April 24 1989
CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 081591 LS 826328
Ms. Janis Nulph
Action Industries, Inc.
Allegheny Industrial Park
Cheswick, Pennsylvania 15024
RE: Tariff classification of "Total Planner"
Dear Ms. Nulph:
Your inquiry, dated November 3, 1987, addressed to our New
York office concerning the tariff classification of a "Total
Planner" under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
States Annotated (HTSUSA) was referred to this office for a
direct reply to you. A sample was submitted for our examination.
The sample submitted is known as a "Total Planner" and
consists of the following items which fit into plastic pockets of
a plastic folding case: a telephone and address indexer; a
weekly planner; a note pad; plastic inserts for business cards or
other cards; and a ball point pen. On the left side of the
opened case are two plastic pockets, which are designed for
holding a calculator and business cards, neither of which are
included with the "Total Planner." The weekly planner and
telephone and address indexer have spiral binders and are located
opposite each other when the case is opened. The weekly planner
contains blocks of spaces naming each day of the week. There are
two pages allocated for each week of the year. Although the
weekly planner contains condensed calendars for the years 1987,
1988, and 1989 on the first page, it is designed for use in any
year because there are designated spaces on the top of each page
for the user to fill in the month, week, and year. The last nine
pages of the weekly planner contain three divided sections
labeled "Call," "Do," and "See," which are designed for writing
lists. Each section has seven numbered lines. The note pad is a
separate article located behind the weekly planner and is titled
"Notes & Ideas Plan Your Day." The folded case is held closed by
a fastener similar to the VELCRO brand fastener. The "Total
Planner" is manufactured in Taiwan.
- 2 -
Is the "Total Planner" classifiable as a "set," pursuant to
General Rule of Interpretation 3(b), HTSUSA?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of products under the HTSUSA is governed by
the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's).
GRI 3(b) provides for the classification of goods put up in
sets for retail sale. The rule states in pertinent part:
[G]oods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be
classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if
they consisted of the material or component which gives
them their essential character, insofar as this criterion
The Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official
interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, state in
Note X to Rule 3(b) that the term "goods put up in sets for
retail sale" means goods which:
(a) consist of at least two different articles which are,
prima facie, classifiable in different headings;
(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet
a particular need or carry out a specific activity;
(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to
users without repacking.
The "Total Planner" meets criteria (a), (b), and (c) above.
At least two of the articles are classifiable in different
headings since the telephone and address indexer, weekly planner
and note pad are all classifiable in subheading 4820.10.20,
HTSUSA, and the pen is classifiable in subheading 9608.10.00,
HTSUSA. All of the articles in the "Total Planner" are put up
together to carry out a specific activity of planning and
organizing one's thoughts, activities, and personal contacts.
The pen is used to write in each of the three paper articles.
The plastic pockets and plastic inserts are designed to hold
business cards and a calculator, which are respectively used to
organize one's personal contacts and to make calculations which
assist in the planning of one's activities and financial status.
The "Total Planner," is put up in a manner suitable for sale
directly to users without repacking since it is sold in a box
which displays pictures of the item, both folded and unfolded,
and which lists the contents of the 5 piece set.
- 3 -
Since we find that the "Total Planner" qualifies as a set
under the HTSUSA, we must next determine which component gives
the set its essential character. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI
3(b) provides that the essential character may be determined 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." Essential character has been
construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to
distinguish what an article is. United China & Glass Co. v.
United States, 61 Cust. Ct. 386, C.D. 3637 (1968).
The components of this set which constitute the most
distinctive features of the "Total Planner" and which play the
major roles in its function as a tool for organizing and planning
one's activities are the weekly planner and the telephone and
address indexer. Apart from the plastic cover, which has a value
of $.373, the weekly planner and the telephone and address
indexer have the greatest value, i.e., $.330 each. The latter
two items are classifiable in subheading 4820.10.20, HTSUSA,
which provides for "diaries, notebooks and address books, bound."
We find that the weekly planner is classifiable in subheading
4820.10.20, HTSUSA, rather than subheading 4910.00, HTSUSA, which
provides for "calendars of any kind, printed." The Explanatory
Note to heading 4910 states that the heading excludes "memorandum
pads incorporating calendars and diaries (including so-called
engagement calendars) (heading 4820)." The weekly planner
appears to fit under this exclusion and is therefore classifiable
in heading 4820. The Explanatory Note to heading 4820 states in
part that "articles of this heading sometimes contain a
considerable amount of printed matter but are classified in this
heading (and not in Chapter 49) provided that the articles are
essentially for completion in manuscript or typescript." The
weekly planner and telephone and address indexer have some
printed matter but are classified in heading 4820 because they
are completed in manuscript.
Since the weekly planner and telephone and address indexer
impart the essential character to the set, the set is
classifiable in subheading 4820.10.20, HTSUSA. GRI 5(a) provides
that containers which are specially shaped or fitted to contain a
specific set of articles are classifiable with the set if they
are suitable for long-term use, are entered with the articles for
which they are intended, and are normally sold with the set.
Since the plastic folding case or holder meets all of the
criteria of GRI 5(a), it is classifiable with the "Total Planner"
under subheading 4820.10.20, HTSUSA.
- 4 -
For the foregoing reasons, the "Total Planner" is
classifiable as a set in subheading 4820.10.2010, HTSUSA, which
provides for "diaries and address books," bound, dutiable at the
column 1 duty rate of 4 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division
schreiber library 081591LS
6cc: Area Director, New York Seaport