CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084638 CB

Mr. D. G. McKenny
John V. Carr & Son, Inc.
P. O. Box 248
Champlain, New York 12919

RE: Classification of hair swatch books

Dear Mr. McKenny:

This ruling letter is in response to your inquiry of May 10, 1989, on behalf of Coloride, Inc., requesting a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), for hair swatch charts and books.


Two samples were submitted for classification. One of the samples is a filled three-ring looseleaf binder whose cover and pages appear to be made of paperboard covered with coated paper. Several small, variously colored imitation hair swatches (made of nylon filaments) are attached to the edge of each page; printed captions adjacent to each swatch identify the shade by name and number.

The other sample is in the form of a folder and the swatches are displayed in conjunction with printed drawings of models' faces. The books and charts represented by the samples will be used by retailers to advertise and display hair colorings.


Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable under Chapter 49, HTSUSA, as printed advertising material?


Classification under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. 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.


Heading 4911, HTSUSA, provides for "other printed matter, including printed pictures and photographs." The Explanatory 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 Explanatory Notes for Chapter 49, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, 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 reproduction by duplicating machines ... photocopying....

Thus, in considering classification under this heading we must decide whether the essential nature and use of the hair swatch charts and books samples is determined by the fact that they contain printing.

The printing is of importance in the use of the goods to advertise and sell the hair colors. It informs the customer as to the hair color and color number of the product. However, the "hair" samples are equally essential in the use of the display. It is clearly important that the customer be able to see the "hair" color itself. Thus, 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 hair swatch charts and books. Heading 4823, HTSUSA, provides for other articles of paper or paperboard. Heading 4802, HTSUSA, provides for binders, folders, and albums for samples, of paper or paperboard. Heading 6307 provides for other made up textile articles. Neither of the sample displays appears to be fully covered by any one heading; therefore, they cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1.


GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials are to be classified as if consisting of that material that gives the goods their essential character. According to the Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b), 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.

With regard to the subject samples, comparison of the textile portions (the nylon filaments) with the nontextile materials indicates that it is the textile portions that provide the essential character of the goods. The charts and books are used to sell the hair coloring. Without the hair swatches, the displays would have nothing to show.


The hair swatch books and charts are classified under subheading 6307.90.9050, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up textile articles. The rate of duty, for Canadian FTA-elegible goods, is 6.3 percent. Otherwise, the rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.

Your samples will be returned to you under separate cover.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division