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HQ 955715

May 19, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955715 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 8306.30.00

Ms. Sherry Baker
Wholesale Supply Company, Inc.
International Department,
7100 Service Merchandise Drive
Brentwood, TN 37027

RE: Silverplated purse compact/photo frame; EN VIII to 3(b); HRLs 955591, 080969, 080992, 080990; NYRLs 853119, 870055, 892472, 886914, 867567

Dear Ms. Baker:

This is in response to your letter received on January 11, 1994, requesting a ruling concerning the classification of a silverplated purse compact/photo frame under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). A sample was provided for our examination.


The article is identified as item 1266GYE purse compact/photo album. It is a rectangular silverplated base metal compact that measures approximately 3 1/4" by 2 1/2" by 1/4". It opens into 2 halves with one side being a silverplated frame and the other housing four accordion style plastic picture holders which are attached to a piece of velvet material glued to the inside bottom of the compact.


What is the classification of the photo compact?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1, HTSUS, states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. The headings under consideration are as follows:

3924 [t]ableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles of plastic:

3926 [o]ther articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914:

8306 [b]ells, gongs and the like, nonelectric, of base metal; statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal; photograph, picture or similar frames, of base metal; mirrors of base metal; and base metal parts thereof:

You suggest the the plastic picture holder component of the photo compact is described by heading 3924, HTSUS, because photo albums are generally considered classifiable there. We disagree. We are of the opinion that these plastic picture holders do not constitute a "photo album", but are merely plastic filler pages.

Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQRL) 955591 dated March 30, 1994, and New York Ruling Letters (NYRL) 853119, dated June 26, 1990, 870055, dated January 21, 1992, and 892472, dated December 15, 1993, classified binder/book type articles containing plastic filler pages for the display of pictures, as photo albums. NYRL 886914, dated June 18, 1993, classified a "photo display system" which consisted of a wooden photo storage box with a hinged flip-open lid and 6 small binder/book type articles each with 12 plastic filler pages, as a wooden storage box. NYRL 867567, dated October 10, 1991, classified filler pages containing pockets or pouches designed to hold eight 4" x 6" photographs, under heading 3926, HTSUS, as other articles of plastic.

While the component in question is used to display pictures, it is not housed in a binder/book type case which contains filler pages. It is merely attached to a thin piece of velvet which is then attached to the bottom inside of the compact. Therefore, the plastic picture holder component is classifiable as filler pages under heading 3926, HTSUS.

We are of the opinion that the metal picture frame component is described, eo nomine, under heading 8306, HTSUS. See HRLs 955591, 080969, dated November 21, 1988, 080992 and 080990 dated March 28, 1989.

Inasmuch as the photo compact is a composite good consisting of a silverplated base metal frame and plastic picture holders, and is described by more than one heading, it cannot be classified according to GRI 1.

When goods cannot be classified by applying GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied in descending order. GRI 2(a) provides for articles imported in unfinished or incomplete condition. As the photo compact is complete when imported, GRI 2(a) does not apply.

GRI 2 (b) states, in pertinent part, that any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of GRI 3. Therefore, because the photo compact is silverplated base metal and contains both a silverplated base metal frame and plastic picture holders, GRI 3 applies.

GRI 3 states that when, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) 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.

We are of the opinion that each heading refers to part only of the article in question. Heading 3926, HTSUS, refers to the plastic picture holder portion, and heading 8306, HTSUS, refers to the picture frame portion of the article. Therefore, the subheadings are considered equally specific and GRI 3(b) must be applied.

GRI 3 (b) states in pertinent part that:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be consulted. The Explanatory Notes (EN), although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128, (August 23, 1989). EN VIII to GRI 3(b), pg. 4, states that:

[t]he factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

We find that the silverplated frame imparts the essential character to this article. From examination, it appears that the silverplated frame provides the greater bulk, weight, and value of the compact. The plastic picture holder portion, is less durable, valuable, and appears to be easily removable from the compact. Therefore, we find that the photo compact is classifiable in heading 8306, HTSUS, specifically subheading 8306.30.00, HTSUS, which provides, in pertinent part, for base metal picture frames.


We find that the photo compact is classifiable in subheading 8306.30.00, HTSUS, which provides, in pertinent part for, photograph, picture, or similar frames. Goods classifiable under this provision are subject to a column one duty rate of 5.3% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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