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HQ 960470

April 14, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 960470 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4202.91.0030

Ms. Laura Boyce
The Donna Karan Company
600 Gotham Parkway
Carlstadt, New Jersey 07072

RE: Revocation of Port Ruling Letter (PD) B81915; Travel, Toiletry or Cosmetic Bags; Not Handbags

Dear Ms. Boyce:

In Port Ruling Letter (PD) B81915, issued February 14, 1997, Customs classified two styles of leather cosmetic purses in subheading 4202.21.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for "Handbags, whether or not with shoulder strap, including those without handle: With outer surface of leather...: Other: Valued not over 20 dollars each." We have reviewed that ruling and have found it to be in error. Therefore, this ruling revokes PD B81915.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of PD B81915 was published on March 11, 1998, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 32, Number 10.


The 2 leather purses, identified by style numbers R2723113 and R2723107, differ only with respect to their outer surface composition, the former being made of calf leather while the latter is composed of nappa leather. The purses measure approximately 3-1/2 inches in width by 5 inches in height, and feature a mirrored flap with a snap closure and a detachable
metallic cord. The interiors of the purses have essentially no features such as slots, pockets, or other fittings. The original ruling request described the merchandise as a "large cosmetic on a snake chain" and indicated that the pouch portion was intended to contain cosmetics, money, etc.


Whether the leather cosmetic purses are classified in subheading 4202.21, HTSUS, which provides for handbags, or in subheading 4202.91, HTSUS, the provision for travel, sports and similar bags.


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, toiletry bags, handbags, wallets, and similar containers. Cosmetic bags are otherwise known as toiletry bags. The subject purses are thus described under heading 4202.

Subheading 4202.21 (as well as subheadings 4202.22 and 4202.29), HTSUS, provides for handbags. The term "handbag" has been defined as follows:

Essential Terms of Fashion: A Collection of Definitions: Accessory carried primarily by women and girls to hold such items as money, credit cards, and cosmetics.

The Fashion Dictionary: Soft or rigid bag carried in hand or on arm. Size, shape, handle, etc., depend on fashion. Used by women as container for money and pocket-sized accessories.

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary: 1. Traveling bag; 2. A woman's bag held in the hand or hung from a shoulder strap and used for carrying small personal articles and money.

Webster's New World Dictionary: A bag, usually of leather or cloth, held in the hand or hung by a strap from the arm or shoulder and used, by women, to carry money, keys, and personal effects.

A review of the above-cited definitions of "handbag" reveals that each lexicographic source describes a bag used by women that is designed to carry money, credit cards, keys, and small or pocket-sized personal effects (e.g., a hairbrush, cosmetics, etc.). The size of the two cosmetic purses at issue, as well as their lack of interior fittings, indicate that they are designed to contain perhaps one or two types of personal effects, but not the full array of items that handbags are generally designed to carry. The small-capacity, unfitted interiors, as well as indications in the original ruling request, suggest that the purses are intended to carry only a few cosmetic items so that a young woman "on the go" may apply the products while using the attached mirror.

Among other goods, subheading 4202.91, HTSUS, provides for travel, sports and similar bags. In pertinent part, Additional U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 42, HTSUS, states:

For the purposes of heading 4202, the expression "travel, sports and similar bags" means goods, other than those falling in subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel....

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 951534, issued August 4, 1992, this office concluded that the subheading for travel, sports and similar bags specifically provides for cosmetic bags. We observed that Additional U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 42 describes all travel bags designed for carrying personal effects during travel. In HQ 956666, issued May 30, 1995, we affirmed HQ 951534 and concluded that, since the term "travel" refers both to overnight trips and shorter distances relating to an individual's day-to-day business, the provision for travel bags describes all articles answering to the description of a cosmetic or toiletry bag. In light of the above analysis, we find that the two styles of leather purses are properly classified in subheading 4202.91.0030, HTSUSA.


The two leather cosmetic purses, identified by style nos. R2723113 and R2723107, are classified in subheading 4202.91.0030, HTSUSA, the provision for "Trunks...traveling bags, toiletry bags...: Other: With outer surface of leather, of composition leather or of patent leather, Travel, sports and similar bags." The general column one rate of duty is 5.4 percent ad valorem.

PD B81915, issued February 14, 1997, is hereby revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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