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HQ 961680

November 17, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961680 gah


TARIFF NO.: 7009.92.1000

Ms. Barbara Y. Wierbicki
Serko and Simon
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, NY 10048

RE: Hand held fold-up mirror with drawstring carrying pouch in cardboard gift box, classified as a GRI 3(b) composite, essential character provided by the mirror, with GRI 5(b) packing material.

Dear Ms. Wierbicki:

This is in regard to your ruling request of March 23, 1998 on the tariff classification of a purse mirror and carrying pouch put up in a cardboard box under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise is described as a gift box containing a hand held fold-up mirror with a drawstring carrying pouch in a cardboard box, which will be produced in the Republic of China for Etienne Aigner Group, Inc. The mirror is a rounded, trapezoidal shape and measures approximately two and one-fourth inches tall by two and three-eighths inches wide. It is encased in a gold colored metallic frame, conforming to the shape of the mirror. The mirror material forms one side of the entire article and the frame forms the other. There is a handle, measuring two and one-fourth inches long, hinged to the mirror of the same material as the frame. The handle folds over the face of the mirror. Overall, the mirror when opened resembles a miniature version of a dresser mirror.

The accompanying drawstring pouch is a woven textile base to which flock has been added to imitate a sueded outer surface. The Aigner logo is imprinted on one side of the pouch. The pouch measures approximately two and three-fourths by three and three-fourths inches. The pouch is just big enough to slide the mirror into and encase the folded mirror with enough room at the top to pull the drawstring tight and thus prevent the mirror from slipping out.


Are the mirror and pouch classifiable as a GRI 3(b) composite, or are the articles separately classifiable?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI, taken in order.

Heading 7009 provides, inter alia, for glass mirrors, whether or not framed. The Explanatory Notes (EN) for the heading in pertinent part indicates that the heading includes toilet mirrors (including hand or hanging mirrors) and pocket mirrors (whether or not in a protective case). While the EN is not legally binding, we note that the reference to pocket mirrors presented in or with a protective case indicates that the two articles are routinely presented together.

Heading 4202 provides for a host of travel articles and containers including, in pertinent part, containers similar to travel bags, toilet bags, purses and tobacco pouches of textile materials. Heading 6307 provides for other made up articles. Textile pouches have been classified by Customs in either of these headings. In the instant case, the pouch and its drawstring are sturdy and attractive, and obviously able to sustain repeated use in the purse or pocket. For these reasons, the pouch is more specifically classifiable in heading 4202. We do not find that the size and shape of the instant pouch are facts dispositive of its classification, although they do lend support to classification in heading 4202. See generally HQ 960757, dated August 26, 1997.

You argue that the articles form a composite good. GRI 3(a) indicates that when goods such as the ones at issue are classifiable in more than one heading, headings which refer to part only of the articles, the headings are to be regarded as equally specific. To be classified at GRI 3(b), the composite must be classifiable as if the articles consisted of the one article which gives the whole its essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable. The Explanatory Notes indicate that the characteristic which gives the composite its essential character may vary. Among the enumerated possibilities is the role of the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

The Explanatory Notes further indicate that composite goods may include those with separable components, as in the instant case, if the components are 1) adapted one to the other, 2) are mutually complementary, and 3) form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. One such exemplar is an ashtray consisting of a stand and removable ash bowl. We note that in the ashtray example, the ash bowl may be useable when removed from the stand, and is an item that in other configurations is sold separately, but here is designed to fit in the stand.

The pocket mirror fits snugly inside the pouch, the pouch prolongs the cleanliness and life of the mirror, and a pocket mirror and its case are often sold together. See, supra, discussion of heading 7009. The mirror provides the reflection to aid in one's personal toilet while away from home. We agree with you that the mirror imparts the essential character to the composite.

GRI 5(b) provides that packing materials and packing containers, when presented with the goods therein shall be classified with the goods if they are of a kind normally used for packing such goods. We find that the instant cardboard gift box and insert fall within the meaning of GRI 5(b).


The instant articles, pocket mirror and textile pouch, are classified at GRI 3(b) as a composite good in subheading 7009.92.1000, HTSUSA, as glass mirrors, framed, not over 929 cmý in reflecting area. The gift box is GRI 5(b) packing material, classified there as well. The applicable general column rate of duty is 7.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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