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HQ 953175

February 17, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953175 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.9020

Ms. Lydia Cheng
Starite Industries, Inc.
P.O. Box 1852
Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

RE: Compact disc holder; cases used for storing, protecting and transporting; Legal Note 2(h) to Chapter 39; heading 3923; heading 4202; Explanatory Notes to heading 4202; HRLs 952487, 952700, 951080, 085519, 951218, 950397 and 083441; NYRL 868933

Dear Ms. Cheng:

This is in response to your letter dated December 7, 1992, to our New York office, in which you requested a tariff classification for a compact disc holder under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Two samples of the compact disc holders were submitted for our examination.


The compact disc holders are bi-fold style with zipper closures on three sides. The exterior of the articles is made of a nylon woven fabric. The next layer is foamed plastic padding, followed by a layer of cardboard. The innermost layer appears to be plastic. Model WM-650 measures approximately 6-1/4 inches by 6-1/4 inches by 3/4 inch. Model WM-651 measures approximately 6- 1/4 inches by 11-3/4 inches by 1-3/4 inches.

The compact disc holders feature a sheath-like pocket on each inside cover. The interior spine of each holder is reinforced with an imitation leather material. Each article has an insert of clear plastic pages ("wings"), which are bound and covered by heavy gauge plastic. The plastic tabs of the cover are inserted into the left and right sheaths and this forms the CD organizer. Model WM-650 is designed to contain 12 discs and model WM-651 has capacity for 24 discs.


Whether the compact disc holders at issue are classifiable as containers and cases similar to those enumerated 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 holders are items classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUS, then they are 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 sheeting of plastics, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper.

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 holders are 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 compact disc holders protect, store and provide a means of transport for compact discs. The fact that they do not have handles or shoulder straps does not remove them from classification in this heading.

Furthermore, Customs has recently classified a similarly constructed compact disc storage unit in heading 4202, HTSUS. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952487, dated December 29, 1992, we held that a compact disc holder with a snap closure that was designed to store and protect compact discs was a container similar to those enumerated in heading 4202, HTSUS. Customs classified this article in subheading 4202.92.9040, HTSUS. See also, HRL 952700, dated December 23, 1992, which classified a computer storage disc organizer in subheading 4202.92.9020, HTSUS; HRL 951080, dated May 14, 1992, which classified a cassette tape and compact disk carrying case in subheading 4202.92.90, HTSUS; HRL 085519, dated September 27, 1989, which also classified a cassette carrying case made of burlap and having an adjustable shoulder strap in subheading 4202.92.90, HTSUS; New York Ruling Letter 868933, dated December 18, 1991, which classified a 100% cotton textile compact disc case with a snap closure in subheading 4202.92.6000, HTSUS.

Moreover, it is our position that the subject compact disc holders are 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 compact disc holders at issue, whose primary purpose is not organizational, but to protect, store and enable the convenient transport of the compact discs.

In addition, even if the compact disc holders were not classified in heading 4202, HTSUS, Chapter 39, HTSUS, would still not provide for these articles. The subject articles are 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 compact disc holders have an outer surface of textile material, which is one of the specified materials included in heading 4202, HTSUS, and they are similar to articles enumerated in heading 4202, HTSUS. Accordingly, the compact disc holders fall clearly within the purview of the term "similar containers" as set forth in heading 4202, HTSUS. Specifically, the compact disc holders are classified in subheading 4202.92.9020, HTSUS. HOLDING:

The compact disc holders are classified in subheading 4202.92.9020, 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: of man-made fibers." The rate of duty is 20% ad valorem and the applicable textile quota category is 670.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available we suggest the importer check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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