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HQ 957632

March 24, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 957632 ch


TARIFF NO.: 4202.32.9550; 4202.22.8050

David Krakauer
RGA Accessories, Inc.
4 West
33 Street
New York, New York 10001-3386

RE: Tariff classification of "wallets on a string"; handbag; articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag; wallet.

Dear Mr. Krakauer:

This is in response to your letter, dated January 23, 1995, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) for two articles described as "wallets on a string." Samples were sent to this office for examination.


The first sample, style R1224, is a bifold container with a three-sided zipper closure. It features a detachable shoulder strap and measures approximately 7.25 inches in length, 4 inches in width and .5 inches thick in its closed position. A spectacle pouch secured by means of a snap flap has been affixed to the front exterior of the article. The opposite exterior wall features a zippered coin/utility pocket measuring approximately 2.25 inches by 5.5 inches. The interior possesses a total of ten credit card slots, an identification card window, a billfold section for paper currency and a removable checkbook cover. The exterior surface is composed of man-made textile materials, with a decorative suede leather patch on the front flap of the spectacle case holder.

The second sample, style R1225, is a container with a detachable shoulder strap measuring approximately 7.25 inches in length and 4.25 inches in width. It possesses a center zippered compartment which has two gusseted sections. A trifold compartment with a decorative leather flap and snap closure has been affixed to the front of the article. The trifold opens to reveal a small mirror, three open pockets for paper currency and the like, three credit card slots, an identification card holder with clear window, a pen holder and a checkbook cover. In addition, the exterior of the trifold incorporates an open pocket. A spectacle case holder secured by means of hook and loop fasteners has been affixed to the rear the article. Style R1225 possesses an exterior surface composed mainly of man-made textile materials.


What is the proper tariff classification for the subject merchandise?


Heading 4202, HTSUS, provides inter alia for handbags and wallets. Subheadings 4202.22 through 4202.29, HTSUS, encompass handbags; subheadings 4202.31 through 4202.39, HTSUS, describe 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 as an article of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag. 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 a shoulder strap and combine the features of more than a single flatgood (e.g., wallet, spectacle case). As the samples are described by two subheadings within heading 4202, HTSUS, we must resort to General Rule of Interpretation 3, in conjunction with General Rule of Interpretation 6, to determine their proper classification.

Although the presence of a carrying strap permits the articles to be worn on the shoulder in a manner consistent with a handbag, we conclude that a strap in and of itself should not affect their classification. In this regard, we note that the provision for handbags specifies that handbags may or may not have a shoulder strap. Moreover, in this instance the straps are detachable, suggesting a dual use for the merchandise as articles to be carried in a handbag. It should also be noted that as a class of merchandise wallets are normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag, notwithstanding the fact that it has recently become popular to carry these items by means of a shoulder strap.

Furthermore, we are of the opinion that the determinative feature of a handbag is its ability to hold several objects not associated with a wallet. In this instance, style R1224 is fitted to hold objects associated with a wallet. It is flat and possesses slots and pockets to hold credit cards, identification cards, paper currency and coins. In addition, it is of a size suitable for carrying in a handbag. We note that the addition of the spectacle case is a step in the direction of a handbag, as the article begins to take the character of a carry-all container. In addition, the zipper closure is not characteristic of a wallet. However, the article does not possess sufficient capacity to hold small personal effects which are typically carried in the handbag (e.g., hairbrush, cosmetics, keys on a chain). Moreover, the zipper closure merely prevents the contents from falling out and is not an indication that the article possesses extraneous carrying capacity. Consequently, we conclude that style R1224 is most specifically described by the provision for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag.

By way of contrast, we regard style R1225 as a handbag. Although this item incorporates the features of a wallet, the center gusseted section provides ample room for holding keys on a chain, cosmetics and other miscellaneous effects. The trifold and the spectacle case augment the function of the article as a carry-all container. For these reasons, style R1225 is classifiable as a handbag of subheading 4202.22, HTSUS.

At the six-digit classification level, articles of heading 4202, HTSUS, are segregated according to the material composition of their outer surface. Heading 4202 indicates that handbags and wallets are classified therein if they are wholly or mainly covered with textile materials. Styles R1224 and R1225 are mainly covered with textile materials. We regard the decorative leather flaps as akin to trimming. Consequently, the articles possess an outer surface of textile materials for classification purposes.


Style R1224 is classifiable under subheading 4202.32.9550, HTSUS, which provides for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag, of man-made textile fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 19.8 ad valorem. The textile visa category is 670.

Style R1225 is classifiable under subheading 4202.22.8050, HTSUS, which provides for handbags, of man-made textile fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 19.8 ad valorem. The textile visa category is 670.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are the subject of frequent negotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at the local Customs office.

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


John Durant, Director

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