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HQ 956940

November 25, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956940 ch


TARIFF NO.: 4820.10.2020

David C. Nicholson
Import Manager
4431 William Penn Highway
Murrysville, Pennsylvania 15668

RE: Reconsideration of DD 876202; classification of stationery articles; memorandum pad.

Dear Mr. Nicholson:

This is in response to your letter of August 11, 1994, requesting reconsideration of District Ruling (DD) 876202, dated July 28, 1992, in which you were advised of the classification of two articles described as writing pads under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). 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 DD 876202 was published October 19, 1994, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 42.


The submitted samples, styles 1000-10 and 1000-13, are portfolios which measure approximately 13 1/2 inches by 10 inches by 1 inch. They possess an outer surface of bonded leather and man-made vinyl coskin, respectively, and are secured by means of a zipper closure. Each sample features an exterior full wall flat pocket. A note pad measuring 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches is inserted into a slot of one interior wall. A pen holder has been placed at the spine. The opposite interior wall includes a pocket with a tapered accordion style gusset, a zippered pocket, two open pockets, an identification card holder and five slots for holding business cards.

In DD 876202, styles 1000-10 and 1000-13 were classified respectively in subheadings 4202.11.0030 and 4202.12.2035, HTSUS, as containers similar to attache cases and briefcases.


What is the proper tariff classification for the subject merchandise?


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

This heading covers various articles of stationery, 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.

(3) 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.

The goods of this heading may be bound with materials other than paper (e.g. leather, plastics or textile material) and have reinforcements or fittings of metal, plastics, etc. (Emphasis added).

This language indicates that articles of 4820, HTSUS, include portfolios, ring binders and folders designed for holding papers. They also include articles of the heading that are bound with leather or textile material. Heading 4820 encompasses articles of stationery with jackets or covers.

On the other hand, the EN to heading 4202, HTSUS, at page 613, provides in part that the heading does not cover:

Articles which, although they may have the character of containers, are not similar to those enumerated in the heading, for example, book covers and reading jackets, file-covers, document-jackets...and which are wholly or mainly covered with leather, sheeting of plastics, etc. Such articles fall in heading 42.05 if made of (or covered with) leather or composition leather, and in other chapters if made of (or covered with) other materials.

Thus, articles which may be regarded as containers are excluded from heading 4202 if they have the character of covers or jackets.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 951076, dated March 18, 1992, issued to Leeds Leather Products, we classified the "President Writing Pad," which was described as follows:

The second item, "President Writing Pad," is a 9 1/2 by 12 1/2 inch leather folder containing an 8 1/2 by 11 inch pad of lined writing paper. The cardboard backing sheet of the pad is slipped into a large pocket inside the leather folder, which also incorporates a pen holder and an additional pocket for loose papers.

In that decision, we noted that memorandum pads were classifiable in heading 4820, HTSUS. Citing lexicographic sources, we concluded that a memorandum pad is "an article featuring a block of blank pages attached at one end to facilitate note taking." We note that the HTSUS does not require a memorandum pad to be bound. The paper writing pad met the description of a memorandum pad. Moreover, we determined that the leather folder merely emphasized the primary purpose of the article, which was to provide a convenient and organized method to take notes. Accordingly, the "President Writing Pad" was classifiable as a memorandum pad of subheading 4820.10.2020, HTSUS.

Styles 1000-10 and 1000-13 are substantially similar in design and function to the "President's Writing Pad." Although the portfolios are somewhat more elaborate than the folder at issue in HRL 951076, they function primarily as organizational aids for note taking and retain the character of covers or jackets for the note pads. We recognize that these items possess some features which may also be found in an attache case or a briefcase (e.g. gussetted pocket). However, the exterior and interior pockets are essentially flat and are suitable only for loose papers, paper clips, business cards, small floppy discs and other flat items. Based on the foregoing, we conclude that styles 1000-10 and 1000-13 have the character of jackets and covers which are excluded from heading 4202, HTSUS. Consequently, they are classifiable as memorandum pads of subheading 4820.10.2020, HTSUS.


Styles 1000-10 and 1000-13 are classifiable under subheading 4820.10.2020, HTSUS, which provides for memorandum pads, letter pads and similar articles. The general column one rate of duty is 4 percent ad valorem.

DD 876202, dated July 28, 1992, is hereby revoked. 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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