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HQ 963999

November 21, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963999 KBR


TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.85

Gordon C. Anderson
C.H. Robinson International, Inc.
5995 Opus Parkway
Suite 201
Minnetonka, MN 55343-9058

RE: Retractable Badge Holder

Dear Mr. Anderson:

This is in reference to your letter on behalf of Barlow Promotional Products, Inc., to the U.S. Customs Service, Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated March 22, 2000, in which you requested a binding ruling concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a retractable badge holder. Your letter was referred to this office for reply. We regret the delay.


The sample, a retractable badge holder, item # V3026V, consists of a retractable nylon cord housed in a plastic body. The nylon cord retracts using a manually operated spring loaded reel. The plastic body has an attached metal clamp that can be used to secure the badge holder to a garment or belt. Attached to the end of the retractable cord is a metal D-Ring which holds a plastic tab with a metal snap and eyelet which would display and hold an ID badge.


What is the proper classification under the HTSUS of the retractable badge holder?


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the HTSUS is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, 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 GRIs may then be applied.

In interpreting the headings and subheadings, Customs looks to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN). Although not legally binding, they provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. It is Customs practice to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the ENs when interpreting the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

3926 Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914:


3926.90.98 Other

7117 Imitation Jewelry

7117.90 Other:


Valued over 29 cents per dozen pieces or parts:

7117.90.75 Other

7326 Other articles of iron or steel:

7326.90 Other:



7326.90.85 Other

We will first consider your claim that the complete article is classifiable under heading 7117, HTSUS, as imitation jewelry. Among other merchandise, chapter 71, HTSUS, covers imitation jewelry. Taken together, notes 9(a) and 11 to chapter 71, HTSUS, indicate that the expression "imitation jewelry" means any small objects of personal adornment (gem-set or not) such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings, watch chains, fobs, pendants, tie pins, cuff links, dress studs, religious or other medals and insignia, not incorporating pearls, precious metal, or precious or semiprecious stones. Since jewelry relates to adornment, and since the badge holder is designed to display something which might set one person apart from others, we will examine the lexicographic definitions of the words "adorn," "necklace," "pendant," and "insignia," and "lanyard."

In Merriam-Webster's Deluxe Dictionary, Tenth Collegiate Edition (1998), "adorn" is defined, in pertinent part, as: "1 : to enhance the appearance of, especially with beautiful objects." "Necklace" is defined therein as: "an ornament worn around the neck." "Pendant" is defined, in pertinent part, as: "1: something suspended: as a : an ornament (as on a necklace) allowed to hang free." "Insignia" is defined as: "1: a badge of authority or honor 2: a distinguishing mark or sign." "Lanyard" is defined, in pertinent part, as: "2 a: a cord or strap to hold something (as a knife or a whistle) and usually worn around the neck; b: a cord worn as a symbol of a military citation."

Since the badge holder is designed to have something suspended from it, it appears to satisfy the first part of the definition of a "pendant," but not the ornamental example provided. Although the badge holder does have a retractable cord intended to hold something, it is not a lanyard to be worn around the neck. Further, it does not appear to satisfy the definition of a necklace since not only is it not worn around the neck, but it is not an ornament. Moreover, the retractable cord does not "adorn" as required by chapter notes 9(a) and 11. The article is not an ornament and would not be likely to enhance the appearance of its wearer.

You cite NY F82652 (February 14, 2000), which found that a “Super Bowl” ticket holder, which comprised a textile lanyard with a metal swivel hook with a metal clip attached to a transparent plastic sleeve, was classifiable in subheading 7117.90.75, HTSUS. NY F82652 was revoked by HQ 965072 (September 19, 2001) (35 Cus. Bull. 19 (October 19, 2001)). In revoking NY F82652 (and five similar cases), Customs found that without the badge or pass, the item could not be considered “jewelry” under heading 7117, HTSUS. See NY F81413 (January 5, 2000); NY 803579 (November 15, 1994). Further, Customs found that the item was a composite good consisting of a lanyard and plastic sleeve, with the lanyard component (in heading 6307, HTSUS) providing the essential character of the item.

The headings which remain under consideration are headings 3926, HTSUS, as an other article of plastic and 7326, HTSUS, as an other article of iron or steel. The ENs to heading 3926, HTSUS, state that the heading covers, among other goods, articles of plastics, including protective bags, document-jackets, and similar protective goods made by sewing or gluing together sheets of plastics, and articles such as luggage label-holders. See ENs (4) and (11) to 39.26. Although a luggage label-holder may seem similar at first glance, a luggage label holder is similar to a ‘badge’ or a plastic sleeve to hold a badge. As we noted above, the instant retractable badge holder is only the holder of the badge, and not the badge itself. NY 855520 (September 11, 1991), found that a clear, flat plastic badge holder with a pin attached to the back was classifiable in subheading 3926.90.90, HTSUS. The badge holder in NY 855520 is closer to a luggage label-holder, since it contains the clear plastic sleeve. Further, it is much more simplistic than the retractable badge holder. The former contains only a plastic sleeve and pin while the latter contains a plastic body with a retractable cord and metal clamp, a D-Ring holding a plastic tab with a metal snap and eyelet.

NY E82200 (June 14, 1999), concerned an ID cardholder with a retractable nylon cord. The ID cardholder had a plastic strip that snaps to form a loop to hold the ID. The plastic strip had a hole reinforced with a metal eyelet. The back of the cardholder had a steel spring clip for attachment to clothing. Customs found that the ID cardholder was classifiable in subheading 7326.90.85, HTSUS. We find that the cardholder in NY E82200 is substantially identical to the instant retractable badge holder. The metal components of the instant article allow it to be attached to clothing and also allow the nylon cord to be retractable. Therefore, in following NY E82200, we find the instant retractable badge holder to be classifiable in subheading 7326.90.85, HTSUS, as an other article of iron or steel, other, other, other, other.


At GRI 1, the retractable badge holder is classified in subheading 7326.90.85, HTSUS, as an other article of iron or steel, other, other, other, other.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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