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HQ 956375

September 27, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 956375 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9590; 4205.00.8000

District Director of Customs
1205 Royal Lane
P.O. Box 619050
DFW Airport
Dallas, TX 75261-0950

RE: Request for Further Review of Protest 5501-94-100076, Dated March 22, 1994, Concerning Leather Interior Linings for Attache Cases

Dear Mr. Greenleaf:

This ruling is on a protest that was filed against your decision of January 3, 1994, in the liquidation of an entry covering the referenced product. A sample was provided.


The product under consideration is identified as a leather interior file lining. It consists of a top file lining, a bottom file lining and two side panels. The sample top file lining which, according to Customs laboratory analysis, has a surface composed of 77 percent leather and 23 percent pekary materials, consists of three expandable pockets, snap tabs, a pouch with snap closures and two open pockets which can hold small papers or business cards. It is glued to a cardboard backing. The sample bottom file lining and side rails are made of pekary materials glued to a cardboard backing. The pekary materials are stated to be composed of 22 percent cotton, 42 percent polyester and 36 percent polyurethane. The technical name of the pekary is "poly/cotton base coagulated urethane." According to the importer the materials and percentages are dictated by their U.S. customers. The importer advises that these linings are shipped directly from the overseas fabricator to the importer's customers who install them in attache products.


How is the subject product which is composed of leather and plastics parts and is inserted in attache products subsequent to importation, classified?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

We noted that the linings were invoiced as sets. We also noted that the protesting party believes that the lining should be classified in subheading 4205.00.8000, HTSUSA, pursuant to GRI 3(c). Since the product is not an entire item in itself but a part of an attache case in which it is inserted subsequent to importation and there is no provision for parts of attache cases, preliminary consideration of the protestant's arguments would appear to be with merit. We consulted paragraph (IX) and (X) of GRI 3(b) for guidance as to whether the product would be considered a composite good or a set. We do not believe it would meet the definition of either.

The linings are parts of an article and only get combined therewith subsequent to importation. Since the linings are not capable of performing any function until they are combined with attache cases, we do not believe that the lining components form a whole. They, therefore, are neither composite goods of different materials nor composite goods of different components. We also do not believe that they meet the tariff definition for sets even though they may be commercially known as sets. The linings do not consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity nor are they put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

In view of the above and since there is no HTSUSA provision for parts of attache cases, we believe that each of the components of the lining must be separately classified. Accordingly, we have concluded that the top file lining, which is composed primarily of leather, is classifiable in the provisions for articles of leather or of composition leather and that the bottom file lining and side rails should be classified under the provision for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials. The cardboard and pekary components of such lining appear to be in the nature of stiffening or reinforcing agents. - 3 -


The top file lining with a surface area of 77 percent leather and 23 percent pekary (plastics) is, based on its predominant material, classifiable in subheading 4205.00.8000, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of leather or of composition leather: other: other. It is subject to a free general rate of duty. The bottom file lining and side rails composed of pekary which is 78 percent plastics material is based on its predominant material, classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9590, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: other: other... other. They are subject to a general rate of duty of 5.3 percent ad valorem.

You are instructed to deny the protest, except to the extent reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above results in a net duty reduction and partial allowance.

A copy of this ruling should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be provided by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of their decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision of the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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