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HQ 961925

June 19, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961925 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4202.11.0030

Mr. Thomas E. Bernstein
Leeds Business Accessories
4431 William Penn Highway
Murrysville, Pennsylvania 15668

Dear Mr. Bernstein:

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 956497, issued August 3, 1994, you were advised that a leather ring binder organizer identified by style number 1000-77 was prima facie classifiable in both headings 4202 and 4820, HTSUS. Pursuant to a General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(c) analysis, the article was classified in subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA, the provision for "Registers, account books, notebooks, order books, receipt books, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar articles: Diaries, notebooks and address books, bound; memorandum pads, letter pads and similar articles, Other."

In Avenues in Leather v. United States, Slip Op. 98-54, decided April 24, 1998 (hereinafter Avenues), the Court of International Trade (CIT) considered the classification of goods similar to style no. 1000-77 above. The items before the CIT also featured certain characteristics common to the enumerated exemplars of headings 4202 and 4820, HTSUS. The Court essentially found that competition between headings 4202 and 4820 was resolved by note 1(g) to chapter 48 (now note 1(h) to chapter 48), which excludes articles of heading 4202 from Chapter 48. The Court noted the requirement of GRI 1, that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes," and that subsequent GRI could be used provided that the headings or section or chapter notes "do not otherwise require." The Court further found that, since the exclusionary note to chapter 48
does require that other GRI not be used to determine classification, items that can be classified under heading 4202 are specifically excluded from classification under all of chapter 48, without the necessity of resorting to any other GRI.

This letter is sent to you as a courtesy, to advise you that this office is in agreement with the rationale of the CIT in Avenues (copy attached), and that rulings issued by Customs under the provisions of 19 CFR 174 or 177, that are inconsistent with the principles of the Avenues decision are revoked or modified by operation of law. In this instance, by operation of law, the Avenues case modified HQ 956497 with respect to style no. 1000-77, which is classified in subheading 4202.11.0030, HTSUSA, the provision for "Trunks...attache cases, briefcases, school satchels and similar containers: With outer surface of leather, of composition leather, or of patent leather, Attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, occupational luggage cases and similar containers."

Under the Customs Modernization provisions of the NAFTA Implementation Act, it is the responsibility of the importer to classify and appraise merchandise. The U.S. Customs Service, although under no obligation to inform you of the foregoing, is in the spirit of informed compliance notifying you of the consequences of the Avenues case. This letter and attachment should be brought to the attention of Customs when entry is made for your merchandise, either by referencing this ruling letter and attachment or by providing a copy.


John Durant, Director

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