CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084844
Ms. Eileen T. Romito
Sears Tower, BSC 19-45
Chicago, Il 60684
Dear Ms. Romito:
In a letter dated June 12, 1989, you inquired as to the
tariff classification and the marking requirements applicable to
ladies' split leather handbags manufactured in China. Samples
were submitted for examination.
The samples designated as style Nos. 3327, 3331 and 3336 are
made of split leather coated with polyurethane plastic. A
laboratory analysis of the nontransparent polyurethane coating
reveals that it measures 0.04 mm in thickness.
What material constitutes the outer surfaces of the
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
In applying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
States Annotated (HTSUSA), the Customs Service must follow the
terms of the statute. Classification of goods under the HTSUSA
is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI
1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to
the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter
notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise
require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]. In
other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the
headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.
In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 082803 dated December
26, 1988, the term "outer surface" was defined as that surface
which is both visible and tactile. However, since that ruling
concerned plastic coated textiles, it is not controlling here.
As stated in HRL 081839 dated July 6, 1988, "[t]he
definition of patent leather sets guidelines as to whether coated
leather is plastic or leather." Acknowledging the fact that that
ruling involved a determination as to the "exterior surface" of a
plastic coated leather upper under Chapter 64, it is,
nonetheless, our position that the same test should be applied to
plastic coated leather handbags.
Explanatory Note 41.09 (1) defines patent leather as leather
coated with a non-transparent, lustrous, mirror-like coating.
Under this definition, patent leather is considered to be of
leather if the plastic coating does not exceed 0.15 mm [6/100
inch] thick, and as plastic if over that thickness.
In this instance the plastic coating is less than 0.15 mm in
thickness. Thus, the outer surfaces of the handbags are
considered leather for tariff purposes.
The handbags are classifiable under subheading 4202.21.6000,
HTSUSA, as handbags, whether or not with shoulder straps,
including those without handle, with outer surface of leather, or
composition leather or of patent leather, other, valued not over
$20 each. The applicable rate of duty for this provision is 10
percent ad valorem.
The proper marking of these samples will be the subject of a
separate letter to you.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division
6cc AD NY Seaport
1cc Kevin Gorman NY Seaport
1cc Dist Dir Chicago
1cc Legal Reference
D. Cahill library/peh