUS. However, since we hold here that heading 3924, HTSUS, is the more specific provision, our response to each point raised in your letters would be moot.


Under Section 177(d) of the Customs Regulations, (19 CFR 177.9(d)(1)), NYRL 860908 is hereby revoked. The merchandise at issue, described as an "Earring Closet" is classified in subheading 3924.90.5000, HTSUS, as a household article of plastics, other, other. The applicable rate of duty is 3.4 percent ad valorem.


John A. Durant, Director

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