CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953306 ch

District Director
Los Angeles
300 South Ferry Street
Terminal Island
San Pedro, California 90731

RE: Application for further review of protest 2704-92- 103602; classification of textile fabric tote bags; essential character; visual impact; GRI 3(c); raschell knit mesh; canvas.

Dear Sir/Madam:

The above-referenced protest was forwarded to this office for further review. We have considered the protest and our decision follows.


The subject merchandise are four styles of "Avon Summer Essentials Tote Bags," identified as "product profile" numbers 102527A, 102527B, 102527C, 102527PF. Each tote bag features an open top and an interior purse/wallet affixed by means of a cord. The bags measure approximately 15 inches in height (not including the carrying straps) and 24 inches in width at their widest point. They possess a bottom, collar and handles composed of textile canvas. The lower portion of the main body and the purse/wallet are constructed of the same material. However, the area between the collar and lower body is made of a Raschell knit net material. The purse/wallet possesses a zipper closure and measures approximately 6 inches in height and 8 inches in width.

In addition, the importer has supplied us with the following specifications: Sample Area % of Visible Exterior Surface

Canvas Mesh

102527A 64.39 35.61 102527B 60.98 39.02 102527C 63.86 36.14 102527PF 64.35 36.65

Sample Weight % of Materials Used in Entire Bag

Canvas Mesh Plastic Zipper

102527A 88.00 9.00 1.00 2.00 102527B 67.67 9.80 21.40 1.13 102527C 69.68 7.32 21.85 1.15 102527PF 65.21 9.92 23.53 1.34


Sample Trim Ramie/Cotton Body

102527A 57.6% / 42.4% 100% Polyester 102527B 100% Cotton 100% Polyester 102527C 58% / 42% 100% Polyester 102527PF 58% / 42% 100% Polyester

Accompanying entry documents establish the cost of the canvas and mesh materials for one of the styles as follows:

Ramie Cotton $1.63 Nylon Mesh $0.75

In New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 870012, dated January 21, 1992, the "Summer Essentials Bag and Kit," style PP 102527, was classified in subheading 4202.92.3030, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, of textile materials, of man-made fibers. The merchandise at issue in that ruling appears to be one of the tote bag styles at issue here. Accordingly, you have classified the subject merchandise under subheading 4202.92.3030.


What are the proper tariff classifications for the subject merchandise?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). 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. Where goods cannot be classified on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in order.

Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides for:

Trunks, Suit-Cases, Vanity-Cases, Executive-Cases, Briefcases, School Satchels, Spectacle Cases, Binocular Cases, Camera Cases, Musical Instrument Cases, Gun Cases, Holsters and Similar Containers; Travelling- Bags, Toilet Bags, Rucksacks, Handbags, Shopping-Bags, Wallets, Purses, Map-Cases, Cigarette-Cases, Tobacco- Pouches, Tool Bags, Sports Bags, Bottle-Cases, Jewellery Boxes, Powder-Boxes, Cutlery Cases and Similar Containers, of Leather or of Composition Leather, of Sheeting of Plastics, of Textile Materials, of Vulcanised Fibre or of Paperboard, or Wholly or Mainly Covered with Such Materials or With Paper. (Emphasis added).

Thus, travel, sports and similar containers of textile materials are classified under heading 4202.

Chapter 42, U.S. Additional Note 1, states:

For the purposes of heading 4202, the expression "travel, sports and similar bags" means goods, other than those falling in subheadings 4202.11 through 4202.39, of a kind designed for carrying clothing and other personal effects during travel, including backpacks and shopping bags of this heading, but does not include binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, bottle cases and similar containers. (Emphasis added).

The instant tote bags are not classifiable in headings 4202.11 through 4202.39, and appear to be designed to carry clothing and other personal effects from place to place. Accordingly, they are classified as travel, sports and similar bags in heading 4202.

Travel, sports and similar bags with outer surface of textile materials are classified in subheading 4202.92. Within this subheading, classification at the eight and ten digit levels is in accordance with the fiber composition of the outer surface of the bag. In this instance, the outer surface of each tote bag is comprised of polyester, cotton and in some cases ramie. Therefore, it is not immediately apparent which subheading is applicable.

GRI 6 provides in part that:

For legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes and, mutatis mutandis, to the above rules.

Hence, we shall apply the preceding GRI to resolve the classification of these items at the subheading level.

GRI 3(a) reads in part as follows:

The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods...those headings shall are to be regarded as equally specific in relation those goods.

The tote bags are composed of cotton, polyester and ramie. Pursuant to GRI 3(b), these materials are considered to be equally specific in relation to one another. Therefore, we cannot resolve this matter based on specificity.

GRI 3(b) states that:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods 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 is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to GRI 3(b) provide, in pertinent part, that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, 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.

In NYRL 870012, Customs concluded that the polyester net component imparted the essential character of the bag. In support of this finding, we note that the net polyester fabric is a striking visual feature which distinguishes these articles from typical tote bags. Moreover, the open weave of the mesh material allows the contents of the bags to aerate, and permits the contents to be partially exposed to view from the outside. We conclude that these features enhance the marketability of the tote bags in light of contemporary fashion trends.

On the other hand, the canvas material occupies the greatest portion of the outer surface of the various tote bags. This fact is an indication that the canvas also produces a distinct visual impact. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 084241, dated July 28, 1989; HRL 082332, dated February 21, 1989; HRL 081373, dated October 17, 1988; HRL 081375, dated October 3, 1988; HRL 081374, dated August 8, 1988. In addition, the canvas material is the component of chief value, greatest bulk and lends added durability to these items.

Based on the foregoing, we are of the opinion that both the mesh and canvas materials make substantial contributions to the finished articles. Reasonable minds may conclude that either the mesh or canvas imparts their essential character, as neither clearly predominates over the other. Therefore, we are unable to make an essential character determination.

GRI 3(c) states:

When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The subheadings which merit consideration in this case are:

1. Subheading 4202.92.1500, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, of vegetable fibers, of cotton.

2. Subheading 4202.92.2000, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, of vegetable fibers (ramie), other.

3. Subheading 4202.92.3030, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, of man-made fibers (mesh).

The tote bags are classifiable under subheading 4202.92.3030, as the samples all contain man-made fibers and this provision occurs last in numerical order.


Based on the foregoing discussion, this protest should be denied in full. The subject merchandise shall be classified under subheading 4202.92.3030, which provides for travel, sports and similar bags: other: with outer surface of plastic sheeting or of textile materials: with outer surface of textile materials: other: other: of man-made fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 20 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 670.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the CF 19 Notice of Action to satisfy the notice requirement of section 174.30(a), Customs Regulations.


John Durant, Director