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HQ 958927

June 17, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 958927 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4202.11.0030; 4202.12.2035

S. Richard Shostak, Esquire
Stein Shostak Shostak & O'Hara
515 South Figueroa Street, Suite 1200
Los Angeles, California 90071-3329

Dear Mr. Shostak:

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 957943, issued November 22, 1995, you were advised on behalf of your client, Day Runner, that if imported together with their paper inserts, the ring binder organizers identified by style numbers 202-6099 and 201-5099 were prima facie classifiable in both headings 4202 and 4820, HTSUS. Pursuant to a General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(c) analysis, the two styles were classified in subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA, the provision for "Registers, account books, notebooks, order books, receipt books, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar articles: Diaries, notebooks and address books, bound; memorandum pads, letter pads and similar articles, Other."

In Avenues in Leather v. United States, Slip Op. 98-54, decided April 24, 1998 (hereinafter Avenues), the Court of International Trade (CIT) considered the classification of goods similar to style nos. 202-6099 and 201-5099 above. The items before the CIT also featured certain characteristics common to the enumerated exemplars of headings 4202 and 4820, HTSUS. The Court essentially found that competition between headings 4202 and 4820 was resolved by note 1(g) to chapter 48 (now note 1(h) to chapter 48), which excludes articles of heading 4202 from Chapter 48. The Court noted the requirement of GRI 1, that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes," and that subsequent GRI could be used provided that the headings or section or chapter notes "do not otherwise require." The Court found that, since the exclusionary note to chapter 48 does
require that other GRI not be used to determine classification, items that can be classified under heading 4202 are specifically excluded from classification under all of chapter 48, without the necessity of resorting to any other GRI.

This letter is sent to you as a courtesy, to advise you that this office is in agreement with the rationale of the CIT in Avenues (copy attached), and that rulings issued by Customs under the provisions of 19 CFR 174 or 177, that are inconsistent with the principles of the Avenues decision are revoked or modified by operation of law. In this instance, by operation of law, the Avenues case modified HQ 957943 with respect to style nos. 202-6099 and 201-5099, which are classified under heading 4202, HTSUS, whether or not they are imported together with their paper inserts. If made with outer surfaces of leather, the ring binder organizers identified by style numbers 202-6099 and 201-5099 are classified in subheading 4202.11.0030, HTSUSA, the provision for "Trunks...attache cases, briefcases, school satchels and similar containers: With outer surface of leather, of composition leather, or of patent leather, Attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, occupational luggage cases and similar containers." If made with outer surfaces of vinyl, the items are classified in subheading 4202.12.2035, HTSUSA, the provision for "Trunks... attache cases, briefcases, school satchels and similar containers: With outer surface of plastics or of textile materials: With outer surface of plastics, Other: Attache cases, briefcases, and similar containers."

Under the Customs Modernization provisions of the NAFTA Implementation Act, it is the responsibility of the importer to classify and appraise merchandise. The U.S. Customs Service, although under no obligation to inform you of the foregoing, is in the spirit of informed compliance notifying you of the consequences of the Avenues case. This letter and attachment should be brought to the attention of Customs when entry is made for your merchandise, either by referencing this ruling letter and attachment or by providing a copy.


John Durant, Director

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