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 > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0545510 - HQ 0556638 > HQ 0556248

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 556248

January 7, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 556248 RA


TARIFF NO.: 9811.00.60

Mr. William J. LeClair
Administrative and Regulatory Advisor
Trans-Border Customs Services, Inc.
One Trans-Border Drive
P.O. Box 800
Champlain, New York 12919

RE: Applicability of duty exemption to fabric samples imported from Canada in a wooden box

Dear Mr. LeClair:

This is in response to your letter of August 29, 1991, requesting a ruling on behalf of Samuelsohn Ltd. concerning the eligiblity for free entry under subheading 9811.00.60, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a sample kit, consisting of fabric swatches packed in a wooden container, to be imported from Canada.


The sample kit consists of 46 swatches of fabric for men's suits mounted on cards which are enclosed within a wooden box bearing a Samuelsohn decal on the top. Each swatch card represents a different sample of textile material and/or fiber blend and is valued at less than $1. The cards and fabric are of Canadian origin while the wooden box, valued at $8, is made in Poland. The total value of the sample kit is $20. The U.S. consignee of the samples takes orders for the suits, which are subsequently made in Canada by Samuelsohn.


Whether the fabric swatches on cards and the wooden container are entitled to free entry under subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS, as samples for soliciting orders for foreign merchandise.


Subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS, provides for the free entry of any sample either valued not over $1 each or marked, torn, perforated, or otherwise treated so that it is unsuitable for use otherwise than as a sample, to be used in the U.S. only for soliciting order for products of foreign countries. The swatches of fabric mounted on cards are valued at less than $1 each and are suitable for use only for the purpose of soliciting orders for foreign merchandise. Accordingly, they would be eligible for duty-free treatment under this tariff provision.

However, the wooden box holding the sample swatches is valued at more than $1 and is suitable for use otherwise than as a sample. General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) 5(a) and (b), HTSUS, which govern the tariff treatment of containers and packing materials, provide as follows:

(a) Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing instrument cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specifically shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, sutiable for long-term use and presented with the articles for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith. This rule does not, however, apply to containers which give the whole its essential character;

(b) Subject to the provisions of Rule 5(a) above, packing materials and packing containers presented with the goods therein shall be classified with the goods if they are of a kind normally used for packing such goods. However, this provision does not apply when such packing materials or packing containers are clearly suitable for repetitive use.

In our opinion, the wooden box in this case may not be classified with its contents pursuant to either GRI 5(a) or (b). The box is not analogous to the containers described in GRI 5(a) as it is not "specifically shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles." Moreover, the box clearly is suitable for repetitive use, rendering GRI 5(b) inapplicable. Accordingly, the wooden box would be separately classifiable and dutiable under the appropriate provision in Chapter 44, HTSUS.


Based on the information submitted, fabric swatches mounted on cards, valued at less than $1 each, and suitable only for use in soliciting orders for foreign merchandise, are entitled to free entry under subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS. The wooden box in which the swatches are imported, valued at more than $1 and suitable for repetitive use, is separately classifiable and dutiable under the appropriate provision in Chapter 44, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: