United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1998 HQ Rulings > HQ 959152 - HQ 959745 > HQ 959526

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 959526

March 24, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959526 RH


TARIFF NOS.: 6307.10.2030; 7326.20.0050; 3402.20.1000; 3402.20.5000; 2905.12.0050;
4202.32.2000; 4202.32.9550

Mr. Stephen W. Marlow
Tower Group International, Inc.
205 West Service Road
Champlain, NY 12919

RE: Classification and country of origin determination for fabric cleaning cloth, vinyl carrying case, keychain/optical screwdriver, spray bottle lens cleaner, nylon eyeglass case; lenses; eyeglass; heading 4202; heading 6307; heading 2905; Heading 3402; 102.21; Section 102.11; NAFTA; 19 USC 1304; 134.1(b); Article 509; tariff shift

Dear Mr. Marlow:

This is in reply to your letter of July 12, 1996, and your facsimiles of December 13, 1996 and January 24, 1997, on behalf of your client, Itochu Canada Limited, requesting a classification and country of origin ruling on various items.

Although some of the materials and/or manufacturing operations performed in this case are from and/or are performed in Canada or the United States, you did not ask us to determine whether or not the articles in question are eligible for tariff preferential treatment under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Thus, we have not addressed that issue in this letter. If you decide that you would like us to address that issue, you may submit another ruling request.

You provided samples of the merchandise for our consideration.


The merchandise under consideration consists of six different articles that are packaged as follows:

1. Manmade fabric lens cleaning cloth packaged in a reusable vinyl case, complete with keychain/optical screwdriver; - 2 -

2. Manmade fabric lens cleaning cloth packaged in a reusable vinyl case, complete with keychain/optical screwdriver and a spray bottle of "Micro-Clair" lens cleaner;

3. Manmade fabric lens cleaning cloth packaged with a keychain/optical screwdriver, liquid "SunGear" lens treatment and a nylon eyeglass case.

The lens cleaning cloths are made from fabric that is manufactured in Japan and then sent to Canada for processing. In Canada, the fabric is imprinted using a sublimation method. Rolls are then layered and cut into small squares. All sides are hemmed and a satin label with the country of origin and composition of the textile is attached. The cloth is folded and inserted in the cases.

The vinyl cases are made in Canada from U.S.-manufactured vinyl. In Canada, the vinyl material is layered and slit into five sections in order to produce eleven inch wide rolls. It is inserted in an automatic feeder that welds the vinyl together to create a cut and sealed piece that is detached from the surrounding surplus. It is then hot stamped with the trademark and the country of origin (Canada).

The keychain/optical screwdrivers are wholly manufactured in Taiwan from Taiwanese materials. We notice that Customs issued District Decision (DD) 801388 to you on September 8, 1994, on behalf of Itochu Canada Limited, regarding the classification of a keychain/optical screwdriver.
The nylon eyeglass case is made in Canada from Canadian fabric. You did not provide a description of the processing operations for the eyeglass case or the keychain/optical screwdrivers.

The spray bottle of "Micro-Clair" lens cleaner contains water, alcohol, detergent, cleanser and fragrance, which you state are Canadian ingredients. The spray bottle is made in Canada and the pump is made in the United States. No ingredients are listed on the bottle.

In your facsimile of January 24, 1997, you state that the liquid "SunGear" lens treatment contains the same ingredients as the "Micro-Clair" lens cleaner, that the bottle is from Switzerland, and that the cap and pump are made in the United States. However, the ingredients listed on the bottle include only water and isopropyl alcohol.


What is the classification and country of origin of the above merchandise?



Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings 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 GRIs are then 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 HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

The six articles in question are classifiable as follows:

1. The vinyl cases are classifiable under subheading 4202.32.2000, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag, with an outer surface of sheeting of plastic;

2. The nylon eyeglass case is classifiable under subheading 4202.32.9550, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag, with an outer surface of textile materials;

3. The cleaning cloths are classifiable under subheading 6307.10.2030, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for other made-up articles (other cleaning cloths);

4. Depending on whether or not it is aromatic, the "Micro-Clair" lens cleaner is classifiable under subheading 3402.20.1000, HTSUSA, or subheading 3402.20.5000, HTSUSA, which provide for washing and cleaning preparations put up for retail sale;

5. The liquid "SunGear" lens treatment contains only water and isopropyl alcohol and is classifiable in subheading 2905.12.0050, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for acyclic alcohols and their halogenated, sulfonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives (isopropyl alcohol);

6. The keychain/optical screwdriver is classifiable under subheading 7306.20.0050, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for other articles of iron or steel. See, DD 801388, issued to you on September 8, 1994.

GRI 3(b) states:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and 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.

The EN to GRI 3(b) provides in pertinent part that:

For the purpose of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

We recently classified a vinyl carrying case and cleaning cloth from your client's company as a composite good in HQ 959525, dated February 4, 1997. In this case, however, the vinyl case, cleaning cloth, keychain/optical screwdriver, lens cleaner and eyeglass case are not composite goods. These items are not mutually complimentary and are the type of merchandise normally offered for sale separately.

Additionally, the components do not qualify as a set. The EN state that goods put up in sets for retail sale are those which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings . . . ;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity;

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. . . .

Although the components are packaged together for retail sale and are classifiable in two or more headings, they are not products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity. For instance, the keychain/optical screwdriver is needed to aid in the repair of eyeglass parts and to hold keys. The cleaning cloth and lens cleaner are used to clean eyeglass lenses. The vinyl case and nylon eyeglass case serve a different function - to store items.

Since the articles fail to qualify as a set or as a composite good, they are classifiable separately in accordance with GRI 1, under the tariff provisions enumerated on page three of this ruling.

Country of Origin

On September 5, 1995, Customs published in the Federal Register (60 FR 46188) T.D. 95-69 which set forth final amendments to the Customs Regulations to implement the provisions of section 334 (b) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act ("the Act"), Public Law 103-465, 108 Stat. 4809, codified at 19 U.S.C. 3592, regarding the country of origin of textile and apparel products. These final regulations apply to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after July 1, 1996. The regulatory provisions in T.D. 95-69 that implement the basic origin principles of section 334(b) of the Act are contained in 102.21 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 102.21).

The final rule for determining country of origin of a good for purposes of Annex 311 of the NAFTA was published by Customs on June 6, 1996, in the Federal Register (61 FR 28932). It states in pertinent part:

New ?102.21 was modeled on the approach taken in the interim Part 102 texts as published in T.D. 94-4 and thus incorporates a general statement of applicability (paragraph (a)), various definitions (paragraph (b)), general origin rules (paragraphs (c) and (d)), and specific tariff shift and/or other requirements (paragraph (e)) that apply under the second general rule. Of particular note for purposes of the present document is the definition of "textile or apparel product" in ?102.21(b)(5) which delineates the class of goods covered by the ?102.21 rules. That definition identifies those goods with reference to classification in the HTSUS and refers to Chapters 50 through 63 (that is, all of Section XI) of the HTSUS as well as to specific headings and 6-, 8- or 10-digit subheadings of the HTSUS that fall outside Section XI. Thus, if a good is classifiable in an HTSUS provision listed in ?102.21(b)(5), precedence must be given to the ?102.21 rules over any other regulatory provision with regard to that good, including any origin rules contained elsewhere in part 102.

As the cleaning cloth is classifiable in subheading 6307.10, and the nylon pouch is classifiable in subheading 4202.32, textile articles identified by Section 102.21(b)(5), the Section 102.21 rules take precedence over any other rules of origin to determine the appropriate country of origin. - 6 -

Section 102.21(c)(1) states that, "The country of origin of a textile or apparel product is the single country, territory, or insular possession in which the good was wholly obtained or produced." The nylon pouch is made in Canada from Canadian fabric (made from Canadian fibers). Thus, the country of origin will be Canada. The cleaning cloth, on the other hand, is neither wholly obtained nor produced in a single country, territory or insular possession, and Section 102.21(c)(1) is not applicable to that article.

Section 102.21(c)(2) states that, "Where the country of origin of a textile or apparel product cannot be determined under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the country of origin of the good is the single country, territory, or insular possession in which each foreign material incorporated in that good underwent an applicable change in tariff classification, and/or met any other requirement specified for the good in paragraph (e) of this section."

Paragraph (e) states that, "The following rules shall apply for purposes of determining the country of origin of a textile or apparel product under paragraph (c)(2) of this section":

6307.10 The country of origin of a good classifiable under heading 6307.10 is the country, territory, or insular possession in which the fabric comprising the good was formed by a fabric-making process.

You state that the fabric imported into Canada was "manufactured" in Japan, which is compatible with the above rule. Hence, the country of origin will be Japan.

The country of origin of the vinyl cases, lens cleaners and keychain/optical screwdrivers cannot be determined under Section 102.21 because they are not textile articles. Moreover, as the vinyl cases and lens cleaners are imported from, and processed in Canada, their origin is determined pursuant to the NAFTA Marking Rules.

Section 134.1(j), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(j)), provides that the "NAFTA Marking Rules" are the rules promulgated for purposes of determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country. Section 134.1(g), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(g)), defines a "good of a NAFTA country" as an article for which the country of origin is Canada, Mexico or the United States as determined under the NAFTA Marking Rules, set forth at Part 102, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 102). Section 134.45(a)(2) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.45(a)(2), provides that a "good of a NAFTA country" may be marked with the name of the country of origin in English, French or Spanish.

Section 102.11, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 102.11), sets forth the required hierarchy for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country. According to 19 CFR 102.11(a), the country of origin of a good is the country in which:

(1) The good is wholly obtained or produced;

(2) The good is produced exclusively from domestic materials;

(3) Each foreign material incorporated in that good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification set out in section 102.20 and satisfies any other applicable requirements of that section, and all other applicable requirements of these rules are satisfied.

The term "domestic material" is defined in 19 CFR 102.1(d) as a material whose country of origin as determined under these rules is the same country as the country in which the good is produced.

The information provided to us indicates that all of the ingredients in the lens cleaners are of Canadian origin. Assuming that these ingredients are of Canadian origin pursuant to the Part 102 rules, the country of origin of the bottled lens cleaner and lens treatment would be Canada, pursuant to 19 CFR 102.11(a)(2), since both goods are produced exclusively from domestic (in this case Canadian) materials.

The vinyl cases on the other hand, are made in Canada from U.S.-manufactured vinyl and are, therefore, neither wholly obtained nor produced exclusively from domestic materials. Accordingly, paragraph (a)(3) of Section 102.11 (tariff shift) is the next applicable rule for determining the origin of these articles.

The vinyl cases are classifiable under subheading 4202.32. The applicable change in tariff classification for that provision, set out in 102.20(h), Section VIII, Chapters 41 through 43 provides:

4202.31-4202.32......A change to subheading 4202.31 through 4202.32 from any other heading, provided that the change does not result from the assembly of foreign cut components.

The vinyl imported into Canada is classifiable outside subheadings 4202.31 through 4202.32.
Both the cutting and the assembly of the U.S.-made vinyl material occur in Canada. Since the U.S. [foreign] material undergoes the above tariff shift in Canada, Canada is the country of origin.

Finally, the keychain/optical screwdriver is not a textile article nor a good of a NAFTA country. Part 134 of the Customs Regulations implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. ?1304. Section 134.1(b) states:

Country of origin' means the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the country of origin' within the meaning of this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin.

The keychain/optical screwdriver is manufactured in Taiwan exclusively from Taiwanese materials. Thus, Taiwan is the country of origin.


The classification and country of origin of the subject merchandise are as follows:

Article Classification Duty Country of Origin 1. Vinyl Cases 4202.32.2000 20% Canada

2. Nylon Eyeglass 4202.32.9550 19.3% Canada Case

3. Cleaning Cloths 6307.10.2030 8.9% Japan

4. "Micro-Clair" 3402.20.1000 5% Canada Lens Cleaner 3402.20.5000 Free Canada

5. Liquid "SunGear" 2905.12.0050 11.4% Canada Lens Treatment

6. Keychain/ 7326.20.0050 4.6% Taiwan Screwdriver

The textile category for the nylon eyeglass case is 670.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in section 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

Should it be subsequently determined that the information furnished is not complete and does not comply with 19 C.F.R. revocation. In the event there is a change in the facts previously furnished, this may affect the determination of country of origin. Accordingly, if there is any change in the facts submitted to Customs, it is recommended that a new ruling request be submitted in accordance with 19 C.F.R.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: