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HQ 956322

May 19, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956322 BC


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9986

Rose Langenberger
Target Stores
33 South Sixth Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440

RE: Classification of paperboard lidded boxes covered with textile materials, plastic sequins, and glass beads; trinket boxes; decorative boxes

Dear Ms. Langenberger:

This responds to your letter of March 15, 1994, wherein you requested a binding classification ruling for textile covered boxes. Your request was forwarded to this office for a response. We have reviewed the matter and our decision follows.


The merchandise at issue are small, lidded decorative boxes (without hinges) consisting of a paperboard frame covered inside and out with a 100% polyester (textile) fabric. The fabric is bright and colorful. The four samples submitted with your request are in the shape of a heart, star, small rectangle, and long rectangle. The heart and star shaped boxes are approximately 2.75 inches wide x 1.5 inches deep; the small rectangular box is 2.75 inches x 2.25 inches x 1.5 inches deep; the long rectangular box is 8.0 inches x 2.0 inches x 1.5 inches deep. The exterior lid and interior bottom of each box is padded with foam. The exterior lid of each box is ornamented with alternating rows of plastic sequins and glass beads. You state that the boxes are sold empty in the jewelry department and their purpose is to store small items.


What is the proper classification for the lidded decorative boxes 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).)

The boxes at issue are known as trinket boxes. The classification of this kind of box is well established. The following Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL's) have classified boxes substantially similar to the boxes at issue as other articles of textile materials under heading 6307, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA): 872453, April 7, 1992; 876018, July 22, 1992; 952566, December 12, 1992; 953393, April 16, 1993; 953634, September 10, 1993; 955007, December 13, 1993; 955896, May 3, 1994; and 955913, May 3, 1994, to name a few.

This abundance of precedent is relevant to the instant case, particularly HRL 955007 where we classified boxes nearly identical to the boxes at issue here. The boxes there classified, like those at issue here, had interior and exterior padding and an exterior top ornamented with sequins and beads. In that ruling, we described trinket boxes as follows:

[B]oxes that are not specially designed, shaped, or fitted for jewelry. In fact, they are not specially constructed to fit any particular item. Various kinds of articles can be placed in them, limited only by the size of the box, including jewelry, cosmetics, keepsakes, stamps, paper clips, postcards, photographs, etc. [Note that boxes of this general type come in various sizes, some capable of holding the larger items mentioned.]

No tariff provision provides explicitly for the boxes at issue; therefore, they are 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 primary materials present in the sample boxes are cardboard and polyester (textile) fabric. We base this conclusion on the fact that the cardboard and fabric form the entire box, while the sequins and beads cover only the top of the lid. Also, the sequins and beads provide only adornment, which merely enhances the decorative aspect of the boxes already provided by the bright and colorful 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, 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 boxes, but the textile fabric provides aesthetic appeal and marketability (as decorative articles). 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 boxes at issue are classifiable under heading 6307, HTSUSA.


The subject paperboard boxes, covered with polyester (textile) fabric, plastic sequins, and glass beads, are 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 (concerning textile materials), 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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