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HQ 952576

February 16, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952576 ch


TARIFF NO.: 4820.10.2010

Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: Modification of NYRL 852865; bound diary and address book classifiable under subheading 4820.10.2010.

Dear Sir/Madam:

New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 852865, dated June 19, 1990, concerned the classification of an "agenda" (style number 8147) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). We have had occasion to review this ruling and find that the classification of said agenda under subheading 4820.10.4000, HTSUSA, is in error.


The merchandise at issue is a looseleaf book consisting of a steel six-ring binder which holds numerous paper inserts inside a cover that appears to be made essentially of plastic. The bulk of the pages are blank, but are lined and captioned to facilitate written entries of various kinds. The inserts include engagement calendars, a telephone/address book section, pages in which to record daily expenses, grids for "things to do," graph paper, plain lined paper, etc. A few pages contain printed information, such as weights and measures, area codes and time zones. The inside of the cover incorporates slots for credit cards, a pen loop and a zippered pocket. The agenda is secured by means of a strap/snap closure.

Your client contemplates importing the agenda with or without its paper inserts.

In NYRL 852865, the agenda imported with inserts was classified under subheading 4820.10.4000, HTSUSA, which provides, inter alia, for other articles similar to diaries. ISSUE:

Whether the subject merchandise imported with inserts is properly classified under subheading 4820.10.4000, which provides for other articles similar to diaries, or subheading 4820.10.2010, which provides for bound diaries?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in order.

Heading 4820, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, notebooks, order books, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar articles. The term "diary" is defined in the Compact Edition of the Oxford Dictionary (1987) as:

A book prepared for keeping a daily record, or having spaces with printed dates for daily memoranda and jottings; also applied to calendars containing daily memoranda on matters of importance to people generally, or to members of a particular profession, occupation, or pursuit.

In the past, we have ruled that merchandise similar to the subject item is classified as a "diary" under heading 4820. See HRL 089960, dated February 10, 1992, HRL 951076, dated March 18, 1992, HRL 952691, dated January 11, 1993. In addition, the instant agenda contains features, such as engagement calendars, a telephone/address book section, blank pages and daily expense spaces, that render it suitable for daily recordkeeping, memoranda and jottings. Hence, this item is classifiable under heading 4820.

In HRL 952691, we stated:

Customs has consistently determined that merchandise such as the submitted sample is classifiable in heading 4820, HTSUSA. When classifying such an article at the international level, Customs looks to whether the article at issue is bound. If the article is bound, it is classifiable as a diary under subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA, if it is not bound, it is classifiable as an article similar to a diary under subheading 4820.10.4000, HTSUSA.

In that ruling, we found that a daily planner secured by a metal three-ring binder was a bound diary under the HTSUSA. Similarly, in HRL 089960 we found that a leather agenda held together by a ring binder was a bound diary. As the instant merchandise is substantially similar to the items that were the subject of HRL 089960 and HRL 952691, and is secured by a ring binder, it is to be classified as a bound diary under subheading 4820.10.2010.


The subject merchandise imported with inserts is classifiable under subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for registers, account books, notebooks, order books, receipt books, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar articles: diaries, notebooks, and address books, bound; memorandum pads, letter pads and similar articles. The applicable rate of duty is 4 percent ad valorem.

This notice to you should be considered a modification of NYRL 852865 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 852865 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your client's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NYRL 852865 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, your client may, at its discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.


John Durant, Director

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