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 956912 - HQ 956975 > HQ 956934

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 956934

December 19, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956934 ch


TARIFF NO.: 4820.10.2010

Sonia Laurens
International Diversified Products
Ninth Floor
11755 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90025

RE: Modification of NYRL 860930; tariff classification of pocket diaries; diary; appointment book; engagement calendar.

Dear Ms. Laurens:

New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 860930, dated March 8, 1991, concerned the classification of a pocket diary under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). We have had occasion to review this ruling and find that the classification of said diary under subheading 4820.10.4000, HTSUS, is in error). Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter section 625), notice of the proposed revocation of NYRL 860930 was published November 16, 1994, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 45/46.


The submitted sample is a 1 by 8 1/2 by 17 1/2 cm book, permanently bound in bonded leather, composed mainly of blank pages which are lined and captioned to facilitate written entries of various kinds. The bulk of the pages constitute a year-long engagement calendar, with spaces provided for filling in reminders, appointments and the like each day. There are additional pages designated for address and telephone listings, and others for monthly plans and expenses. The book also contains a lesser number of pages which are printed with reference information, such as weights and measures, time zones and mileage charts.

In NYRL 860930, the article was classified under subheading 4820.10.4000, HTSUS, as an article similar to a diary.


Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable in subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUS, as a diary; or subheading 4820.10.4000, HTSUS, as an article similar to a diary?


Following the enactment of the HTSUS in 1989, the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, issued a number of ruling letters in which merchandise described as organizers, planners, agendas or engagement calendars were classified as articles similar to diaries. At that time, the provision for diaries was reserved for books used as personal journals and suitable for extensive notations or narratives. As the submitted sample was not suitable for these purposes, it was classified as an article similar to a diary.

However, these early decisions were superseded by a series of rulings from Customs headquarters. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 089960, dated February 10, 1992; HRL 952691, dated January 11, 1993; HRL 953172, dated March 19, 1993; HRL 953413, dated March 29, 1993; HRL 955253, dated November 10, 1993; HRL 955199, dated January 24, 1994. The headquarters decisions made reference to the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (1987), which defined the term "diary" as:

2. A book prepared for keeping a daily record, or having spaces with printed dates for daily memoranda and jottings; also applied to calendars containing daily memoranda on matters of importance to people generally, or to members of a particular profession, occupation, or pursuit.

Based upon this language, we have concluded that engagement books, agendas, organizers and planners which are designed primarily for the receipt of daily memoranda and jottings are classifiable as diaries.

Furthermore, in recent rulings we have referred to judicial authority concerning the scope of the term "diary." For example, in Baumgarten v. United States, 49 Cust. Ct. 275 (1962), the merchandise was described in part as a:

[P]lastic covered book, approximately 4 1/4 by 7 3/8 inches in dimensions. Its first few pages contain, successively, the date "1961," the notation "Personal Memoranda," calendars for the years 1960, 1961, and 1962, and a few statistical tables. The following 20-odd pages contain spaces for addresses and telephone numbers, each page more or less set aside for each letter of the alphabet. The remaining portion of the book consists of ruled pages allocated to the days of the year and the hours of the day and each headed with calendars for the current and following months. A blank-lined page, inserted at the end of each month's section, is captioned "Notes."

In Baumgarten, the Court observed that:

[T]he particular distinguishing feature of a diary is its suitability for the receipt of daily notations; and, in this respect, the books here in issue are well described. By virtue of the allocation of spaces for hourly entries during the course of each day of the year, the books are designed for that very purpose. That the daily events to be chronicled may also include scheduled appointments would not detract from their general character as appropriate volumes for the recording of daily memoranda.

Accordingly, the Court classified an appointment/telephone book with calendars and statistical information as a diary.

Similarly, in Brooks Bros. v. United States, 68 Cust Ct. 91 (1972), the submitted sample was an 8 inch by 10 inch spiral bound leather book which included pages suitable for use as a diary, but also possessed a significant amount of printed informational material. Citing Baumgarten, the Court noted that the "particular distinguishing feature of a diary is its suitability for the receipt of daily notations." As the informational material did not alter the essential nature of the article, it was classified as a diary.

In light of the foregoing administrative and judicial precedent, we conclude that the instant merchandise is properly classifiable as a diary of subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUS, as the article functions primarily as a place for the receipt of daily notations.


NYRL 860930, dated March 8, 1991, is hereby modified. The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUS, which provides for diaries and address books. The applicable rate of duty is 4 percent ad valorem.

In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decision pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice of position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: