United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0952280 - HQ 0952373 > HQ 0952323

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 952323

October 29, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952323 HP


TARIFF NO.: 4602.90.0000

Mr. Joel K. Simon
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, NY 10048

RE: Handbags of interlaced plastic strips laminated to nonwovens are articles of plaiting materials where plastic imparts essential character.

Dear Mr. Simon:

This is in reply to your letter of July 29, 1992. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of handbags, produced in China. Please reference your client Bag Bazaar.


The merchandise at issue consists of two interlaced plastic handbags. The bags are either tan or white in color, and measure approximately 8 inches in height, 9 inches in width, and have a round bottom measuring 4 inches in diameter. They each have a flap that folds down which has a snap closure. Each has a shoulder strap which is sewn to the outer sides of the bag. Each bag is constructed of plastic strips glued to nonwovens, measuring either 5.5mm (tan) or 6mm (white) in width. Each bag is lined with a man-made textile fabric, and has one zippered compartment. You argue that the handbags are constructed of plaiting materials, and should be classified as articles thereof. You cite NYRL 875521 of July 10, 1992, issued to your client, which classified sheets of the interlaced materials as plaiting material in sheet form under subheading 4601.99.0000, HTSUSA.


Whether the instant merchandise is considered an article of plaiting materials under the HTSUSA?


Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, handbags with an outer surface of plastics or textiles. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that such "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...." Note 2(b) to Chapter 42, HTSUSA, states that heading 4202 does not cover, inter alia, "[a]rticles of plaiting materials (heading 4602)." We must therefore address whether the plastic strips glued to nonwovens are plaiting materials.

Chapter 46, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, manufactures of plaiting materials. Note 1 to this Chapter states:

In this chapter the expression "plaiting materials" means materials in a state or form suitable for plaiting, interlacing or similar processes; it includes ... monofilament and strip and the like of plastics .., but not strips of ... nonwovens .... [Emphasis added.]

Heading 5603, HTSUSA, provides for nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System) constitute the official interpretation of the scope and content of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. See Totes, Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 92-153, 40 Cust. B. & Dec. 35 (C.I.T. Sept. 4, 1992). It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA. The EN to this heading, at 775, allows classification therein of nonwovens "covered on one or both surfaces (by gumming, sewing or by any other process) with ... sheets of any ... material ... only if they derive their essential character from the nonwoven."

It is clear from examining the samples submitted that the essential character of the handbags is imparted from the plastic portion of the strips, in that the plastic forms the entire outer surface of the bag, is over 10 times thicker than the nonwoven, and provides the structural integrity to the bag. Since the essential character is not imparted by the nonwoven portion of the laminated strip, it cannot be classified in heading 5603, HTSUSA. The laminated strip, had it been imported separately, would be classified under heading 3921, HTSUSA, as an other strip of plastic.

As we stated above, plaiting materials include strips of plastics. The merchandise at issue is therefore "of plaiting materials." HOLDING:

As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 4602.90.0000, HTSUSA, as other articles made directly to shape from plaiting or made up from articles of heading 4601, and not of vegetable matter. The applicable rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: