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 > 1995 HQ Rulings > HQ 956472 - HQ 956576 > HQ 956539

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 956539

September 7, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956539 SK


TARIFF NO.: 4820.10.2010

Thomas E. Bernstein
Vice President
4431 William Penn Hwy.
Murrysville, PA 15668

RE: Classification of stationary articles; portfolio planner; attache case; memorandum pad; 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA; HRL 956497

Dear Mr. Bernstein:

This is in response to your letter of May 17, 1994, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a "Bonded Leather Organizer." A sample was submitted for Customs' examination.


The article at issue is referenced style number 1100-10 and is described as a "Bonded Leather Organizer." The item's leather case measures approximately 13-1/2 inches by 10 inches by 1 inch. The case features a zipper closure and a slip-in "calendar notepad" of paper. The latter consists of monthly and daily appointment calendar pages and lined note paper, spiral-bound along the top edge. The interior of the leather case incorporates a pen loop and pockets designed to hold business cards, computer discs and loose papers. The organizer has one full wall, flat, exterior pocket.


What is the proper tariff classification for the subject merchandise?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that
classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's.

Heading 4820, HTSUSA, provides for diaries, notebooks, memorandum pads and other articles of stationary, of paper or paperboard. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 4820 state in pertinent part, at page 687, that:

This heading covers various articles of stationary, other than correspondence goods of heading 4817 and the goods referred to in Note 9 to this Chapter. It includes:

(1) Registers, account books, note books of all kinds, order books, receipt books, copy books, diaries, letter pads, memorandum pads, engagement books, address books and books, pads, etc. for entering telephone numbers.

(2) Binders designed for holding loose sheets, magazines, or the like (e.g., clip binders, spring binders, screw binders, ring binders), and folders, file covers, (other than box files) and portfolios.

(8) Book covers (binding covers and dust covers), whether or not printed with characters (title, etc.) or illustrations.

This language indicates that articles of heading 4820, HTSUSA, include portfolios and folders designed for holding papers. They include items that are bound with leather or textile material. Heading 4820 encompasses articles of stationary that are bound with jackets or covers.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 955636, dated April 6, 1994, this office addressed the scope of subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for bound diaries and address books. In that ruling Customs noted:

"We think it imperative to recognize that there ` are many forms of 'diaries.' Many are similar to the instant articles. Others, may be bound with expensive materials such as leather and may contain additional components such as pens, pencils calculators, business card holders and assorted inserts that are used either for providing information or as a means of recording specific types of information (i.e., sections for fax numbers, car maintenance information, personal finance data, etc. ...). As the court in Brooks Bros. noted, citing Hancock Gross, Inc. v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 97, C.D. 3965 (1970), "[T]he primary design and function of an article controls its classification." Hence, the determinative criteria as to whether these types of articles are deemed "diaries" for classification purposes is whether they are primarily designed for use as, or primarily function as, articles for the receipt of daily notations, events and appointments." [Emphasis in original]

Style 1100-10 contains an engagement calendar and a note pad. The engagement calendar has been designed primarily as a place to jot down appointments and notes. The leather case functions in part as a cover for the engagement calendar. Based on the design features of the subject item, and its suitability for the receipt of daily notations, style 1100-10 is prima facie classifiable as a bound diary of subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA.

Style 1100-10 is not classifiable within heading 4202, HTSUSA, as an attache case, briefcase or similar container. As Customs noted in HRL 950325, dated December 27, 1991:

We do not believe that heading 4202, HTSUSA, describes a type of merchandise which would bring these goods within the "similar containers" of that heading. Although the "planner" may appear to be related to the containers of heading 4202, HTSUSA, they are not similar in that they are not designed or intended for use in a similar manner, nor do they exhibit the requisite physical attributes that Customs has found common to goods of heading 4202, HTSUSA.
(Emphasis added)

Accordingly, the subject merchandise is not classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUSA. Portfolio diaries, organizers, agendas or planners are generally excluded from this heading as they are not
used in a manner similar to, nor do they possess the physical characteristics of, articles of heading 4202, HTSUSA. See HRL 956497, dated August 3, 1994.


Style 1100-10 is classifiable under subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, bound diaries and address books, dutiable at a rate of 4 percent ad valorem.

Due to the nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: