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HQ 089901

April 2, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089901 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 4202.31.6000

Ms. Lisa Levaggi Borter
Adduci, Mastriani, Meeks & Schill
330 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10017

RE: Your reference BUX-003; Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter 837182; Denied; Buxton, Inc.; Item number 336-61E; Calculator / wallet items; Checkbook clutch; Composite good; Put up in sets; Essential character.

Dear Ms. Borter:

This is in response to your request of July 8, 1991, regarding the reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 837182. At issue is an article described in your letter as a "calculator / wallet." After careful consideration of the issues raised by you, we have determined that NYRL 937182 should be affirmed.


The merchandise at issue is a tri-fold "wallet" measuring approximately 7 inches by 3 3/4 inches. The wallet unfolds to reveal an interior designed for holding, organizing and recording personal finances, particularly those involving the issuance of personal checks. The interior features a slit for insertion of a book of checks; three slots for plastic cards; a specially designed "window" into which has been inserted a calculator in a plastic frame; and a plastic insert for additional cards or photos. On the exterior is a zippered pocket. The article is made of leather, and when folded is closed by means of a snap.

In NYRL 837182, Customs classified the wallet in subheading 4202.31.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) as a wallet of the type normally carried in the pocket or handbag. You believe that the wallet and calculator should be considered separate articles for tariff purposes, and classified accordingly.


Are the wallet and calculator classifiable together? If so why?

If not, how should the individual components be classified?


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.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, wallets of leather. Customs has interpreted the eo nomine provision for "wallets" to include checkbook clutches. However, the instant item may be distinguished from other, similar, articles by the inclusion of an electronic calculator as an integral part of the wallet. We therefore find that the instant article, an integrated wallet and calculator falls outside the scope of "wallet" and may not be classified as such by applying GRI 1.

Finding no other heading which, by it's terms, provides for this item, we have considered the wallet and calculator as a composite item. Your letter asserts that this is not a composite item because both components are "commonly offered for sale separately." The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) provide that:

For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted to one another and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

Emphasis in the original. Your first contention is that both wallets and calculators are commonly offered for sale separately, and the combination therefore fails as a composite good. We disagree. As imported, the wallet has been specifically manufactured to accommodate the calculator; it would rarely, if ever, be offered for sale with a large, empty window inside. Combined, the two form an integrated product, each element adapted to the other. We find that wallet and calculator are a composite good for classification purposes.

Your letter cites New York Ruling Letter 837182 (March 10, 1989) for the proposition that the wallet and calculator should be classified separately. We note, however, that the product description in NYRL 837182 describes the calculator as "removable" whereas NYRL 863916 (under consideration here) specifically states that the clutch would be "incomplete" without the calculator. We find that the descriptions found in NYRL's 837182 and 863916 allow for the reasonable inference that product specific factors resulted in different tariff classifications.

Further, please note NYRL 857297 (November 14, 1990) a classification ruling issued for merchandise described as a "check clutch with calculator." The description found in NYRL 857297 is clearly more like that of the product at issue in this reconsideration. And, although binding rulings are both product and transaction specific, this later ruling would be more influential in discerning how Customs may view the classification of similar merchandise.

Your letter also asserts that, if the wallet and calculator are a composite good, neither element confers the essential character. Again, we disagree. In the Headquarters Ruling Letter you cite, we found that under the particular facts of that case, the essential character of a calculator/keychain could not be determined. However, in this case it is clear that the wallet establishes essential character. The purpose of the article is to provide a common carrier and storage place for credit cards, checks, and/or money, and to provide a convenient method of tracking personal financial matters. The calculator is merely an asset to those functions, while the wallet furnishes the balance of the storing and organizing capabilities.


New York Ruling Letter 963916, regarding the tariff classification of merchandise identified as Buxton Item Number 336-61E, is affirmed. The wallet/calculator article is classified as a composite article under subheading 4202.31.6000, HTSUSA. Specifically, we find that the essential character of the composite good is that of the leather wallet. The tariff rate for such classification is 8 percent ad valorem.


John A. Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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