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 0953858 - HQ 0954028 > HQ 0953991

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 953991

September 27, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953991 ch


TARIFF NO.: 4202.22.8050

Martin B. Levy
Edison Brothers Stores, Inc.
501 N. Broadway
Post Office Box 66995
St. Louis, Missouri 63166-6995

RE: Modification of DD 880154; classification of handbags; polypropylene strip; plastic sheeting.

Dear Mr. Edison:

District Ruling Letter (DD) 880154, dated November 19, 1992, concerned the classification of two handbags 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 this merchandise under subheading 4202.22.1500, HTSUSA, is in error.


The merchandise at issue are two handbags, styles EB-4100 and EB-4101. Each handbag is wholly covered with a woven material of polypropylene (visca) strips. Each strip has an apparent width of less than 5 mm in width.

In DD 880154, the handbags were classified under subheading 4202.22.1500, HTSUSA, as handbags with outer surface of plastic sheeting.


Whether the instant handbags are classified under subheading 4202.22.1500, HTSUSA, which provides for handbags with outer surface of plastic sheeting; or subheading 4202.22.8050, HTSUSA, which provides for handbags with outer surface of man-made fibers?


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 4202 provides for:

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, or textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper. (Emphasis added).

Thus, handbags wholly covered with plastic sheeting or of textile materials are classified under heading 4202. Specifically, handbags are classified under subheading 4202.22 at the six- digit classification level.

At the eight-digit level handbags are classified according to the material comprising their outer surface. In this case, the handbags are wholly covered with polypropylene strips measuring less than 5 mm in apparent width. If the polypropylene strips are classified as plastic sheeting under the HTSUSA, the handbags are classifiable under subheading 4202.22.1500, HTSUSA. However, if the strips are classified as textile materials, the handbags are classifiable under subheading 4202.22.8050, HTSUSA.

Chapter 39, HTSUSA, provides for plastics and articles thereof. Sheets of plastic in their various forms are classifiable within subheadings 3919 through 3921.

Section XI, HTSUSA, provides for textiles and textile articles. Note 1(g) to Section XI provides that the section does not cover:

Monofilament of which any cross-sectional dimension exceeds 1 mm or strip or the like (for example, artificial straw) of an apparent width exceeding 5 mm, of plastics (chapter 39), or plaits or fabrics or other basketware or wickerwork of such monofilament or strip (chapter 46). (Emphasis added).

Under the terms of Section XI, note 1(g), plastic strips with an apparent width exceeding 5 mm are not classifiable as textile materials. In addition, note 1(g) implies that plastic strips with an apparent width less than 5 mm are classifiable as textile materials. As the instant polypropylene strips have an apparent width of less than 5 mm, they are classifiable as textile materials of Section XI, and not as plastics sheets of Chapter 39.

Section XI, Chapter 54, HTSUSA provides for man-made filaments. Note 1 to Chapter 54 states in part that:

Throughout the tariff schedule, the term "man-made fibers" means staple fibers and filaments of organic polymers produced by manufacturing processes, either:

(a) By polymerization of organic monomers, such as polyamides, polyesters, polyurethanes or polyvinyl derivatives; or

(b) By chemical transformation of natural organic polymers (for example, cellulose, casein, proteins, or algae), such as viscose rayon, cellulose acetate, cupro or alginates.

The terms "synthetic" and "artificial," used in relation to fibers, mean: synthetic: fibers as defined (a); artificial: fibers as defined at (b).

Thus, synthetic fibers are a class of man-made fibers.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The General EN to Chapter 54 state, at page 749, that one of the main synthetic fibers is polypropylene. Specifically, the EN to heading 5404, HTSUSA, at page 754, provide for synthetic textile materials which do not exceed 5 mm. Therefore, the polypropylene strips comprising the outer surface of the instant handbags shall be classified as man-made fibers.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 4202.22.8050, HTSUSA, which provides inter alia for handbags: with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials: with outer surface of textile materials: other: other: other: of man-made fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 670.

This notice to you should be considered a modification of DD 880154 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). 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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: