CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954816 ch

Thomas S. Watkins
Fritz Companies, Inc.
P.O. Box 13188
Jacksonville, Florida 32206

Re: Classification of a sequined beaded waist bag from Indonesia; not classifiable as a travel bag due to its material composition; not an article for the packing and conveying of goods, of plastics; essential character.

Dear Mr. Watkins:

This is in response to your letter of August 6, 1993, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for what you describe as a money belt. A sample was provided to this office for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.


The submitted sample, style number MB 1, is a waist bag with two zippered pouches. It possesses an adjustable belt with a plastic snap buckle. This article is constructed of nylon textile material. The portion of the bag which will be exposed when worn is covered with multicolored plastic sequins. A glass bead attached to the center of each sequin is used to affix the sequins to the body of the waist bag.


What is the proper tariff classification for the instant waist bag?


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, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of plastic sheeting, or textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper.

Thus, this provision encompasses the enumerated containers and containers similar thereto.

Heading 4202 is divided into two parts by means of a semi- colon. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 4202, at page 613, state in part that:

Subject to Notes 1 and 2 to this Chapter, the articles covered by the first part of the heading may be of any material. The expression "similar containers" in the first part includes hat boxes, camera accessory cases, cartridge pouches, sheaths for hunting or camping knives, portable tool boxes or cases, specially shaped or internally fitted to contain particular tools with or without their accessories, etc.

The articles covered by the second part of the heading must, however, be only of the materials specified therein or must be wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper (the foundation may be of wood, metal, etc.). The expression "similar containers" in this second part includes note-cases, writing-cases, pen-cases, ticket-cases, needle-cases, key-cases, cigar-cases, pipe-cases, tool and jewellery rolls, shoe-cases, brush-cases, etc. (Emphasis added).

As this passage indicates, containers of the first part of the heading may be of any material. However, containers of the second part of the heading are excluded from heading 4202 if they are not of the materials specified therein.

We have determined that the subject merchandise is not similar to those containers enumerated in the first part of the heading. The waist bag is not specially shaped or fitted to hold particular merchandise, which is characteristic of spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases and holsters. Moreover, the waist bag does not physically resemble trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases or school satchels.

The waist bag cannot be classified under the second part of the heading if it is not composed of the materials specified therein. This article is composed of a nylon textile material, glass beads and plastic sequins. Containers of textile materials are classifiable in the second half of heading 4202. However, containers of plastic sequins (Cf. plastic sheeting) or glass are excluded from the scope of the second part of the heading.

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. (Emphasis added).

As this language indicates, goods made up of different materials shall be classified as if the entire article is composed of the material which lends its essential character.

The EN to GRI 3(b), at page 4, read in pertinent part as follows:

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 this instance, the outer surface of the waist bag visible when worn is made up of plastic sequins and glass beads. The outer surface serves a decorative purpose and distinguishes this item from other less ornate travel bags. Furthermore, articles classifiable within heading 4202 are segregated with reference to their outer surface at the six and eight digit classification level. This fact suggests that the outer surface generally plays an important role in relation to the use of goods of heading 4202. For these reasons, the essential character of the waist bag is imparted by its outer surface. Hence, the entire article shall be classified as if it is composed of only plastic sequins and glass beads. These materials are not specified in the second part of heading 4202. Hence, the waist bag cannot be classified under this provision.

The classification of this item is further complicated by the fact that articles of plastic are classifiable under Chapter 39, HTSUSA, while articles of glass are classified under Chapter 70, HTSUSA. Therefore, we must also determine whether the plastic or glass component of the waist bag lends the essential character to the article as a whole.

In this instance, the plastic sequins provide the waist bag with its striking visual appearance. Although the glass beads add to the appearance of the bag, their primary function is to affix the sequins to the textile portion of the merchandise. On this basis, we conclude that the beads serve an ancillary function. Hence, we shall classify the waist bag as if it was composed entirely of plastic materials.

Heading 3923, HTSUSA, provides for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics. The EN to heading 3923, at page 574, state that:

This heading covers all kinds of plastics commonly used for the packing or conveyance of all kinds of products. The articles covered include:

(a) Containers such as boxes, cases, crates, sacks and bags (including cones and refuse sacks), casks, cans, carboys, bottles and flasks.

The heading also covers cups without handles having the character of container used for the packing or conveyance of certain foodstuffs, whether or not they have a secondary use as tableware or toilet articles.

(b) Spools, cops, bobbins and similar supports.

(c) Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter 954072, dated September 2, 1993, we observed that the exemplars cited in the EN to heading 3923 make it "clear that this heading provides for cases and containers of bulk goods and commercial goods and not personal items." As the instant waist bag is clearly designed to carry personal effects, it is not described by heading 3923.

Heading 3926 is the basket provision for plastic articles not described more specifically elsewhere in the tariff schedule. At the eight digit classification level, subheading 3926.90.35 provides, inter alia, for plastic articles of beads, bugles and spangles. A spangle is a small, often circular, decorative piece of sparkling metal or plastic. Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary (1988). This provision accurately describes a waist bag composed of multi-colored sequins.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 3926.90.3500, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: other: beads, bugles and spangles, not strung (except temporarily) and not set; articles thereof, not elsewhere specified or included: other. As this provision falls under the Generalized System of Preferences, the applicable rate of duty is Free when imported from Indonesia.


John Durant, Director