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HQ 955896

May 3, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955896 BC


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9986

Gene Schwam
Import Manager
Aircargo Brokerage Co.
2541 N.W. 72nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33122

RE: Classification of paperboard lidded box covered with textile materials; trinket boxes; decorative boxes; NYRL 894149

Dear Mr. Schwam:

This responds to your letter of January 12, 1994, wherein you requested a classification ruling for a textile covered basket and its contents, which include a textile covered decorative box. The basket and all contents except for the box were classified by the Area Director, New York Seaport, in ruling letter 894149, dated February 10, 1994. We have reviewed the matter concerning classification of the box and our decision follows. Your sample will be returned, as you requested.


The merchandise at issue is a lidded, heart shaped decorative box consisting of a paperboard frame covered with textile materials. The sample box measures 4 inches at its widest part and approximately 2 and 1/4 inches in height. The lid and bottom section are covered with woven textile fabric inside and out. The interior bottom and exterior lid are cushioned with foam. The box comes in a textile covered basket that includes several items in addition to the box: a lipstick holder, small straw hat with potpourri, pin cushion, and small mirror. Each item prominently features the same decorative textile material. This ruling is limited to the classification of the heart shaped box.


What is the proper classification for the textile covered decorative box at issue?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining rules will be applied in sequential order.

The Explanatory Notes (EN's) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System assist us in the classification of merchandise. The EN's constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. While not legally binding, they represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN's when interpreting the HTSUS. (See Treasury Decision (T.D.) 89-80, 23 Cust. Bull. 379 (1989), 54 Fed. Reg. 35,127 (August 23, 1989).)

Under GRI 1, consideration is given to the tariff provision for containers of heading 4202, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). This heading covers:

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; travelling 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 or with paper.

The question is whether the box at issue is of the kind considered a jewelry box under heading 4202, HTSUSA.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 953393, dated April 16, 1993, we classified boxes substantially similar to the box at issue here as other made up textile articles under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, concluding that they were more like trinket boxes than jewelry boxes of heading 4202, HTSUSA. The lidded boxes there classified were constructed of cardboard and covered with textile material. They were in the shape of a pentagon and measured 2 1/2 inches wide by 1 3/4 inches in height. In that ruling, classification in heading 4202, HTSUSA, was ruled out since the boxes were not specially designed, shaped or fitted to hold jewelry. Thus, we concluded that the boxes were not jewelry boxes of the ordinary kind, nor of the kind described in the following EN to heading 42.02:

The term "jewellery boxes" covers not only boxes specially designed for keeping jewellery [the ordinary kind], but also similar lidded containers of various dimensions (with or without hinges or fasteners) specially shaped or fitted to contain one or more pieces of jewellery and normally lined with textile material, of the type in which articles of jewellery are presented and sold and which are suitable for long term use.

In HRL 951028, dated March 3, 1993, we held that various boxes used in the retail sale of jewelry and similar items were jewelry boxes of the kind described in the above EN. The boxes there classified differ from the boxes classified in HRL 953393 (as well as the box at issue here) because they were specially shaped or fitted to contain jewelry and they were in fact used in the presentation and/or sale of such items, whereas the boxes in 953393 were not sold with jewelry but were sold as boxes for various uses limited only by the imagination of the ultimate consumer and the physical dimensions of the box.

The boxes presently under consideration are similar to those we have described in previous rulings (such as HRL 953393) as "trinket boxes." Trinket boxes are not specially designed, shaped or fitted for jewelry. They are not specially constructed to fit any particular item, but can be used to store various items including jewelry. (In addition to HRL 953393, April 16, 1993, see: HRL 952566, December 12, 1992; HRL 876018, July 22, 1992; and HRL 872453, April 7, 1992.)

Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the sample box is a trinket box. To reiterate, trinket boxes are boxes used for general purposes that are not specially shaped or fitted to hold jewelry. Since the box at issue is a trinket box, it is not classifiable according to GRI 1 as a jewelry box or similar container under heading 4202, HTSUSA. No other tariff provision provides explicitly for the box; therefore, it is classifiable by application of GRI 3, since GRI 2 directs that "goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be classified according to the principles of rule 3." The materials present in the sample box are cardboard and textile fabric. Under GRI 3(a), the following is provided:

The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

The applicable headings are 4823, HTSUS, covering other articles of paperboard, and 6307, HTSUS, covering other articles of textile materials. Here, as in HRL 953393, the applicable headings refer only to a part of the materials comprising the article. Therefore, they are considered to be equally specific, rendering classification on the basis of specificity (GRI 3(a)) inapplicable.

Under GRI 3(b), articles composed of two or more materials are classified according to essential character; that is, the article will be considered to consist of the material that imparts its essential character. Here, the paperboard provides the structure for the box, but the textile fabric provides aesthetic appeal and marketability. As in HRL 953393, we are unable to conclude that either component material imparts the essential character. Therefore, we must proceed to GRI 3(c).

Under GRI 3(c), the following is provided: "When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration." Under this rule, the box at issue is classifiable under heading 6307, HTSUSA. (See also 953634, September 10, 1993, for a similar conclusion.)


The subject paperboard box covered with textile fabric is classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up textile articles, including dress patterns: other: other: other: other: other. The applicable rate of duty is 7% ad valorem.

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 the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


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