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HQ 951845

August 20, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 951845 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 3924.90.5000

Mr. Steven S. Weiser
Siegel, Mandell and Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway
New York, New York 10036

RE: Small Plastic Photo Album

Dear Mr. Weiser:

This is in reference to your letter of April 24, 1992, to our New York Seaport Area Office, on behalf of two Louis Vuitton companies, regarding a photo album. Your request and the accompanying sample were referred to this office for further consideration.


The article under consideration is a photo album (style number M58819) which measures approximately 5 7/8 inches in height by 4 1/4 inches in width. The album contains plastic filler pages with paper inserts for support and appearance. The outer surface of the album cover is composed of a cellular plastics material backed with a textile fabric reinforcement. Beneath the outer layer there is a sponge plastics material with a cardboard base. A strap is affixed to the back of the album which slips across the open side of the album and through a loop on top of the album serves to keep the album closed. The plastic has a designer print, including the Louis Vuitton service mark, on its exterior surface.


What is the tariff classification of a small plastic photo album?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

Counsel has suggested three alternative subheadings for classification of the article under consideration. The subheadings are: 3923.90.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for articles for the conveyance of packing of goods, of plastics, other; 3924.90.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for other household articles of plastics...picture frames; and 3924.90.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for other household article of plastic...other.

In support thereof, counsel has referenced prior Customs rulings. We have analyzed those rulings and the facts in each of those cases and concluded that those cases are either distinguishable from the current case or that a different conclusion in the prior ruling is warranted.

New York Ruling 852869 of June 14, 1990, held that a photo album similar to the instant photo album was classifiable in subheading 3923.90.0000, HTSUSA, in that the album was designed to be carried on the person. While we agree that a small photo album facilitates the conveyance of photographs from place to place, we believe that such is a secondary purpose of an album and that display of the photographs is the primary purpose of small as well as large albums. Accordingly, we believe that that ruling should be modified.

In New York Ruling 851422 of May 2, 1990, a small photo case was classified in subheading 3924.90.20, HTSUSA. Though that case was approximately the same size as the instant photo album, it is clearly distinguishable. The case, though it held 367 photographs, was actually a display case designed to display a photograph. It served as a frame and was so classified.

In New York Ruling 853119 of June 26, 1990, referenced by counsel, a photo album was classified in subheading 3924.90.20, HTSUSA. Though we believe that the merchandise was properly classified in heading 3924, we believe that the last two digits of the subheading should have been 50 rather than 20 since the latter references picture frames whereas the product was an album.

In considering the classification of photo albums we note that such albums are principally used to store and display photos. Although a small photo album of the size of the instant album facilitates its being carried from place to place by an individual, we believe that it performs the same function as albums larger in size.


Small plastic photo albums with plastic insert pages are classifiable in subheading 3924.90.50, HTSUSA, and are subject to a general rate of duty of 3.4 percent ad valorem.

Rulings conflicting with this holding will be modified.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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