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HQ 958498

June 24, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 958498 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 3926.10.0000

Ms. Judy Reid
Celtic House
25 Queen St.
Amherst, N.S., Canada B4H 1R1

RE: Bookmarks

Dear Ms. Judy Reid:

This is in reference to your request for a ruling. Your request, addressed to our New York office, was referred to this office for reply. A sample bookmark was forwarded with your request.


The articles under consideration are bookmarks consisting of a printed paper sheet covered on both sides with clear plastic sheeting. Each bookmark is printed with a Celtic clan name and information related to that clan, e.g., the coat of arms, the crest, the motto and the tartan. The bookmarks are 2 inches wide by 7 inches long, have rounded edges and a hole at the top.


What is the classification of the instant article?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in - 2 -
accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require. The remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

In determining the classification of the subject bookmarks we considered provisions of the HTSUSA regarding both articles of plastic and printed matter. We noted that Legal Note 2 to section VII, HTSUSA, which is the section covering plastics, rubber, and articles thereof, states that "Except for the goods of heading 3918 or 3919, plastics, rubber and articles thereof, printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations, which are not merely incidental to the primary use of the goods, fall in chapter 49." Therefore, if the printing on the bookmarks is not merely incidental to the primary use of the goods, then classification would be in chapter 49, HTSUSA.

We examined the sample and concluded that the design enhances the appeal of the product, making it more marketable. However, we believe that the primary purpose of a bookmark is to mark a place in a book. The ability to discharge this function is unrelated to any words, pictures or symbols printed on the marker. In this regard we note that the plastics component exceed the thickness of the paper, that it makes the article rigid and durable, and permits it to perform the function for which it was designed. We have concluded that the printing is incidental to the primary purpose of the article, i.e., marking a place in a book. Therefore, the bookmark should not be classified as printed matter in chapter 49.

The Explanatory Notes to chapter 39 of the Harmonized System (EN), which represents the views of the international classification experts, in regards to combinations of plastics with paper, describes two types of combinations, provided they retain the essential character of articles of plastics. The first includes "products of another material such as metal foil, paperboard, etc." The second includes "paper-reinforced stratified plastic sheeting coaled or covered with a layer of plastics, the latter constituting more than half of the total thickness." In measuring this articles under magnification against a grid, the Customs laboratory found it to measure approximately 32 units (with 40 units equaling a mm). The inner paper layer comprises 11 units and the 2 plastic layers comprise 11 and 10 units, respectively.

The EN for heading 3926, HTSUSA, while listing bookmarks among a number of exemplars covered by that heading, do not specify the subheading in which they should be classified. Other exemplars included in that grouping include paperweights, paper-knives, blotting-pads, and pen rests. Prior Customs rulings have classified bookmarks in subheading 3926.90.9590, HTSUSA, as other articles of plastics, other, and in subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA, as other articles of plastics...office and school supplies. In considering this matter we have concluded that the subheading covering office and school supplies is the more specific of the 2 subheadings as to the instant article. Further, the exemplars with which the bookmarks are grouped in the EN are the types of articles normally associated with office or school activities. Accordingly, we have concluded that bookmarks, of the type under consideration, are classifiable as other articles of plastics...office and school supplies.


Bookmarks consisting of a printed paper sheet covered on both sides with clear plastics sheeting, where the printing on the paper sheet is merely incidental to the primary function of the bookmarks, are classified in subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA. Articles so classified are subject to a general rate of duty of 5.3 percent ad valorem.

Such articles which are produced entirely in the territory of Canada are eligible for preferential treatment under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) pursuant to General Note 12(b)(1), HTSUSA. Such merchandise is eligible for a special rate of duty of 1.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification

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