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HQ 964196

August 18, 2000

CLA-2: RR:CR:TE 964196 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9989

Mr. James W. Lawless
C.H. Powell Company
47 Harvard Street
Westwood, MA 02090

RE: Request for Binding Ruling; Chamois Flannel Shoe Bag; Subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Lawless:

This is in response to your request on behalf of BLB Marketing, in correspondence dated April 24, 2000, for a binding ruling regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a chamois flannel shoe bag. A sample has been provided with the request.


The subject item is identified as a chamois flannel shoe bag that measures 14.5 inches long x 7 inches wide and is comprised of 100 percent cotton chamois flannel, double napped inside and outside. The bag has a drawstring closure and bears the “Cole Haan” trademark. According to your submission, the shoe bag will be packaged with the shoes in a box and will have life beyond the packaging material.


What is the proper classification for the merchandise?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (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 heading 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 HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides as follows:

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of sheeting of plastics, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper.

The EN to 4202 indicates that the heading covers only the articles specifically named and similar containers. Inasmuch as “shoe bags” are not eo nomine provided for in heading 4202, HTSUSA, we must consider whether or not the goods are classifiable as “similar containers” under 4202, HTSUSA. Thus, we look to factors, which would identify the merchandise as being ejusdem generis (of a similar kind) to those specified in the provision. In the case of Totes, Inc. v. United States, 18 CIT 919, 865 F. Supp. 867, 871 (1994), aff’d. 69 F. 3d 495 (1995), the court found that the rule of ejusdem generis requires only that the imported merchandise share the essential character or purpose running through all the enumerated exemplars, i.e., “to organize, store, protect and carry various items.”

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for “Other made up articles including dress patterns. The EN to 6307 specifies that the heading covers those made up articles of textile material “which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature” and particularly including: (5)“ shoe bags”. We note that the EN excludes (b) “Travel goods and all similar containers of heading 4202” (emphasis supplied). It has been noted that the bags “will have life beyond the packaging material.” As such, the "Cole Haan" shoe bags are more than mere packaging for the shoes.

In order to determine whether the merchandise is properly classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, or 6307, HTSUSA, we can look to the EN for guidance. The EN to 4202 identify as similar containers, "shoe cases", while the EN to 6307 include "shoe bags" but specifically exclude "travel goods." It is clear from the EN to 4202 and 6307 that "traveling bags" or "similar containers" (including "shoe cases") are distinct from "shoe bags" and should be separately classified. In making this distinction, if the "shoe bags" are designed for travel use they cannot be classified under 6307 because they are "travel goods." Because the subject shoe bags will have a life beyond the packaging material, the ultimate purchaser may choose to retain the bags for use while traveling, or use them to cover shoes that will be stored in a box, or just discard the bags. As such, we do not find that they are specifically intended for travel use and are not automatically excluded from classification under 6307, HTSUSA,. Nor would they necessarily be precluded from classification under 6307, HTSUSA, merely because they meet the Totes (supra) standard for “similar containers” which are classifiable under 4202, HTSUSA. It is important to note that ALL shoe bags, including those classifiable under 6307, are designed to organize, store, protect, and carry various items. 2

The EN (5) to 6307 specifically lists “shoe bags” as classifiable under the heading, as well as: “domestic laundry bags”, “stocking, handkerchief or slipper sachets”, “pyjama or nightdress cases”, and “similar articles.” All the items listed in EN (5) to 6307 are most commonly intended for domestic use, i.e., to contain personal items for storage in a drawer or closet. Pursuant to the exclusion contained in the EN to 6307, these items are not specifically designed for travel use. They are distinct from the “traveling bags” or “similar containers”, i.e., “shoe cases” of 4202, HTSUSA, which are intended for use inside luggage or as a substantial case designed to be used to transport various items.

The subject merchandise is an unlined drawstring flannel pouch designed to hold new shoes. It isn’t specifically marketed for travel use as a shoe bag to be contained in luggage. Nor does it have any features that would suggest it could be used as a “shoe case” that might allow for one or more pairs of shoes to be packaged in a single container and transported independently from the suitcase. Furthermore, Customs has previously ruled that similar drawstring textile shoe bags or pouches are classifiable under heading 6307, HTSUSA. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 084257, dated July 18, 1989; HQ 085961, dated March 9, 1990; HQ 086206, dated April 13, 1990; HQ 088411, dated April 23, 1991.


The subject merchandise is correctly classified in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, which provides for, “Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other: Other: Other, Other: Other.” The general column one duty rate is 7 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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