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NY 849288

CLA-2-73:S:N:N1:115 849288


TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.9090

Mr. Kenneth R. Paley
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. Sixty-Seven Broad Street
New York, N.Y. 10004

RE: The tariff classification of a "Smart Pocket Binder" from China.

Dear Mr. Paley:

In your letter dated January 30, 1990, on behalf of K mart Corp., Detroit, Michigan, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The subject article is referred to as a "Smart Pocket Binder". It consists of two separate components: (1) a three-ring looseleaf binder; and (2) a nylon jacket which is fitted to the binder.

The looseleaf binder is composed of three sheets of cardboard which are completely enclosed in a black plastic covering. Strips of plastic measuring approximately 1/8 inch wide are situated between the article's three panels to serve as hinges for opening and closing the binder. Along the inside of the middle panel is a metal three-ring binder mechanism. The costs and approximate weights of the component materials of the binder are, respectively, 30 cents and 0.333 pounds for the plastic, 20 cents and 1.033 pounds for the cardboard, and 22 cents and 0.250 pounds for the metal ring binder mechanism.

The jacket for the binder is composed primarily of nylon, although it has several minor constituent parts of other materials. On its inside, the jacket has two sleeves to accommodate the front and back panels of the binder. In addition, there are three pockets, one of which has a zipper closure for storing various materials such as papers or other office or school supplies for use in connection with the binder. Attached to the outside of the jacket is a 2-5/8-inch- wide nylon strip that can be used to keep the inserted binder in a closed position by means of a Velcro-like closure. There is also another storage pocket on the outside of the jacket which features a Velcro-like closure. The materials cost of the jacket, exclusive of the country-of-origin marking tag attached to the sample, is $1.41, and its weight is approximately 0.316 pounds. We are in agreement with your assessment of the binder as a composite article made up of different components within the meaning of GRI 3(b). In determining the essential character, you correctly state that the binder is the focus of all the objects contained in this composite article. It is the mechanism by which the function or purpose of the article is fulfilled. As you have indicated, there are various factors noted and discussed in the Explanatory Notes that establish criteria for determining the essential character of an article. However, no hard and fast rule exists for choosing a criteria and the determination of the essential character will vary between types of goods. The essential character of this article is found in the binder mechanism. In relation to the use of the goods, the binder mechanism is the paramount constituent material that is pivotal in using the "Smart Pocket Binder" for its intended principal purpose as a looseleaf.

The applicable subheading for the "Smart Pocket Binder" will be 7326.90.9090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of iron and steel. The rate of duty will be 5.7 percent ad valorem. The "Smart Pocket Binder" sample is being returned to you under separate cover as per your request.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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