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HQ 962230

December 8, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 962230 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9989

Mr. Anthony Fondacaro
T.H. Weiss, Inc.
2 Johnson Road
Lawrence, New York 11559

RE: Classification of Portfolio without Pad; Other Made Up Textile Articles; Not Attache Case, Briefcase, School Satchel; Headings 6307, 4202, and 4820

Dear Mr. Fondacaro:

This letter is in response to your request of August 25, 1998, on behalf of your client, J.E.B.B. Accessories, Limited, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a portfolio imported without writing pad. The merchandise will be manufactured in China. A sample was submitted with your request.


The sample portfolio submitted, identified by style number 2576, consists of a jacket or case which is zippered on 3 sides and which measures approximately 13-3/4 inches in height by 10-1/2 inches in width by 1 inch in depth (in the closed position). It is maroon in color and has an outer surface composed of textile materials of man-made fibers with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic trim. The interior surfaces are also constructed of man-made textile fabric and PVC trim. There is plastic foam and cardboard between the outer and inner surfaces of the article. The right interior side of the case features a sleeve (apparently to accommodate the insertion of a memorandum or writing pad). The interior left side of the case features 3 full-width pockets for papers. One pocket has gussets (allowing for some expansion) and measures approximately 8-1/2 inches in
height. Another full-width pocket is flat, is in front of the gusseted pocket, and measures approximately 4-1/4 inches in height. The third full-width pocket has a zippered closure. There are two small, flat pockets (one of which has a transparent plastic window for an identification card), six slots for business or credit cards, and a pen holder. There also is a flat, full-width pocket on the article's exterior front. The sample article was submitted without a writing pad and it is assumed that the portfolio will be imported without contents.


Whether the article is classified under heading 4820, HTSUSA, which covers, among other goods, articles of stationery including cover boards and book jackets; under heading 4202, HTSUSA, which covers, in part, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, and similar containers; or under heading 6307, HTSUSA, which covers other made up (textile) articles.


Classification under the HTSUSA 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 merchandise, chapter 48, HTSUSA, covers articles of paper or of paperboard. Among the items covered by heading 4820, are notebooks, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar articles, binders (looseleaf or other), folders...and other articles of stationery...including cover boards and book jackets.... The EN to heading 4820 indicate that the heading covers various articles of stationery including (in addition to the examples noted above) notebooks of all kinds, file covers, files (other than box files), and portfolios. The EN also suggest that the goods of the heading may be bound with materials other than paper (e.g., leather, plastics or textile material) and have reinforcements or fittings of metal, plastics, etc. Although the portfolio's primary purpose is apparently related to
the organization and use of stationary, imported without contents, the case is not classifiable as an article of stationery under heading 4820.

Among other goods, heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for attache cases, briefcases, and similar containers. The exemplars named in heading 4202 have in common the purpose of organizing, storing, protecting, and carrying various items. EN (c) to heading 4202 indicates that the heading does not cover articles which, although they may have the character of containers, are not similar to those enumerated in the heading, for example, book covers and reading jackets, file-covers, document-jackets...and which are wholly or mainly covered with leather, sheeting of plastics, etc. Such articles fall in heading 4205 if made of (or covered with) leather or composition leather, and in other chapters if made of (or covered with) other materials.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 957618, issued March 1, 1995, this office classified a stationery kit which consisted of a zippered case, a memorandum pad, and numerous other articles, e.g., a scissors, pen, pencil, ruler, tape dispenser, pencil sharpener, stapler, staples, staple remover, highlight marker, paper clips, and an eraser. We noted that in prior decisions involving similar cases imported only with paper pads, the goods had been classified under heading 4820, with the cases characterized as jackets or covers which merely emphasized the purpose of the complete article to provide a means to take notes. In light of the 13 additional components with which it was imported, we found that the case was a specially shaped or fitted container which imparted the kit's essential character. The complete article was classified in subheading 4202.91.0090, HTSUSA. We also noted that containers for stationery kits that were outside the scope of heading 4202 had been classified according to their constituent materials.

With regard to whether the subject portfolio is prima facie classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, it must be determined whether the article merely has the character of 4202 containers, or whether its primary purpose is to organize, store, protect, and carry various items. The article is designed to organize and perhaps protect, small and/or flat items. The article's depth of only one inch, however, and its lack of handles or straps, indicate that it is not designed to easily store, protect, and carry additional items such as a newspaper, a book, and/or other objects normally carried in an attache case or briefcase. Although the portfolio has the character of a container, with
perhaps more features than a simple jacket or cover, it does not have the requisite physical attributes Customs has found common to the containers of heading 4202. The case is therefore not prima facie classifiable under heading 4202.

Although the portfolio's primary purpose apparently relates to the organization and use of stationary, by itself, the case is not an article of stationery. As previously noted, articles with the character of containers that are not similar to those enumerated in heading 4202 fall in heading 4205 if made of (or covered with) leather or composition leather, and in other chapters if made of (or covered with) other materials. Since the portfolio is essentially made of textile materials, it falls in heading 6307, and is classified in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA. See also HQ 959328, issued April 3, 1997.


The portfolio identified by style number 2576 is classified in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other: Other: Other, Other: Other." The general column one duty rate is 7 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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