CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 081298 SM

S. Richard Shostak, Esq.
Stein, Shostak, Shostak & O'Hara
Suite 806
1101 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-4704

RE: Tariff classification of carpet sample displays

Dear Mr. Shostak:

Your letter of November 6, 1987, on behalf of Sunday Samples requests a tariff classification ruling for five types of carpet sample displays.


Samples of the various styles were submitted. All con- tain samples of U.S. origin carpet and some printed informa- tion about them.

The contract carpet folder consists of four nine-by- twelve-inch coated paperboard panels with glued-on carpet samples. The panels are grooved to fold over each other. Two samples can be lifted to reveal the printed information.

The loose-leaf sample catalog is a ring binder approxi- mately ten by twelve inches. It contains hole-punched paper- board pages to which carpet samples are attached. Printed information appears on the back of each page.

Sample sets are collections of carpet samples approxi- mately eighteen by twenty-four inches with edges either finished with binding tape or beveled on a cutting machine. Four to ten printed textile labels are affixed to the back of each piece.

The residential catalog book, approximately eighteen by sixteen inches, consists of three pieces of paperboard inside a plastic cover, riveted together, and provided with a plastic handle. It contains two master carpet samples with bound edges and printed labels on the back, and a series of smaller samples mounted on the inside of the back cover.


The chain set is a series of samples fastened to three- by-five paperboard cards with printed information on the back. They are hole-punched and held together by a bead-type chain.

You suggest that the sample displays are classifiable either as charts under heading 4905, Harmonized Tariff Sched- ule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), or as catalogs under heading 4911, HTSUSA.


Are the carpet sample displays classified as either charts or catalogs, and if not, how are they classified?


Classification under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes; and then, if the headings or notes do not otherwise require, in accordance with the remaining GRI's.

Some provision for samples is made under subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUSA, but since articles classifiable under that provision must be used for soliciting orders for products of foreign countries, it is not applicable in this case.

Heading 4905, HTSUSA, refers, as you indicate, to "charts." However, the complete description is: "Maps and hydrographic or similar charts of all kinds, including atlases, wall maps, topographical plans and globes, printed." The Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, for this heading indicate that it is intended to include "maps, charts and plans designed to represent the natural or artificial features of countries, towns, seas, the heavens, etc., conventional signs being used to indicate contours, etc." The carpet sample displays do not portray any physical or political geographical features, and are clearly not the type of article intended to be classified under this heading.

Heading 4911, HTSUSA, provides for "other printed mat- ter, including printed pictures and photographs." The Explan- atory Notes indicate that this heading is intended to cover all printed matter of the chapter not more particularly covered by any preceding headings. Goods classified under this heading must therefore be, first of all, printed matter of the chapter.


The General Explanatory Notes for Chapter 49 state:

With the few exceptions referred to below, this Chapter covers all printed matter of which the essential nature and use is determined by the fact of its being printed with motifs, characters, or pictorial representations.

. . .

For the purposes of this Chapter, the term 'printed' includes not only reproduction by the several methods of ordinary hand printing . . . or mechanical printing . . . but also reproduc- tion by duplicating machines . . . photocopy- ing . . . .

Thus, in considering classification under this heading we must decide whether the essential nature and use of the carpet sample displays is determined by the fact that they contain printing.

The printing is certainly of great importance in the use of the goods to advertise and sell carpet. It informs the customer as to the style, color name, and color number of the carpet, and provides information about its fiber content, weight, warranty, price, available sizes, country of origin, and performance characteristics.

However, the carpet samples are equally essential in the use of the displays. If they were not, they could have been replaced by illustrations. Printed advertising materials of many types, provided for under heading 4911, HTSUSA, illus- trate all sorts of merchandise offered for sale. Neverthe- less, in this case it was clearly considered important for the customer to be able to see and feel the texture and color of the goods themselves. The printed text and the samples assume equal importance; therefore, the goods are not essentially printed matter and cannot be classified under heading 4911, HTSUSA.

Various headings of the tariff provide for components of the carpet sample displays. Heading 4802, HTSUSA, provides for binders, folders, and albums for samples, of paper or paperboard, such as those of the contract carpet folder and the loose-leaf sample catalog. Heading 4202, HTSUSA, pro- vides for various containers such as the plastic-covered car- rier with handle of the residential catalog book. Heading 4823 provides for other articles of paper or paperboard, such


as the cards of the chain set; heading 7315, HTSUSA, provides for chain and parts thereof, of iron and steel. Heading 6307 provides for other made up textile articles. Except for the sample sets, which consist of nothing but labeled carpet sam- ples, none of the five displays appears to be fully covered by any one heading; therefore, except for that one sample, none of the goods can be classified in accordance with GRI 1.

GRI 2(a), concerning incomplete or unassembled articles, is not applicable here.

GRI 2(b) provides that when a heading refers to goods of a given material, it shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material. Thus each of the headings mentioned above is expanded to include the carpet sample displays, consisting not only of the named material--plastic, paperboard, textile, or chain-- but of other materials as well. GRI 2(b) concludes with the provision that goods consisting of more than one material are classified according to GRI 3.

GRI 3(a), concerning preference for the heading giving the most specific description of the goods, does not resolve classification when, as here, each heading refers to part only of the materials contained in composite goods.

GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials are to be classified as if consisting of that material that gives them their essential character, if it can be determined. The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) indi- cate that the essential character of goods made up of differ- ent materials may be determined, for example, by the nature of the material, its bulk, quantity, weight, value, or role in relation to the use of the goods.

In the case of all four displays consisting of different materials--the contract carpet folder, the loose-leaf sample catalog, the residential catalog book, and the chain set-- comparison of the textile portions with the nontextile mater- ials indicates that it is the textile portions that provide the essential character of the goods. The folder, the loose- leaf binder, the plastic container, and the cards and chain all serve only to support and display the carpet samples and are of no particular interest in themselves. The primary use of the articles--indeed the only use--is to advertise and sell carpet. Without the samples, the displays would have nothing to show.



The five carpet sample displays are classified under subheading 6307.90.9030, HTSUSA, a provision for other made up textile articles.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

6cc: Area Director of Customs
New York Seaport Area
cc: Legal Reference Section
cc: CITA
cc: Phil Robins
cc: Jenny Johnson
cc: NIS Carl Abramowitz
cc: NIS Anthony Falcone
cc: NIS Alan Tytleman
cc: NIS Richard Eyskens