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HQ 967605

December 6, 2005

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 967605 SG


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9889

John B. Pellegrini, Esq.
McGuireWoods, LLP
1345 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10105-0106

RE: Classification of Binders/Cases With Paper Inserts, Headings 6307 and 7326

Dear Mr. Pelligrini:

This letter is in response to your request of March 7, 2005, on behalf of your client, Dollar General Corporation, requesting administrative review of New York ruling letter (NY) L82069, dated February 4, 2005, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of binders imported with an insert consisting of ten pieces of lined paper affixed to a binder mechanism. The merchandise was classified in subheading 6307.90.9889, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up textile articles. You claim that “the binders are ‘of’ iron and steel and that classification properly lies in HTS subheading 7326.90.85, as other articles of iron or steel.”


We are advised that the binders at issue, identified as style numbers 71784 and 71783, differ only in the cover design. One sample has been submitted.

The sample is constructed with a base of plastic sheeting that is covered on the exterior surfaces with a woven polyester textile fabric. There is a layer of plastic foam material between the exterior fabric layer and the plastic stiffener. A plastic design representing blue flames appears to be laminated to the front of the article.

Each of the articles is zippered on 3 sides. Each measures approximately 13 inches in length by 11 inches in width by 2 inches in depth. The left interior side of each features a large pocket or sleeve onto which is sewn a flat zippered mesh pocket and textile slots for pens and pencils. A three ring binder mechanism (containing a metal spine) is riveted onto the plastic sheet, which makes up most of the interior walls. The metal rings measure approximately 1-1/2 inch in diameter. Affixed to the metal rings are a few sheets of ruled loose-leaf paper.

We are advised that the textile materials range between 20 and 30 percent by weight and represent approximately 50 percent by value of the materials used in the binder. The metal ring mechanism is approximately 20 percent by weight and 17 percent by value. The plastic materials range from 51 to 46 percent by weight and represent approximately 33 percent by value of the materials used in the binder.


Whether the articles are properly classified under heading 6307, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up (textile) articles, or under heading 7326, HTSUSA, as other articles of iron or steel.


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides, in part, that classification decisions are to be "determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes." In the event that 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 order. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings) and facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. While neither legally binding nor dispositive of classification issues, the EN provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127-28 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The importer and CBP agree the goods are not classifiable in Chapter 48, HTSUSA, or Chapter 42, HTSUSA.

In support of its claim that the binder is classifiable in subheading 7326, HTSUSA, it is asserted by the importer that the principal purpose of the binder is organization, and that the metal rings permit easy insertion, removal and access to paperwork. It is further asserted that the metal rings facilitate organization of the paperwork in a variety of ways with the use of inserts: the binder protects the paperwork from soiling, provides an easy means for carrying the paperwork, and assists in carrying materials such as pens and pencils. It is claimed that the majority of the textile components impart only decoration and therefore do not impart the essential character to an article whose primary function is not decoration.

We disagree. It is our view that although the metal ring mechanism serves an important purpose in the overall construction and use of the article, it is the textile fabric of each model that creates its primary storage compartments, or pockets. Storage of items associated with the use of a three-ring binder is the principal, if not the sole purpose of the three-ring binders before us. We note that the binder before us does not include a large amount of paper and the pockets do not create a briefcase-like article. We find that the textile fabrics provide the composite goods with their essential character. Accordingly classification as an article of iron or steel of heading 7326 is precluded.

Among other goods, chapter 63, HTSUSA, provides for “other made up textile articles, including dress patterns.” The EN to heading 6307 indicates that the heading covers made up articles of any textile material which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature. When the binders are imported without their contents, they are primarily textile articles which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI nor elsewhere in the Nomenclature. See HQ 965423, issued July 16, 2002.

Although the binder has substantial interior volume, this space is directly related to the presence and size of the three ring binding mechanism, which also indicates that the space is, for the most part, dedicated to paper goods that will be affixed to the rings. The interior pockets/sleeves of the binder are all flat and composed of mesh fabric, which suggests they are not intended to carry three dimensional items or a variety of personal effects in addition to papers and paper-related goods (pens, ruler, etc.).

We find that the binder functions primarily as a jacket or cover to enclose and protect papers and articles of stationery. If imported without contents, the binder is classified in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA. For binding rulings involving similar issues, see Headquarters Ruling Letters (HQ) 962229, issued December 8, 1998, HQ 960305, issued June 6, 1997, New York Ruling Letters (NY) D80856, issued August 6, 1998, NY C87851, issued June 1, 1998, and NY C85231, issued April 3, 1998.


When imported empty or without substantial plain paper inserts, the binder is classified in subheading 6307.90.9889, HTSUSA, the provision for “Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other: Other: Other, Other: Other.” The general column one duty rate is 7 percent ad valorem.


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