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HQ 965223

April 21, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965223 RH


TARIFF NO.: 4819.20.0040

Ross Ellis, Ltd.
300 Ann Street
Montreal, Quebec H3C 2K2

RE: Revocation of HQ 087690, dated December 7, 1990; Classification of Compact Disc Box; Folding Cartons, Cases and Boxes; Subheading 4819.50; Subheading 4819.20

Dear Sir or Madam:

On December 7, 1990, Customs (now Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”)) issued Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 087690, denying protest number 0712-90-000244, concerning the classification of a compact disc box. The law firm of Ross & Hardies filed the protest on your behalf.

In denying the protest, CBP classified the compact disc box under subheading 4819.50.4040 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which encompasses other packing containers of paper or paperboard.

For the reasons set forth below, it is now our opinion that the compact disc box is correctly classified under subheading 4819.20.0040, HTSUS.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), 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 revocation of HQ 087690 was published on March 19, 2003, in Vol. 37, No. 12 of the customs bulletin. No comments were received.


In HQ 087690, a description of the merchandise reads as follows:

The goods at issue here are described as "compact disc boxes." They are thin, rectangular boxes designed to hold compact disc recorded media for transport and sale. The boxes measure approximately 12 ¼ inches in length, 6 inches in width, and ½ inch in thickness. They are made from a single sheet of paperboard, folded lengthwise such that a portion of paperboard forms an inner partition or filler on the inside of the box. The box is assembled by gluing the folded sheet in three locations on two internal surfaces. A square plastic case containing the recorded media is inserted into one end of the box. The folded inner partition fills the remaining volume of the box, keeping the plastic case/compact disc stationary. The ends are then sealed by means of glue. It is our understanding that the length of the box (twice the length of the plastic disc case) is for display purposes. The plastic disc cases have inserts which provide information about the recording. After the disc has been purchased and transported home, the paperboard box is discarded.


What is the correct classification of the compact disc box?


Classification under the HTSUS 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.

In interpreting the headings and subheadings, CBP looks to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), which are not legally binding, but are recognized as the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. It is CBP’s practice to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN when interpreting the HTSUS.

Heading 4819 encompasses:

Cartons, boxes, cases, bags and other packing containers, of paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibers; box files, letter trays, and similar articles, of paper or paperboard of a kind used in offices, shops or the like.

The EN to the first part of the heading (before the semicolon) covering “Cartons, boxes, cases and other packing containers” reads:

This group covers containers of various kinds and sizes generally used for the packing, transport, storage or sale of merchandise, whether or not also having a decorative value. The heading includes cartons, boxes, cases, bags, cones, packets, casks, paperboard drums (containers), whether manufactured by rolling or by any other method, and whether or not fitted with reinforcing circular bands of other materials, tubular containers for posting documents, protective garment bags, jars, pots and the like (e.g., for milk or cream), whether or not waxed. The heading also covers special purpose paper bags such as bags for vacuum cleaners, bags for travel sickness, and record boxes and sleeves.

The EN to heading 4819 states that folding cartons, boxes and cases are:
cartons, boxes and cases in the flat in one piece, for assembly by folding and slotting (e.g., cake boxes);
containers assembled or intended to be assembled by means of glue, staples, etc., on one side only, the construction of the container itself providing the means of forming the other sides, although, where appropriate, additional means of fastening, such as adhesive tape or staples may be used to secure the bottom or lid. Emphasis supplied.

In HQ 087690, counsel argued that only one line of glue was attributable to the construction of the box, the remainder being applied to the inner partition. Therefore, counsel argued that the box was akin to a box with a glued insert, rather than a box glued on more than one side and was, therefore, classifiable under subheading 4819.20, HTSUS.

In rejecting counsel’s argument, we found that the additional gluing on the folded paperboard sheet on the interior surfaces of the box exceeded the permissible use of glue for folding cartons. We further found that the box was not “a box-with-adjuncts” but rather the partition was “an integral part of the box’s structure, particularly in light of the folded, single sheet construction”

In several recent rulings, CBP held that there is no limiting language in the tariff provision or legal notes to preclude classification in subheading 4819.20, HTSUS, where the folding carton has a complex construction (HQ 965873, dated December 9, 2002), or when assembled, it has compartments (HQ 963903, dated July 27, 2001).

In the instant case, the box is glued on one side only. The fact that it has inserts that are glued into the interior of the box does not preclude classification in subheading 4819.20, HTSUS. Accordingly, we find that the compact disc box is the type of merchandise covered by the first part of heading 4819, and more specifically, as a folding carton in subheading 4819.20.0040, HTSUS.


HQ 087690 is REVOKED. The compact disc box is classifiable under subheading 4819.20.0040, HTSUS, which provides for “Cartons, boxes, cases, bags and other packing containers, of paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibers; box files, letter trays and similar articles, of paper or paperboard of a kind used in offices, shops or the like: Folding cartons, boxes and cases, of non-corrugated paper or paperboard, Other.” It is dutiable at the general column one rate at 0.6 percent ad valorem.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the customs bulletin.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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