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HQ 952487

December 29, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952487 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.9040

Mr. Richard Moody
Discware Systems Inc
100-5960 Minoru Blvd.
Richmond, B.C.
Canada V6X3J3

RE: Compact disc storage unit; cases used for storing, protecting and transporting; Legal Note 2(h) to Chapter 39; heading 3923; heading 4202; Explanatory Notes to heading 4202; HRL 951218; HRL 951080; HRL 950397; NYRL 868933; HRL 085519; HRL 083441

Dear Mr. Moody:

This is in reply to your letter dated July 8, 1992, to our New York office, in which you requested a tariff classification for a compact disc storage unit under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The compact disc storage unit, called a "Discwallet", is produced in Korea. The Discwallet is bi-fold style with a middle snap tab closure. It measures approximately 8-1/2 inches square with a gusset capacity of 2 inches. The exterior of the Discwallet is made from a cellular plastic sheeting backed with a uniformly dyed woven fabric. The next layer is foamed plastic padding, followed by a layer of cardboard. The innermost layer is unsupported plastic sheeting. The article is assembled by gluing, heat sealing and sewing. The four corners are reinforced with protective metal edges.

The Discwallet has a sleeve on each inside cover. Into each sleeve a rigid plastic covered cardboard tab containing four plastic wings is inserted. Each wing is capable of holding two compact discs, for a total capacity of 16 discs. Each tab with wings can be removed and/or replaced when its usefulness is exhausted. The Discwallet is packaged in a box printed with a picture of a woman holding the product as she is about to enter or leave a car. The product is labelled, "Music on the Move." The interior of the Discwallet contains a clear plastic compartment with an identification card in case of the loss of the article.


Is the Discwallet similar to enumerated articles such that it is classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUS?


The classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative 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 3923, HTSUS, provides for "[a]rticles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics,...". Legal Note 2(h) to Chapter 39, HTSUS, precludes from classification therein "...trunks, suitcases, handbags or other containers of heading 4202." Therefore, if the compact disc holder is an item classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUS, then it is precluded from classification in heading 3923, HTSUS.

Heading 4202, HTSUS, provides for the following:

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of plastic sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 4202 state, on page 613, that this heading does not cover "[a]rticles which, although they may have the character of containers, are not similar to those enumerated in the heading..." It is our position that the compact disc holder is similar to several items enumerated in heading 4202, HTSUS. We note that there is no prerequisite that cases of heading 4202, HTSUS, be specially fitted to accommodate particular articles or have handles or straps to facilitate carrying. In addition, the containers of heading 4202, HTSUS, also may have hard or soft exteriors. For example, one of the listed exemplars is a camera case. Many camera cases are not specially fitted, do not have straps and may have soft exterior surfaces. The function of the case is to provide protection so that a camera may be stored or transported until the time it is used. Similarly, the Discwallet protects, stores and provides a means of transport for compact discs. The fact that it does not have a handle or a shoulder strap does not remove it from classification in this heading.

Furthermore, various Customs ruling letters have classified articles that are similar to the Discwallet in heading 4202, HTSUS. For example, New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 868933, dated December 18, 1991, classified a 100% cotton textile compact disc case with a snap closure designed to store and protect compact discs in subheading 4202.92.6000, HTSUS. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 951080, dated May 14, 1992, held that cassette tape and compact disk carrying cases were classified in subheading 4202.92.90, HTSUS. In addition, HRL 085519, dated September 27, 1989, also classified a cassette carrying case made of burlap and having an adjustable shoulder strap in subheading 4202.92.90, HTSUS.

Moreover, it is our position that the subject compact disc holder is not similar to other types of protective covers often referred to as "organizers" or "portfolios". See, HRL 951218, dated July 28, 1992 and HRL 950397, dated January 23, 1992, which classify and describe various types of organizers and portfolios. The organizers and portfolios are usually fitted with special design features, such as interior slits into which note pads are held in place, loops which accommodate pens and pencils, and means by which such items as calculators or day planners are affixed. These items, by design, actively organize their internal contents and form an integral unit with them. That is not the case with the Discwallet, whose primary purpose is not organizational, but to protect, store and enable the convenient transport of the compact discs.

In addition, even if the Discwallet was not classified in heading 4202, HTSUS, heading 3923, HTSUS, would still not provide for this article. The Discwallet is primarily used to store and protect compact discs. Customs has ruled that articles primarily used to protect or store goods are not classifiable in heading 3923, HTSUS, as that heading provides for articles for "packing" and "conveying". See, HRL 083441, dated October 23, 1989.

The Discwallet is made of plastic sheeting, which is one of the specified materials included in heading 4202, HTSUS, and it is similar to articles enumerated in heading 4202, HTSUS. Accordingly, the compact disc holder falls clearly within the purview of the term "similar containers" as set forth in heading 4202, HTSUS. Specifically, the Discwallet is classified in subheading 4202.92.9040, HTSUS.

The Discwallet is classified in subheading 4202.92.9040, HTSUS, which provides for "[t]runks, suitcases... binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases... and similar containers;...[o]ther: [w]ith outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials: [o]ther: [o]ther: [o]ther." The rate of duty is 20% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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