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HQ 961021

January 5, 1999

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961021 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 3926.10.0000

Brett Ian Harris, Esquire
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman, LLP 245 Park Avenue, 33rd floor
New York, New York 10167-3397

RE: Modification of New York Ruling Letter (NY) B84986; Other Articles of Plastics; Office or School Supplies; Not Attache Case, Briefcase, School Satchel; Headings 3926, 4202

Dear Mr. Harris:

In New York Ruling Letter (NY) B84986, issued June 4, 1997, on behalf of All-State International, Inc., Customs classified one of the two articles at issue in subheading 4202.12.2035, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for "Trunks...attache cases, briefcases, school satchels and similar containers: With outer surface of plastics or of textile materials: With outer surface of plastics, Other: Attache cases, briefcases, and similar containers." We have reviewed that ruling and have found it to be in error. Therefore, this ruling modifies NY B84986.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed modification of NY B84986 was published on November 25, 1998, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 32, Number 47.


The article at issue, described in NY B84986 as a "portfolio," is identified in advertising/marketing literature by stock number 39121 and as a "Case-Guard Polyfiber File Envelope." The article consists of an expandable envelope which is essentially composed of plastic sheeting and which measures approximately 15 inches in width by 10 inches in height by 1/2 inch in depth (compressed and without contents). The envelope's front exterior has a flap with two metal grommets through which is looped an elastic cord designed to encircle the envelope and close the flap. The interior of the article consists of one compartment whose accordion-like gussets (attached to the front and back of the envelope by reinforced, stitched seams) allow the envelope to expand to a depth of 5-1/4 inches.


Whether the article is classified in subheading 4202.12.2035, HTSUSA, the provision for attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, and similar containers; or in subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for other articles of plastics, office or school supplies.


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.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides, in part, 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.

Among other merchandise, chapter 39, HTSUSA, covers plastics and articles thereof. In pertinent part, note 2(ij) to chapter 39, HTSUSA, states that "[t]his chapter does not cover...trunks, suitcases, handbags or other containers of heading 4202." Heading 3926, HTSUSA, covers "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914." The EN to heading 3926 indicate that the articles covered by the heading include protective bags, file-covers, document-jackets, and similar protective goods made by sewing or glueing together sheets of plastics.

If the expandable file envelope is prima facie classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, it may not be classified under heading 3926 or any other headings within chapter 39, HTSUSA. It must therefore be determined whether the article merely has the character of a heading 4202 container, or whether the article's purpose is to organize, store, protect, and carry various items. The expandable file envelope is primarily designed as a means to store records, documents, and/or other papers over an extended period of time. To effectively perform this task, the article has been constructed of durable plastic sheeting and a flap closure with an elastic loop to protect its contents. The file envelope's single gusseted compartment does not provide a significant organizational aspect, but its contents will most likely consist exclusively of papers and/or other flat items. The article is therefore not designed to contain the various items carried in a briefcase. Having no handle or carrying strap, the file envelope would be fairly heavy and difficult to carry if filled with papers to a point approaching its fully-expanded capacity. We find that, although the expandable file envelope has the character of a container, it is principally designed and intended to store and protect papers for extended periods of time. Its attributes are similar to those of file-covers and similar protective goods made by sewing together sheets of plastics and not to the containers of heading 4202. The article is classified in subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA.


The article identified by stock no. 39121 and as the "Case-Guard Polyfiber File Envelope" is classified in subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other articles of plastics...: Office or school supplies." The general column one duty rate is 5.3 percent ad valorem.

NY B84986, dated June 4, 1997, is hereby modified. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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