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HQ 960830

JULY 21, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 960830 SG


TARIFF NO: 6307.90.9989

Nicholas D. Defonte
N.J. Defonte Co. Customs Brokers, Inc.
225 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10007

RE: Classification of liquor-wine bottle bag; drawstring closure, decorative covering, heading 4202, HTSUS

Dear Mr. Defonte:

This is in response to your letter, dated December 6, 1996, on behalf of your client, P&R Imports, regarding the classification of a textile liquor bottle bag with a cord closure under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). We regret the delay in responding to your inquiry. A sample was submitted to this office for examination.


The submitted sample consists of a textile bag or sack with a drawstring cord closure, constructed of two layers of nylon filament plain woven fabric which has been cut into panels and assembled by sewing into a bag. The exterior surface of the bag has been covered with nylon textile flock and the name "Sheridan" has been embroidered onto the side of the bag. The top of the bag has been decorated by sewing a strip of white faux fur completely around the circumference of the bag. The mouth of the bag has been reinforced by sewing a strip of cellular plastic inside the upper 1 « inches of the bag and in so doing a tunnel band is created at the top of the bag. This cellular plastic strip has been reinforced by having been laminated to a knit supporting fabric. A braided cord, in part of metalized yarn, has been inserted into the top inch of the bag to facilitate its closure. This drawstring allows the bottle bag to be tightened around the neck of the bottle. The bag has no internal or external pockets or special fittings. Although it is capable of holding a number of articles. This bag is of a shape which can accommodate a liquor or wine bottle.

We are advised that the bag will be used as a gift sack in which a liquor bottle will be placed for retail sales.



Whether the drawstring bag is properly classified in heading 4202, HTSUS, or in heading 6307, HTSUS.


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.

Drawstring pouches of textile materials have been classified in both headings 4202 and 6307, HTSUS, depending upon their construction and the purpose(s) for which they are designed. Pouches classified outside of heading 4202, HTSUS, are generally ones that are not similar to the named articles of the heading and not adequately constructed to sustain repeated use.

Heading 4202, HTSUS, provides for "Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases...spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags...wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches...bottle cases, jewelry boxes...and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of sheeting of plastics, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper."

The EN to heading 4202 suggest that the expression "similar containers" in the first part of the heading includes hat boxes, camera accessory cases, cartridge pouches, sheaths for hunting or camping knives, portable tool boxes or cases, specially shaped or internally fitted to contain particular tools with or without their accessories, etc. With regard to the second part of heading 4202, the EN indicate that the expression "similar containers" includes note-cases, writing-cases, pen-cases, ticket-cases, needle-cases, key-cases, cigar-cases, pipe-cases, tool and jewellery rolls, shoe-cases, brush-cases, etc.

In Totes, Incorporated v. United States, 18 C.I.T. 919, 865 F. Supp. 867 (1994), aff'd, 14 Fed. Cir. (T) ___, 69 F.3d 495 (1995), the Court of International Trade held that the essential characteristics and purposes of the heading 4202 exemplars are to organize, store, protect and carry various items. With respect to the broad reach of the residual provision for "similar containers" in heading 4202, the Court found that the rule requires only that the imported

merchandise possess the essential character or purpose running through all of the enumerated exemplars.

The subject merchandise is designed to comfortably fit over most wine bottles and the cord, in the closed position, is strategically located at the neck of the bottle to allow the bag to be closed with ease. The faux fur at the top of the bag, although highly decorative, appears to provide some cushion of protection for the neck of the wine bottle. However, despite the bag's outer surface flocking, the constituent fabrics of the bag itself do not appear to provide any cushion of protection for the wine bottle in the event of any sudden blows to the bottle encased therein. The construction and appearance of the bag as a whole appears to ensure that it will be used as a decorative rather than a protective packing for the bottle it will transport.

We note that "bottle cases" are specifically enumerated in heading 4202, HTSUS. The subject bag is not a "case" as it does not share the fundamental characteristics attributable to cases, that is, as it relates to both storage and protection. The lack of these properties preclude the subject merchandise from classification under heading 4202, HTSUS.

Heading 6307, HTSUS, provides for other textile articles not more specifically provided for elsewhere in the tariff schedule. The EN to heading 6307, at page 949, states in pertinent part that the provision includes:

(5) Domestic laundry or shoe bags, stocking, handkerchief or slipper sachets, pajama or nightdress cases and similar articles.

(6) Garment bags (portable wardrobes) other than those of heading 42.02.

In addition, the EN to heading 6307, at page 950, state that the heading excludes "travel goods (suit-cases, rucksacks, etc.), shopping-bags, toilet-cases, etc., and all similar containers of heading 42.02." It should be noted that articles such as laundry or shoe bags may take the form of a drawstring bag or pouch.

The foregoing indicates that travel containers of heading 4202, HTSUS, are excluded from heading 6307. Moreover, the exemplars cited as examples of bags classifiable within heading 6307 suggest that certain storage bags are excluded from heading 4202. In practice, the distinction between travel and storage bags is often difficult to apply. For example, garment bags, shoe bags and similar bags may be principally used for either storage or travel depending upon their construction or design. Furthermore, heading 4202 is not limited to containers used for travel purposes. For example, jewelry boxes are classifiable under heading 4202, despite the fact that they are principally used to store and/or display their contents. Other containers of heading
4202, including cutlery cases, cigarette cases and similar cases, may principally be used for storage purposes, depending upon their construction.


In marginal circumstances, we regard the substantiality of the container as a pertinent consideration. Substantial containers are more likely to be used for carrying purposes and are better able to protect their contents. The term "substantial" in this context refers not only to the material composition of the article, but also to whether it has been designed for repetitive use. Thus, lined jewelry pouches constructed of quality materials have been classified in heading 4202 as they were suitable for use during travel. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 950000, dated October 31, 1991.

In addition, the EN to heading 4202 excludes certain containers which are not specially shaped or fitted. For example, jewelry boxes of a kind sold at retail with their contents are classified in the heading only if they are specially shaped or fitted to hold their contents and suitable for long-term use. We regard this requirement as a relevant consideration when classifying merchandise at the periphery of the heading. Containers which are specially shaped or fitted are better suited for organizing and storing merchandise. Thus, jewelry pouches have been excluded from heading 4202 when of an insubstantial nature and not specially fitted to hold jewelry. See HQ 953176, dated March 16, 1993.

In this instance, the bag is insubstantial in the sense that it is not designed for travel or to store or protect its contents. While the bag is capable of re-use, it appears to be designed principally as an alternative for gift wrapping and functions as an attractive means for presenting its contents. Moreover, while the bag is of a size suitable for presenting a liquor or wine bottle and will be used for this purpose, it is not regarded as specially shaped or fitted. The bag does not feature internal fittings to accommodate a bottle. In addition, it is not shaped to the form of its contents and is capable of holding bottles of various dimensions, as well as any number of smaller items. We note that although there is no requirment that bags or similiar containers of the second part of heading 4202 be specially shaped or fitted, it is indicative of a 4202 classification rather than a classification in 6307. In HQ 956234, dated November 14, 1994, we classified similar merchandise in heading 6307, HTSUS. Therefore, based on the foregoing, we conclude that the drawstring bag is excluded from heading 4202, HTSUS, and is properly classified in heading 6307, HTSUS.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUS, which provides for other made up articles, including dress patterns: other: other: other: other: other. The applicable rate of duty is 7 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 negotiations and changes, we suggest that your client check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at the 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, your client should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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