CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951534 SK

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
610 South Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60607

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3901 92 100361; classification of three styles of cosmetic cases; classification of cosmetic cases as articles normally carried in a handbag v. travel bags; HRL 087419 (7/12/90); 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA.

Dear Sir:

This is a decision on application for further review of a protest timely filed on behalf of Dorothy Lipton Designs, Inc., on February 7, 1992, against your decision regarding the classification of three styles of cosmetic cases. Three entries were made for these articles, but none have been liquidated.


At issue are three styles of cosmetic cases. All three styles are manufactured of substantial weight jacquard man-made fiber fabric outer material with heavy gauge coated inner fabric material and vinyl sheet material lining. All three have nylon top zippers.

*Style #211 measures 7.25" x 4.5" x .5". *Style #32 measures 8" x 3.5" x 2.5". *Style #041 measures 6" x 4" x .75".

These articles were originally classified in New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 869420, dated December 18, 1991, under subheading 4202.92.1500, HTSUSA, and 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA, as either cotton or man-made-fiber travel bags.

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The importer, Dorothy Lipton Designs, Inc., contests this classification and asserts that proper classification of the articles is under either subheading 4202.32.4000, HTSUSA, or 4202.32.9550, HTSUSA, depending on the fabric of the article.


Are the cosmetic cases at issue properly classifiable as travel, sports or similar bags under subheading 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA, or as articles of a kind normally found in a handbag, as provided for in subheading 4202.32.9550, HTSUSA? LAW AND ANALYSIS:

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 according to the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes.

Subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA, provides for travel, sports and similar bags. Additional U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 42 states:

"For the purpose of heading 4202, the expression 'travel sports and similar bags' means goods other than those falling in subheading 4202.11 through 4202.39, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel...." [emphasis added].

The articles at issue are cosmetics cases that are designed to transport "personal effects" (i.e., cosmetics and various toiletry or hygiene articles), "during travel" (i.e., from one location to another). Essentially, the purpose of a cosmetic case is to organize personal effects and to provide a single site for the transport of these effects. It is foreseeable that the cosmetic cases will be used inside of various other containers such as handbags, suitcases, overnight bags, gym bags, etc... . We note that as there is no qualification of the term "during travel", this office will not place limits on the duration or distance of any journey in order for it to constitute "travel" within the purview of the U.S. Note set forth above. "Travel" may constitute relatively minor journeys such as commutes to work or lengthier trips of greater duration and distance. As cosmetic cases are designed to transport personal effects during travel, we need only now determine whether these articles are more specifically provided for under subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, HTSUSA, and therefore precluded from classification under subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA.

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Subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, HTSUSA, provide for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or in the handbag. The Explanatory Notes (EN), which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, indicate that subheadings 4202.31, 4202.32 and 4202.39 include such items as spectacle cases, note cases (bill folds), wallets, purses, key cases, cigarette cases, cigar cases, pipe cases and tobacco pouches. While cosmetic cases are not expressly enumerated here we note that, by definition, exemplars are not meant to create absolute restrictions as to what is or is not classifiable within a particular provision. Rather, exemplars are intended to illustrate the types of articles that are properly classifiable in a given subheading. Therefore the absence of "cosmetic cases" as a specifically cited exemplar will not, in itself, bar classification of the subject merchandise under subheading 4202.32, HTSUSA. Our analysis turns on whether a cosmetic case is more aptly described as the type of article normally carried in a handbag or whether cosmetic cases are more properly designated as travel bags.

As set forth above, the common function of all cosmetic cases is that they are designed to organize and transport personal effects. There is no requirement that the travel involved be significant. Virtually all cosmetic cases, regardless of size specifications or design features, are used to carry personal effects from one location to another (i.e., "during travel") and therefore subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA, provides for the subject merchandise more specifically than does subheading 4202.32, HTSUSA, which more generally provides for articles normally found in a handbag.

Although a fine distinction is made with regard to whether 4202.92 or 4202.32, HTSUSA, controls the classification of cosmetic cases, this office has consistently made such determinations and concluded that subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA, more specifically provides for such articles. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 087419, dated July 12, 1990. In HRL 087419, Customs recognized that travel bags are articles designed to aid in organizing and providing a convenient carrying case for an individual and not primarily for use as a handbag accessory. While it is true that some cosmetic cases, such as the three styles at issue, may be small enough to be carried in a handbag, subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA, nevertheless provides more specifically for these articles because they are designed to transport personal effects, whether or not in a handbag, and this is the essence of a travel bag.

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The three styles of cosmetic cases at issue are classifiable under subheadings 4202.92.3030, HTSUSA,. which provides for travel, sports and similar bags: with outer surface of textile materials: other... other, dutiable at a rate of 20 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 670.

As the rate of duty under the classification indicated above is the same as the rate under which the subject merchandise was entered, you are instructed to deny the protest in full. A copy of this decision should be furnished to the protestant with the Form 19 notice of action.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division