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HQ 962341

November 23, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 962341 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.9026

Mr. Tim Parsons
Parsons Trading
Five Thunderbird Drive
Ignacio, California 94949

RE: Revocation of Port Ruling Letter (PD) D82102; "Palmtop PDA Pocket Case;" Not Article of a Kind Normally Carried in Pocket or Handbag; Other Similar Container; Heading 4202

Dear Mr. Parsons:

In PD D82102, issued October 2, 1998, an article identified as a "Palmtop PDA Pocket Case" was classified in subheading 4202.32.9550, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), textile category 670, which provides for "Articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: With outer surface of textile materials: Other: Other, Of man-made fibers," with a general column one duty rate of 19 percent ad valorem. We have reviewed that ruling and have found it to be in error. Therefore, this ruling revokes PD D82102.


In PD D82102, the article was described as a case designed to carry and protect a palmtop [electronic organizer]. The case measured approximately 6 inches by 4 inches, and had a zippered closure along 3 sides which allowed the case to be opened flat for easy access to the palmtop. It was stated that the case was designed to be carried in the pocket or purse. Although a sample is not currently available, it is our belief that the case is composed of a neoprene rubber that is covered on its exterior
surface with a textile fabric of man-made fibers. Any variance in the actual composition of the case may affect its correct classification.


Whether the merchandise is classified in subheading 4202.32.95, HTSUSA, as an article of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag; or in subheading 4202.92.90 as an other container similar to the exemplars listed in heading 4202.


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, HTSUSA, 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...and similar containers...."

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." The exemplars named in heading 4202 have in common the purpose of organizing, storing, protecting, and carrying various items. The "Palmtop Pocket Case" is of a kind similar to the exemplars listed in heading 4202 and is classifiable thereunder.

Subheading 4202.32 (as well as subheadings 4202.31 and 4202.39), HTSUSA, cover articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag. The subheading EN to these three provisions states:

These subheadings cover articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag and include spectacle cases, note-cases (bill-folds), wallets, purses, key-cases, cigarette-cases, cigar-cases, pipe-cases and tobacco-pouches.

On June 21, 1995, this office published a General Notice in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 29, Number 25, concerning goods identified as "Wallets on a String." The attributes of articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag were discussed and, in pertinent part, the notice stated:

Such articles include wallets, which may be described as flat cases or containers fitted to hold credit/ identification cards, paper currency, coins and in some instances a checkbook holder. Articles meeting this description which also possess a detachable carrying strap have been classified as flatgoods.

In order to be classifiable as a flatgood, the article must fit comfortably in a handbag or pocket. For example, rectangular or square cases measuring approximately 7-1/2 inches by 4-1/2 inches, or 4-3/4 inches by 4-1/2 inches, in their closed position, have been classified as flatgoods.

It does not automatically follow that, because a case is small, it is classifiable as an article of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag. Although the size of the "Palmtop Pocket Case" renders it easy to carry in a handbag, the case is not fitted to contain the items which flatgoods are designed to hold. The article is fitted for one particular article, i.e., an electronic organizer, and little else. As such, the "Palmtop Pocket Case" is similar to camera cases, holsters, and other articles enumerated in the first part of heading 4202. The case is therefore properly classified in subheading 4202.92.9026, HTSUSA.


The "Palmtop Pocket Case" is properly classified in subheading 4202.92.9026, HTSUSA, textile category 670, the provision for "Trunks...camera cases...holsters...and similar
containers...: Other: With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Other: Other, With outer surface of textile materials: 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 D82102, issued October 2, 1998, is hereby revoked.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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