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HQ 965985

June 24, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965985 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 3924.90.5500

Mr. Frank Prackler
Harold I. Pepper Co., Inc.
181 South
Franklin Ave., Suite 218
Valley Stream, NY 11581

RE: Reconsideration and Modification of NY I84815; Classification of 22-pocket hanging over-door shoe organizer

Dear Mr. Prackler:

This is in response to a letter, dated September 19, 2002, which you submitted on behalf of EZ Do Co., requesting reconsideration of New York Ruling (NY) I84815, dated August 12, 2002, which classified among other things an over-door shoe organizer (item 46098) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). We have reviewed this ruling and determined that the classification provided for this merchandise is incorrect. A sample was submitted to this office for examination.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), 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 (1993), a notice of proposed modification was published on May 21, 2003, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 37, Number 21, proposing to modify NY I84815, dated August 12, 2002, and to revoke the tariff treatment pertaining to the tariff classification of a 22-pocket hanging over-door shoe organizer. No comments were received.


The subject article is identified as a 22-pocket hanging over-door shoe organizer, item 46098. The article is constructed of a non-woven fabric panel with 22 pockets on one side. The pockets are constructed of clear plastic material. The top is designed to allow for hanging the article over a door. The entire article measures 62.5 inches long x 23 inches wide. Five rows of four pockets each are formed by stitching clear plastic sheeting to the non-woven fabric. Narrow plastic strips are used as a binder for the stitches and as a capping for the edges. Each pocket is meant to hold a shoe. At the bottom there are two double-sized pockets to hold pocketbooks, scarves, or other items. There are four grommets at the top to enable the item to be hung. Four metal over-door hooks are included.

In NY I84815 the subject article was classified in subheading 6307.90.9889, HTSUSA, which is a provision for other made up textile articles. You disagree with this classification and claim that the correct classification is in subheading 3924.90.5500, HTSUSA, which provides for other household articles of plastic.


What is the proper classification for the merchandise?


Classification under the 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 Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The subject article, identified as item 46098, is constructed of both plastic and textile materials. As such, the article is prima facie classifiable as an article of plastic under heading 3924, HTSUSA, which provides for “Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics” and as an article of textile under heading 6307, HTSUSA, which provides for “Other made
up articles, including dress patterns”. Thus, the goods are not classifiable pursuant to a GRI 1 analysis. GRI 2(b) provides that the classification of combinations of materials, which are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, must be classified according to the principles of Rule 3. GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The EN for GRI 3(b) states in relevant part that the factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods, e.g., by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the case of Better Home Plastics Corp. v. United States , 199 F.3d 969 (1997), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a decision by the Court of International Trade (CIT) which classified a textile shower curtain/plastic liner set, pursuant to a GRI 3(b) analysis, as an article of plastic under subheading 3924.90.1010, HTSUSA. The CAFC further affirmed that the CIT had correctly applied a GRI 3(b) analysis by evaluating the essential character of a textile shower curtain/plastic liner set by comparing the relative importance of each component. Finally, in affirming that the CIT had correctly classified the set, the CAFC held that there was no error in the lower court’s refusal to reject the essential character test in favor of the default rule of GRI 3(c).

In Customs Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 964238, dated May 31, 2002, we applied a GRI 3(b) analysis in classifying suit/dress bags (items 01896-2; 01892-2) constructed of plastic and textile materials. In determining the essential character of these goods pursuant to a GRI 3(b) analysis, we compared the plastic and textile materials to assess which material contributed the greatest durability and value to the finished goods. In this instance, we found that the textile material provided the greater durability and value. Thus, the goods were classified as a container of heading 4202 with outer surface of textile under subheading 4202.92.3031, HTSUSA.

Upon visual examination of the article now in issue, it has been confirmed that there is more plastic sheeting than textile fabric used to construct the article. Although the textile panel forms the back of the pocket, it is the plastic sheeting that forms the gusseted front portion of the 22 pockets which will store, organize, and support the intended contents. In this way, the plastic front portion of the pockets defines the product as a shoe organizer. In addition, the entire article has been reinforced with plastic piping to provide strength and support to the plastic pockets and along the edges of the textile panel. The clear plastic sheeting provides easy identification of shoe style/color and an easy wipe
surface, which is important in cleaning away dirt/mud carried by shoe soles to the interior of each plastic pocket. The plastic material on this article represents a higher percentage of the total value of the article than the textile panel. Thus, the plastic components of the shoe organizer provide the indispensable function and the greater quantity and value to the article.

In view of the foregoing, it is our determination that the subject article, item 46098, is correctly classified, pursuant to GRI 3(b), as an article of plastic under subheading 3924.90.5500, HTSUSA. It is also our decision that NY I84815, dated August 12, 2002, incorrectly classified the subject article (item 46098) as an other article of textile in subheading 6307.90.9889, HTSUSA.


The subject merchandise, identified as Item 46098, is correctly classified in subheading 3924.90.5500, HTSUSA, which provides for, “Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics: Other: Other.” The general column one duty rate is 3.4 percent ad valorem.


NY I84815, dated August 12, 2002, is MODIFIED. 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

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