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 956809 - HQ 956911 > HQ 956829

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 956829

December 8, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956829 ch


TARIFF NO.: 4202.22.1500

Arlen T. Epstein, Esq.
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, New York 10048

RE: Tariff classification of handbags from China; articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag; wallet.

Dear Mr. Epstein:

This is in response to your letter of July 27, 1994, on behalf of RGA Accessories, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) for two styles of articles described as "wallets on a string." Please be advised that we are retaining the samples in order to facilitate uniformity of classification in this area.


The submitted samples are composed of leather. However, you advise that the imported merchandise will be composed of reinforced or laminated plastics. For the purposes of classifying these goods, we will assume that you are referring to articles with an outer surface of plastic sheeting, combined, or backed with textile materials.

The first samples is a navy bifold container with a detachable shoulder strap. It measures approximately 7 1/2 inches in length, 4 1/2 inches in width and is 1 1/4 inches thick in its closed position. A spectacle pouch closed by means of hook and loop fasteners has been affixed to the rear exterior of the article. A snap tab closure opens to reveal an interior which includes a zippered change pocket, nine credit card slots and an identification card window. It also possesses a check book holder inserted into a slot, a zippered pouch for holding paper currency and two open flat pockets. A zippered pocket which has been partitioned into two main sections has been placed between the spectacle pouch and the interior of the article. The pocket measures approximately 7 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches and opens to a width of approximately 3 1/2 inches by means of a pair of gussets. The interior walls of the pocket possess two flat pockets measuring approximately 2 inches by 3 1/2 inches, one of which contains a key chain.

The second sample is a black container with a detachable shoulder strap measuring approximately 7 3/4 inches in length and 4 1/2 inches in width. It possesses gussets which allow the article to expand from a thickness of approximately 1/2 inch to 5 1/2 inches. The exterior incorporates a spectacle pouch with a hook and loop fastener closure, as well as an open flat pocket measuring approximately 5 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches. The interior has been partitioned into three sections by two zippered pouches for coins or paper currency. One interior wall features slots for credit cards; the other an open flat pocket. A pen loop and a checkbook holder with an identification card window has been placed in one of the sections.


Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable in subheading 4202.22, HTSUS, which provides for handbags; or subheading 4202.32, HTSUS, which provides for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag?


Heading 4202, HTSUS, provides inter alia for handbags and wallets. Subheading 4202.22, HTSUS, encompasses handbags; subheading 4202.32, HTSUS, includes articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or handbag. The subheading Explanatory Note to heading 4202, at page 613, indicates that wallets are classified within subheading 4202.32. Pursuant to General Rule of Interpretation 6, classification of goods at the subheading level shall be effected mutatis mutandis with General Rules of Interpretation 1 through 5.

The term "wallet" is not defined in the HTSUS or in the applicable Explanatory Note to heading 4202, HTSUS. However, we note the following definitions of the term "wallet" from lexicographic sources:

Essential Terms of Fashion: A Collection of Definitions, Charlotte M. Calasibetta, Fairchild Publications, 1986: An item used to carry paper money, credit cards, photographs and sometimes with a change purse or space for a check book or pad.

The Fashion Dictionary, Mary Brooks Picken, Funk & Wagnalls, 1973: 1. Flat purse or pocketbook, for carrying either paper money or coins.

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Co., 1977: 1. a bag for carrying miscellaneous articles while traveling; 2 a: billfold b: a pocketbook with compartments for change, photographs, cards, and keys.

Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1988: 1. [Archaic] a knapsack; 2. a flat pocketbook, as of leather, with compartments for paper money, cards, etc.; billfold.

We also recognize that the term "handbag" has been defined as follows:

Essential Terms of Fashion: A Collection of Definitions: Accessory carried primarily by women and girls to hold such items as money, credit cards, and cosmetics.

The Fashion Dictionary: Soft or rigid bag carried in hand or on arm. Size, shape, handle, etc., depend on fashion. Used by women as container for money and pocket-sized accessories.

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary: 1. traveling bag; 2. a woman's bag held in the hand or hung from a shoulder strap and used for carrying small personal articles and money.

Webster's New World Dictionary: A bag, usually of leather or cloth, held in the hand or hung by a strap from the arm or shoulder and used, by women, to carry money, keys, and personal effects.

The submitted samples possess attributes of both wallets and handbags. For example, they feature credit card slots, pockets for paper currency/coins and identification card windows, which are associated with wallets. On the other hand, these articles possess shoulder straps and feature open and zippered pockets designed to carry a variety of personal effects, which are attributes of handbags. As the samples are described by two subheadings within heading 4202, HTSUS, we must resort to General Rule of Interpretation 3 to determine their proper classification.

In this instance, we regard the submitted samples as carry-all containers. We recognize that these items incorporate certain attributes of a wallet. However, the articles possess large gusseted pockets so that they cannot be characterized as flat. The pockets are spacious and are suitable for carrying keys on a chain, small cosmetics, tissues, as well as a comb or lipstick and other personal effects. Accordingly, the two samples are classifiable as handbags.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 4202.22.1500, HTSUS, which provides for handbags, whether or not with shoulder strap, including those without handle: with outer surface of sheeting of plastic. The applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: