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NY H84211

August 9, 2001

CLA-2-42:RR:NC:3:341 H84211


TARIFF NO.: 4202.12.2050

Ms. Swapna Venkateswaran
Esprit de Corp
900 Minnesota Street
San Francisco, Ca. 94107

RE: The tariff classification of vanity set from China

Dear Ms. Venkateswaran:

In your letter dated July 31, 2001, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

A sample of style 7802558 (epo299), “Frill Seeker” has been submitted. The sample consists of a zippered pouch and lipstick holder put up in a retail carton for retail sale as a set. It is assumed that the set will be presented on import as now submitted and will not be subject to repackaging or manipulation subsequent to import. The pouch and lipstick holder are personal accessories of a kind carried in a lady’s handbag or traveling bag. Each item is of a kind used to provide a convenient means of carrying and using personal cosmetics on a daily basis when traveling about. The sample is being returned as requested.

The zippered pouch is a flat envelope shape and measures approximately 5” wide by 4” high. It has a three-layer construction consisting of an outer of man-made textile materials, a middle of foamed plastics and an inner of man-made textile materials. One side is wholly covered with plastic sequins. The pouch is used to contain the lipstick holder as well as other cosmetics. You have identified the item as a “Mini Pancake” and request that it be classified according to the classification appropriate for an article of plastic sequins, other than a handbag, in tariff number 3926.90.3500, HTSUSA.

The lipstick holder is made up of a rigid base wholly covered on the exterior and interior with a man-made fiber textile material. It is shaped and fitted to contain two lipstick tubes and has a center vanity mirror. The case has a snap closure. You propose classification within tariff number 4202.32.9550, HTSUSA.

The sequined pouch is of a kind similar to the eo nomine “vanity cases” of subheading 4202, HTS. Noting that it is wholly sequined on one side and it is the sequined side which imparts the essential character of the article, the pouch is classified within 4202.12.2050, HTSUSA, which provides in part for vanity cases and similar containers with outer surface of plastics. The lipstick holder is of a kind classified in subheading 4202.32.9550, HTSUSA which provides, in part, for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or a handbag, of textile materials, with outer surface of textiles, of man-made fibers.

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the GRI's, taken in order. In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and relative section or chapter notes.

The issue to be addressed in this case is whether the pouch and lipstick holder are classifiable as a "set" or under separate provisions in the tariff. In the instant case, because no heading, by itself, covers the subject merchandise, classification cannot be determined by applying GRI 1 alone. Therefore, reference to the subsequent GRI's is necessary. GRI 2(b), HTSUSA, provides in pertinent part that "[t]he classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of GRI 3."

GRI 3, HTSUSA, provides in pertinent part:

When, by application of Rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

The heading, which provides the most specific description, shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods. Consists of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity

Since each falls under separate subheadings in the tariff schedule which describe only a portion of the in the entire unit, the headings are to be regarded as equally specific under GRI 3(a). Therefore GRI 3(a) fails in establishing classification, and GRI 3(b) becomes applicable. GRI 3(b) states in pertinent part:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes to the HTS constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3, HTSUSA, set forth a three-part test for "goods put up in sets for retail sale." The three-step definition states the following:

For the purposes of this Rule, the term 'goods put up in sets for retail sale' shall be taken to mean goods which: (a) consist of at least two different articles, which are prima facie, classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards).

An article must meet all of the above conditions in order to be regarded as a "set" for tariff purposes. The sequined pouch and lipstick holder are prima facie classified in different subheadings. The items are packaged together for sale directly to users without any further repacking. Each is a personal accessory designed to contain personal effects and have the common purpose of storage, protection, organization and portability. Therefore, parts (a), (b) and (c) of the above definition are fulfilled. The sequined pouch is the component that imparts the essential character of the set.

The applicable subheading for style 7802558, “Frill Seeker” will be 4202.12.2050, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). The rate of duty will be 20 percent ad valorem.

Goods classifiable in tariff number 4202.32.9550 falls within textile category designation 670. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of China are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories and their quota and visa status are the result of international agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the U.S. Customs Service Textile Status Report, an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available at the Customs Web site at www.customs.gov. In addition, the designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected and should also be verified at the time of shipment.

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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