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HQ 966685

October 23, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 966603 KSH


TARIFF NO.: 4202.92.4500

Ms. Janette K. Higgins
Smith International Enterprises
20600 Chagrin Blvd. Suite 200
Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122-5334

RE: Reconsideration of NY J85741, dated June 27, 2003, concerning the classification of a zippered case from Hong Kong

Dear Ms. Higgins:

This letter is in response to your letter of July 16, 2003, requesting reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) J85741, dated June 27, 2003, concerning the classification of a zippered case pursuant to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted.


The submitted sample is a zippered case with an outer surface of sheeting of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic that is embossed to simulate leather. It has a foamed plastic middle layer and a nylon lining. The case measures approximately 10” x 7” by 4”. The interior top lid has a mesh storage pouch. The exterior of the top lid is embossed with the name “Infinity” and a company logo. The case is secured by a nylon coil zipper that extends around three sides. The bottom exterior of the case has two strips of a hook textile fastener material intended to secure the case to the interior carpet or other loop textile material component within a vehicle.

The zippered case is designed to hold a PVC portfolio that contains the auto owner’s manual, with slots/pockets for insurance cards, lemon law booklet, maintenance booklet and other miscellaneous documents. The zippered case will also include a foam pad that will hold two key fobs and an ink pen. ISSUES:

What is the proper classification of the zippered travel case?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification 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. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), constitute the official interpretation at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for:

Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attaché cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, insulated food or beverage 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 plain language of heading 4202, HTSUSA, includes the term “similar containers.” Additionally, the EN to heading 4202, HTSUSA, state that the heading covers only the specifically named containers and similar containers.

Under the rule of ejusdem generis, when an enumeration of specific things is followed by a general word or phrase, the general word or phrase is held to refer to things of the same kind as those specified. In Totes, Incorporated v. United States, 18 C.I.T. 919, 865 F. Supp. 867 (1994), aff’d, 69 F.3d 495 (Fed. Cir. 1995), the Court of International Trade (CIT) examined the classification of organizers which were designed to store, in an orderly manner, necessities that are normally carried in an automobile's trunk. With respect to the broad reach of the residual provision for “similar containers” in heading 4202, HTSUSA, the Court determined that the rule of ejusdem generis requires that the imported merchandise possess the essential characteristics and purpose that unite the articles enumerated in order to be classified under the general term. Totes, supra, at 871. The Court of International Trade’s determination that the “essential characteristics and purpose of Heading 4202 exemplars are . . . to organize, store, protect and carry various items[,]” was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Totes, Inc. v. United States, 69 F.3d 495, 498 (1995). The zippered case serves the purposes of organizing, storing, protecting and carrying the various documents that are typically carried during travel. Accordingly, the zippered case is classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, as a “similar container.”

The zippered case was classified is subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA, as a travel, sports or similar bag. The additional U.S. notes become applicable at the eight-digit level or U.S. subdivision of the international subheadings. The provision for travel, sports and similar bags is defined by Additional U.S. Note 1, Chapter 42, HTSUSA, as follows: “For the purposes of heading 4202, the expression ‘travel, sports and similar bags’ means goods, other than those falling in subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading, but does not include binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, bottle cases and similar containers.”

The Additional U.S. Note clarifies what characteristics will be considered to determine if a bag is a travel, sports or similar bag. Backpacks and shopping bags have a generic carrying capacity suitable for holding clothing and personal effects. The zippered case has a generic carrying capacity for various personal effects in addition to the portfolio, and this capacity need not be dedicated to bulky clothing (as opposed to a scarf, gloves, etc.). Accordingly, the case satisfies the definition of travel and similar bags in Additional U.S. Note 1, Chapter 42, HTSUSA.

The possibility that the fastener material of the zippered case might adhere to clothing, if carried by hand, does not affect the classification of the case as a travel, sports or similar bag. Like the Totes trunk organizers, the zippered case is not principally designed to be carried by hand, but the fact that it is designed to fit in the vehicle (with hook attachment strips to secure it in place) indicates that the container is suitable to effectively transport various items, while it organizes, stores and protects them. As such the zippered case bears substantial similarity to other articles classified as travel, sports or similar bags and is properly classified in subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA.


NY J85741, dated June 27, 2003, is hereby affirmed.

The zippered case is classified in subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA, the provision for “traveling bags, insulated food or beverage bags, toiletry bags: Other: With outer
surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: Travel, sports and similar bags: Other.” The general column one duty rate is 20% ad valorem.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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