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HQ 960180

August 12, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 960180 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4202.22.8050

Louis S. Shoichet, Esquire
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway, 43rd Floor
New York, New York 10036-8901

RE: Reconsideration of NY B80553; Classification of Wallet or Small Handbag

Dear Mr. Shoichet:

This letter is in response to your request of January 27, 1997, on behalf of your client, Avon Products, Inc., for reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) B80553, issued January 21, 1997, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a clutch purse or wallet made in China and/or the Philippines. A sample was submitted with your request.


In NY B80553, Customs classified the article in subheading 4202.22.8050, HTSUSA, textile category 670, the provision for "Handbags, whether or not with shoulder strap, including those without handle: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: With outer surface of textile materials: Other: Other: Other, Of man-made fibers," with an applicable duty rate of 19.3 percent ad valorem.

The sample, identified by product number 155985 and described as a "Zip Clutch," is essentially composed of 100 percent nylon textile fabric. The article measures approximately -2-

4 inches in height by 7-1/2 inches in width by 1-1/8 inch in depth when empty and in the closed position. There is no carrying strap. A metal zippered closure extends along 3 sides of the item's central compartment, which opens to reveal 2 gusseted pockets, each extending the full width of the article. The gussets allow each pocket to expand and form an opening which measures approximately 1-3/4 inches in width. Between the two pockets is a separate zippered compartment. At the rear wall of each gusseted pocket is a slot compartment for flat items such as currency. The central compartment is capable of holding several small 3-dimensional objects at one time.

The front exterior of the article consists of a flap that is secured with a metal, snap fastener. When the flap is fully opened, the article measures approximately 8 inches in height. The interior of the flap contains 1 slot compartment extending the full width of the article, and 8 slots sized to contain credit cards, identification cards, a driver's license, etc. The interior side opposite the flap features 1 full-width slot compartment.


Whether the article is properly classified in subheading 4202.32, HTSUS, as an article of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag; or in subheading 4202.22, HTSUS, as a handbag.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined 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 may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) 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 GRI.

Among other goods, heading 4202, HTSUS, provides for traveling bags, handbags, wallets, and similar containers. Since the merchandise is similar to a handbag and/or to a wallet, it is covered by the heading. -3-

Subheading 4202.22 (as well as subheadings 4202.21 and 4202.29), HTSUS, covers handbags, whether or not with shoulder strap, including those without handles.

Subheadings 4202.32, 4202.31, and 4202.39, HTSUS, cover articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag. The subheading EN to these three provisions states:

These subheadings cover articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag and include spectacle cases, note-cases (bill-folds), wallets, purses, key-cases, cigarette-cases, cigar-cases, pipe-cases and tobacco-pouches.

On June 21, 1995, this office published a General Notice in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 29, Number 25, concerning goods identified as "Wallets on a String." The attributes of both handbags and articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag were discussed. With regard to Articles of a Kind Normally Carried in the Pocket or in the Handbag, the notice stated in pertinent part that:

Such articles include wallets, which may be described as flat cases or containers fitted to hold credit/ identification cards, paper currency, coins and in some instances a checkbook holder. Articles meeting this description which also possess a detachable carrying strap have been classified as flatgoods.

In order to be classifiable as a flatgood, the article must fit comfortably in a handbag or pocket. For example, rectangular or square cases measuring approximately 7-1/2 inches by 4-1/2 inches, or 4-3/4 inches by 4-1/2 inches, in their closed position, have been classified as flatgoods.

Combining the characteristics of two flatgoods does not transform a flatgood into a handbag. Thus, the addition of a spectacle case holder to what is otherwise nothing more than a flat case with a carrying strap has been classified as a flatgood.

With respect to Handbags, the notice stated that:

A handbag functions as a carry-all container for various small personal effects: -4-

A container which is not fitted to hold articles such as credit/identification cards, paper currency, coins or a checkbook holder is classifiable as a handbag. Therefore, a clutch bag or an evening bag measuring, for example, 7-1/2 inches by 4-1/2 inches, shall be classified as a handbag.

The determinative feature of a handbag is its ability to hold several objects not associated with a wallet. A bag which may accommodate articles such as a hairbrush, cosmetics, keys and other loose personal effects shall be classified as a handbag, even if it also incorporates the features of a flat case fitted to hold the items set forth above.

The presence of gusseted and/or zippered compartments will be taken into consideration in a determination of whether a case has generic carrying capacity. The presence of a wrap-around zipper may be an indication that the container is a carry-all if the zipper creates an inner space suitable for carrying three-dimensional objects.

With respect to the "zip clutch," we note that the article is fitted to hold items such as credit cards, paper currency, and photos, and is of a size suitable for carrying in a handbag. The article is also designed, however, to hold 3-dimensional items not associated with the capacities of a flatgood. Its central compartment's gusseted pockets provide a generic carrying capacity for a variety of loose personal effects (e.g., lipstick, pens, a set of keys, etc.). We thus conclude that the "zip clutch" is classifiable as a handbag.


The article identified by product number 155985, and described as a "Zip Clutch," is classified in subheading 4202.22.8050, HTSUSA, the provision for handbags with outer surface of textile materials. The general column one duty rate is 19.3 percent ad valorem.

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 subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we -5-
suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your 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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

NY B80553, issued January 21, 1997, is hereby affirmed.


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