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NY B80346

December 23, 1996

CLA-2-42:RR:NC:3:341 B80346


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.1500

Mr. Steven S. Weiser
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
Counselors At Law
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway - 43RD FL
New York, NY 10036-8901

RE: The tariff classification of a lady's tote bag of woven plastic strips and narrow fabrics from China. HTS 4202 vs 4602, HTS 4202.92.1500

Dear Mr. Weiser:

In your letter dated December 9, 1996, you requested a classification ruling. The request is on behalf of Liz Claiborne Accessories, Inc.

A sample of a shopper type bag identified as style HB732604/5 has been submitted. The tote measures approximately 11" x 11" x 4" and is open at the top. The bag is unlined and has double shoulder straps of imitation leather of fabric coated polyurethane material. The base of the bag and top collar are of a similar imitation leather material. The bag body is wholly of strips of clear Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) approximately 19 mm in width and lengths of a narrow fabric approximately 19 mm in a folded condition. The narrow fabric, which is blue in color, is composed of an outer of a fancy woven textile material which simulates a narrow corduroy or pile fabric and a non-woven fabric backing. The woven textile material is said to be of 62 percent cotton fibers by weight. Both of the clear PVC strips and the narrow fabric are woven into a basket weave construction to form the main body of the bag. There are an equal number of PVC strips and lengths of narrow fabric. In the condition as found in the woven body, the PVC strips are considered to be a plaiting material and the narrow fabric is a textile material. Combined, the two materials form a composite as provided in General Rule of Interpretation 3(b), Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States, Annotated (HTSUSA). In its condition as the woven body of the tote bag, the composite of the strips and narrow fabric form the essential character of the bag.

In classifying this imported article wherein the component which imparts the essential character is composed of composite materials, it is necessary to determine the essential character of the bag body. In this instant the competing materials are the narrow fabric and the PVC plaiting materials.

The Explanatory Notes, GRI 3(b), composites, provide several examples of factors or methods by which to determine the essential character. No one method is determinative and none is an absolute. The Notes are merely a guide. The factors may vary among different kinds of goods. In addition to such factors as bulk, quantity, weight or value, the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods can be considered.

Although the weight of the PVC strips may be greater than the weight of the narrow fabric, the numerical quantity and area coverage of strips and fabric is equal. The value of the narrow fabric is greater than the value of the PVC strips. We do not agree that the PVC strips have a greater importance to the bag construction. Each component forms as integral part of the bag as the other in terms of construction.

However, it is the narrow fabric which imparts the visual impact of the bag. The fancy nature of the fabric and its color are what cause it to attract the buyer. Without the colored, fancy narrow fabric, the bag would be like any other plain PVC tote bag. The color, which can vary, permits the bag to be color coordinated with other accessories as well as lend the over all attractiveness to the bag. The role of the narrow fabric is make the bag standout from other bags of woven PVC strips. It is the opinion of this office that the essential character of the woven basket weave material is imparted by the narrow fabric.

Your sample is being returned as you requested.

The applicable subheading for style HB732604/5 will be 4202.92.1500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, of vegetable fibers and not of pile or tufted construction, of cotton. The duty rate will be 7 percent ad valorem. The duty rate for 1997 will be 6.9 percent ad valorem.

Items classifiable under 4202.92.1500 falls within textile category designation 369. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of China are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. 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 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.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Kevin Gorman at 212-466-5893.


Roger J. Silvestri

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