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 961504 - HQ 961986 > HQ 961849

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 961849

June 5, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961849 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4202.22.8050

Ms. Ludene Murphree
Banana Republic
345 Spear Street
San Francisco, California 94105

RE: Modification of Port Ruling Letter (PD) C85765; Style 371488 - Handbag; Not "Tote Bag," Traveling Bag, nor Shopping Bag

Dear Ms. Murphree:

In PD C85765, issued April 7, 1998, two of the four styles of nylon woven fabric bags classified, were classified in subheading 4202.92.3030, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), textile category 670, which provides for "Travel, sports and similar bags: With outer surface of textile materials: Other, Other: Of man-made fibers: Other," with a general column one duty rate of 19 percent ad valorem. We have reviewed that ruling and, with respect to style number 371488, have found it to be in error. Therefore, this ruling modifies PD C85765.


In your request for a binding classification ruling, dated March 23, 1998, style no. 371488 was described as a woman's handbag. Sketches of style no. 371488 contain the description "SIGNATURE SHOPPER." In PD C85765, the article was described as a woman's tote bag. The ruling request, the ruling, and the actual sample, indicate that the subject article is a bag which measures approximately 11-1/2 inches in height by 10 inches in width by 3 inches in depth. The bag has an outer surface composed of 100 percent nylon woven fabric and is lined with woven fabric of man-made fibers. There are 2 leather carrying
straps. The interior of the bag features a large zippered central compartment which divides the bag's interior and creates 3 separate, full-sized compartments, 2 of which are open-topped and without closures. There is also a somewhat smaller zippered pocket within 1 of the interior sides.


Whether the merchandise is more properly classified in subheading 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA, as a traveling bag or shopping bag other than a handbag; or in subheading 4202.22.8050, HTSUSA, as a handbag.


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, and similar containers. Subheading 4202.92, HTSUS, provides in part for travel, sports and similar bags. Additional U.S. Note 1 to chapter 42, HTSUS, states that:

[f]or 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, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading....

Subheading 4202.22, HTSUS, provides for handbags. The word "handbag" is defined in Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, 1972, as: "1. a small container for money, toilet articles, keys, etc., carried by women; purse 2. a small suitcase or valise."

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 957917, issued July 7, 1995, Customs reconsidered and reclassified in subheading 4202.92.1500, HTSUS, a woven cotton bag which measured approximately 14 inches by 10 inches by 5 inches. The bag had a reinforced open top with double carrying straps, but no lining and no pockets or compartments. This office stated that tote bags similar to those described immediately above were no longer classifiable as handbags, and that such bags were to be regarded as multipurpose bags for carrying various personal effects.

In HQ 950708, issued December 24, 1991, we observed judicial guidance as to the attributes of tote bags and women's handbags. It was noted that certain tote bags which had no linings or reinforcements, no pockets, no closures (or only single snap closures), provided little protection for their contents and were unlikely to be used in a manner similar to a woman's handbag. We opined that such tote bags were used as multipurpose bags to carry any number of sundry articles, such as food, books, and/or clothing. Since the bags did not fit the terms of subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, but were a type of bag used to carry clothing and other personal effects during travel, they were considered to be travel, sports and similar bags within the meaning of Additional U.S. Note 1 to chapter 42, HTSUS. See also HQ 951113, issued May 19, 1992, affirming HQ 950708.

In HQ 955552, issued August 15, 1994, this office classified an article described as both a "tote" and a "shoulder bag" in subheading 4202.22.6000, HTSUSA as a handbag. The bag measured approximately 14 inches in width by 9-1/2 inches in height by 4 inches in depth (at the bottom). The article had 2 shoulder straps, and was divided into 2 separate compartments, each of which had a zippered closure. One of the compartments also had a zippered change purse. The interior of the bag was lined and the bottom and corners were reinforced. We found that the bag's design and construction - particularly its reinforcement, its straps, its inside zipper pocket, and its style of compartmentalization and zipper closures - strongly suggested an intended use by women and girls to carry personal items on a daily basis.

We find that style no. 371488 is also designed, constructed, and intended to be used as a woman's handbag, not as a tote or shopping bag. The bag's dimensions, lining, zippered pockets, and manner of compartmentalization, indicate that its purpose is to contain certain items normally carried in a woman's handbag, such as money, cosmetics, keys, etc. If used as intended, the bag has insufficient additional capacity for use as a
multipurpose carrier of any number of sundry articles (such as food, books, and/or clothing). In light of the above analysis, we find that the subject article is classified as a handbag.


The handbag identified as style no. 371488 is properly classified in subheading 4202.22.8050, HTSUSA, textile category 670, the provision for "Handbags, whether or not with shoulder strap, including those without handle: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: With outer surface of textile materials: Other: Other: Other, Of man-made fibers." The general column one duty rate is 19 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 renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your 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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

PD C85765, issued April 7, 1998, is hereby modified.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: