CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950325 CRS

Mr. Matthew A. Garland
R.L. Swearer Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 471
Sewickley, PA 15108

RE: Executive planner with six ring binder; diary; address book; not similar to containers of heading 4202; HRL 088430; EN 48.20; complementary goods.

Dear Mr. Garland:

This is in reply to your letter of August 28, 1991, to our New York office, on behalf of Leeds Leather Products, in which you requested a tariff classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample of the merchandise at issue was provided and is described below.


The merchandise in question is an executive organizer, style 1000-4, consisting of a leather case enclosing a six ring binder. The planner contains assorted paper inserts including a calendar, address book, note paper and sundry printed pages designed to assist personal record-keeping, clear plastic storage pockets, and ball point pen. The binder is not permanently mounted (e.g., with rivets or other fasteners) in the leather case, but is held in place by means of plastic appendages which slip into pockets on the inside cover of the article. The leather case measures approximately 1" x 5" x 7" and fastens by means of a snap closure. The organizer will be manufactured in Taiwan and will be imported through the ports of Los Angeles and/or Pittsburgh.


The issue presented is whether a ringed leather binder that houses, inter alia, an address book, calendar and ball point pen is classifiable as a diary or as a container.


Two headings are relevant for the purposes of this ruling: heading 4820, HTSUSA, which provides, inter alia, for notebooks, diaries and similar articles; and heading 4202, HTSUSA, which provides, inter alia, for wallets and similar containers.

Heading 4202 provides for a wide range of containers, among which are included wallets and similar articles. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088430 dated April 11, 1991, we stated with regard to a tri-fold planner similar to the article in question:

We do not believe that heading 4202, HTSUSA, describes a type of merchandise which would bring these goods within the "similar containers" of that heading. Although the "planner" may appear to be related to the containers of heading 4202, HTSUSA, they are not similar in that they are not designed or intended for use in a similar manner, nor do they exhibit the requisite physical attributes that Customs has found common to goods of heading 4202, HTSUSA.

In Customs' opinion the executive planner in question is therefore distinguishable from containers of heading 4202.

Heading 4820, however, provides for notebooks, diaries and similar articles. The term "diary" is defined in The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary 1987 as:

2. A book prepared for keeping a daily record, or having spaces with printed dates for daily memoranda and jottings; also applied to calendars containing daily memoranda on matters of importance to people generally, or to members of a particular profession, occupation, or pursuit.

Id. at 321. The planner is designed to keep daily records and memoranda. It contains, among other things, a calendar, an address book, and sheets of paper on which to record purchases and make notes. Accordingly, it is Customs' opinion that heading 4820 covers the class of merchandise at issue. Moreover, while the planner contains a ball point pen, the pen is included merely to complement the planner, and its value in relation to the whole is slight. In this instance, Customs considers that heading 4820 contemplates, and thus includes within its scope, diaries that may contain complementary goods, e.g., a pen, so long as the complements do not alter the article's essential character.


The style 1000-4 organizer is classifiable in subheading 4820.10.4000, HTSUSA, under the provision for registers, account books, notebooks, order books, receipt books, letter pads, memorandum pads, diaries and similar articles; other. Articles classifiable in this subheading are free of duty.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division