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NY J85859

July 14, 2003

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 J85859


TARIFF NO.: 4420.90.6500

Ms. Andrea Holtan
Costco Wholesale
999 Lake Drive
Issaquah, WA 98027

RE: The tariff classification of a “file storage box,” of wood, paperboard, leather and fabric, from China.

Dear Ms. Holtan:

In your letter dated June 20, 2003, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

A sample of a rectangular “file storage box” measuring 14” x 17” x 12”(H) was submitted for our examination and is being returned to you as requested. The bottom and side panels of the box are of wood fiberboard (about 5/16” thick), while the hinged, flip-open lid is of stiff paperboard. The sides and lid are completely covered on the exterior with leather, while the interior of the box is lined with textile fabric. There is also textile fabric covering the exterior of the bottom panel. The inside of the box is fitted with metal bars designed to support hanging file folders. Each end panel incorporates a 1¾” x 4¾” opening near the top to facilitate lifting or carrying the box.

You suggest that since the box is a substantial item that “most likely would sit on the floor,” it should be classified as furniture in heading 9403 of the HTS. It appears to us, however, that the box’s relatively low height makes it rather inconvenient for use on the floor, and that it might well be used more efficiently on a countertop, table or the like. (The article’s fabric bottom helps make it suitable for placement on such raised surfaces without causing unwanted scratches.) The box does not have feet, legs or any other features that would suggest a floor-standing application. In light of these factors, we find that the box is not classifiable as furniture of heading 9403, HTS, because it is not specifically designed to stand on the floor.

The box is a composite good made up of different materials. General Rule of Interpretation 3(b), HTS, states that composite goods are to be classified according to the material that gives them their essential character. The essential character of the subject box is imparted by the wood, which is the main structural material and allows the item to function as a container or holder.

The applicable subheading for the “file storage box” will be 4420.90.6500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for jewelry boxes, silverware chests, microscope cases, tool or utensil cases and similar boxes, cases and chests, all the foregoing of wood: lined with textile fabrics. The rate of duty will be free.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

This ruling is being issued under the assumption that the subject goods, in their condition as imported into the United States, conform to the facts and the description as set forth both in the ruling request and in this ruling. In the event that the facts or merchandise are modified in any way, you should bring this to the attention of Customs and you should resubmit for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2. You should also be aware that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

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 Paul Garretto at 646-733-3035.


Robert B. Swierupski

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