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HQ 957707

June 26, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:F 957707 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 3304.10.0000; 3304.20.0000; 3304.30.0000; 3304.91.0010; 4202.12.2020; 9603.30.6000

Ms. Grace Padilla
W.J. Byrnes & Co.
Post Office Box 280205
San Francisco, California 94128

RE: "Cosmetic Set;" Plastic Carrying Case and Cosmetics; Not Set

Dear Ms. Padilla:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of January 25, 1995, on behalf of your client, Sanrio, Inc., concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of an article identified as a "Cosmetic Set," imported from Taiwan. A sample was submitted with your request.


The sample article, identified by item no. 17362, consists of a molded plastic, semi oval-shaped carrying case with a handle and a slider lock. The case measures approximately 6-1/2 inches in length by 5-1/2 inches in width by 2-1/4 inches in depth (closed). The top half of the case is translucent. A flimsy plastic packer tray (with a flimsy, clear plastic top liner) is seated in the bottom half of the case's interior. The easily removable tray is fitted to hold cosmetic articles which consist of one lipstick, one bottle of nail polish, one shade of blush, five shades of cream eyeshadow, and two eyeshadow brushes. The complete article will be imported suitable for direct retail sale without repacking.


Whether the article is properly classified as a set, or as individual, separately classifiable components. -2-


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

As noted above, item no. 17362 consists of numerous individual components. The article cannot be classified by reference to GRI 1 because several of the components are classifiable in different headings. The lipstick, nail polish, eyeshadows, and blush are classifiable in heading 3304, HTSUS, as beauty or make-up preparations. The plastic case is classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUS, as a vanity case. The eyeshadow brushes are classifiable in heading 9603, HTSUS, as brushes.

In pertinent part, GRI 2(b) states that:

[t]he classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

GRI 3(a) directs that the headings are regarded as equally specific when each of the three separate headings refers to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale. Therefore, to determine under which provision the article will be classified, we look to GRI 3(b), which in pertinent part states that:
goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) provides the following guidance concerning the essential character determination:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material -3-
or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

Each cosmetic component is essentially similar in nature and value, and complements the other cosmetic components, providing play and adult grooming practice for young girls. The plastic case component, however, is unique. It serves to collect, organize, transport, and store the cosmetic components with which it is entered. Explanatory Note X(b) to GRI 3(b) relates that:

For the purposes of this Rule, the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which:
consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity....

Although the plastic case is the component of greatest bulk, weight, and value, the substance of Explanatory Notes VII and X(b) indicates that the case's dissimilarity from the other components precludes it from providing the whole article with its essential character. The case and cosmetic components are not mutually complementary, not adapted to one another, and are not put up to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity. Thus, the goods do not comprise a set.

We next note that certain containers may be classified with the articles they are designed to hold, if the requirements of GRI 5(a) are met. In pertinent part, GRI 5(a) states that:

Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing instrument cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, suitable for long- term use and entered with the articles for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith.

We note from the above that it is the case or container itself, which must be specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific set of articles. The flimsy plastic tray into which the cosmetic components are inserted is not a part of the actual container. Hence, we do not regard the plastic case as one that is specially shaped or fitted, and find that GRI 5(a) does not operate to make the container classifiable with its contents. Therefore, each individual component, in addition to the container, is separately classifiable. -4-


The individual components of item no. 17362, packaged together for retail sale as a "Cosmetics Set," are separately classified as follows:

The lipstick is properly classified in subheading 3304.10.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Beauty or make-up preparations...manicure or pedicure preparations: Lip make- up preparations." The applicable duty rate is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

The eyeshadows are properly classified in subheading 3304.20.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Beauty or make-up preparations...manicure or pedicure preparations: Eye make- up preparations." The applicable duty rate is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

The nail polish is properly classified in subheading 3304.30.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Beauty or make-up preparations...manicure or pedicure preparations: Manicure or pedicure preparations." The applicable duty rate is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

The blush is properly classified in subheading 3304.91.0010, HTSUSA, the provision for "Beauty or make-up preparations... manicure or pedicure preparations: Other: Powders, whether or not compressed, Rouges." The applicable duty rate is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

The carrying case is properly classified in subheading 4202.12.2020, HTSUSA, the provision for "Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases...holsters and similar containers;...: Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases...and similar containers: With outer surface of plastics or of textile materials: With outer surface of plastics, Structured, rigid on all sides: Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases and similar containers." The applicable duty rate is 20 percent ad valorem.

The brushes are properly classified in subheading 9603.30.6000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Brooms, brushes...squeegees (other than roller squeegees): Artists' brushes, writing brushes and similar brushes for the application of cosmetics: Valued over 10 cents each." The applicable duty rate is 2.5 percent ad valorem.

Lipstick, nail polish, eyeshadows, and blushes may be subject to regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Questions regarding these products may be directed to: -5-

5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20857
(301) 443-1544, 3170


John Durant, Director

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