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NY F88692

October 16, 2000

CLA-2-42:RR:NC:3:341 F88692


TARIFF NO.: 4202.12.2035

Ms. Barbara Y. Wierbicki
Tompkins & Davidson, LLP
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway new York, N.Y. 10036-8901

RE: The tariff classification of a "District Manager Portfolio"; Briefcase; Portfolio Business Case; HTS 4202.12.2035; from China

Dear Ms. Wierbicki:

In your letters dated June 06 and June 21, 2000, you requested a tariff classification ruling. The request is on behalf of Avon Products, Inc.

A sample of an item identified as PP211966, "District Manager Portfolio" has been submitted. The article appears intended to be given to Avon district managers to be used as a business accessory to carry business papers, memorandums, correspondence catalogs and assorted other documents and/or stationery articles or other personal effects. Although you have indicated that the exterior surface is of leather, the exterior surface is of embossed sheeting of plastic. The base material is of split leather. The portfolio has a zipper closure, which has dual zipper pulls, which are of bright metal and die sunk with the name "AVON". A tag, shaped in the form of a leather hide and embossed "Genuine Leather" is attached to one zipper pull. The portfolio has one full width zippered pocket on the front. The interior has a metal three ring binder mechanism riveted at the center. The rings are two inches wide. The interior left side has one open full width pocket for papers and notes, three horizontal three-inch deep pockets and an elastic penholder. The right side has a full width gusseted storage pocket. Although you have indicated that the gusset is tapered , the sample presented does not have a tapered gusset. The gusset is 1 1/2" wide at the top and bottom. The front panel of the interior storage pocket measures 12" across and expands to a width 2 1/2" wide and has an additional open pocket on the front. The overall design of PP 211966 permits it to be comfortably carried under the arm while the ring binder is filled and the storage pockets accommodate a selection of personal effects and/or stationary articles commonly carried in an article of the class or kind similar to a briefcase. The dimensions of PP211966 are approximately 14" wide, 11" high and 3" thick.


Are the subject binders classifiable under heading 4202 or heading 4205, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) governs classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for a wide array of carrying cases. It has long been Customs' policy that for an article to be classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, the article must be specifically cited as an exemplar or be ejusdem generis with the items listed. The various goods of heading 4202 are both provided eo nonine and are chiefly used to provide storage, protection and organization. Although not necessary, the articles also are used for to travel. The articles expressly listed in heading 4202, HTSUSA, include trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attaché cases, briefcases, school satchels and containers similar thereto. This heading also includes various traveling bags, toilet bags, rucksacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses and similar containers. The Court of International Trade (CIT) has ruled that heading 4202 includes all forms of the articles enumerated in the heading and its Notes. Rooster Products,Inc v. United States, Slip Op 00-60, June 1, 2000, C.B. Vol. 34, No 27, July 5, 2000. PP 211966 is a form of the briefcases, executive cases, attaché cases or school satchels provided in heading 4202, HTS. Each are articles designed and used to provide storage, protection organization and portability for papers, documents and many other items commonly carried in such goods. The "District Manager Portfolio" is a good of heading 4202, HTS.

Subheading 4205. 00.8000, HTS, provides for "Other articles of leather or of composition leather, Other, other . The provision is commonly known as a residual provision. The Explanatory Notes indicate that the provision includes such goods as reading covers for books and other containers not similar to those specified in heading 4202, HTS.

Assuming that PP 211966 provides for a cover for paper inserts and heading 4205 possibly governs classification, GRI 3(a) provides that when goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

"(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description . . . ."

Heading 4202 more specifically describes style PP 211966, "district Manager Portfolio" . Moreover, the Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 4205, HTSUSA, at page 615, state that this heading "covers those articles of leather ... which do not fall in the preceding chapters." As the article falls within heading 4202, HTSUSA, and this heading both precedes heading 4205 and is more specific, style PP 211966 is classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUSA.


The applicable subheading for PP 211966, "District Manager Portfolio" will be 4202.12.2035 which provides, in part, for attaché cases, briefcases, school satchels and all similar containers, with outer surface of plastics. The rate of duty will be 20 percent ad valorem.

While mindful that the article examined by this office is a sample, we note with respect to the portfolio's leather tag in the shape of a leather hide with the words "Genuine Leather", imprinted in large print, that false descriptions of goods are forbidden by 15 U.S.C. 1125(a) and (b). Importation of such goods is subject to 19 CFR 11.13. We also note that the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published "Guides for Select Leather and Imitation Leather Products," 16 CFR Part 24, in the Federal Register, Volume 61, Number 193, dated October 3, 1996. The guides are applicable to the manufacture, sale, distribution, marketing or advertising of all kinds or types of leather or simulated leather articles including the goods of heading 4202. Noting that the sample submitted is not of genuine leather, the leather tag reading "Genuine Leather" is in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1125(a) (b) and 19 CFR 11.13.

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

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Kevin Gorman at 212-637-7091.


Robert B. Swierupski

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