CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961021 GGD
Brett Ian Harris, Esquire
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman, LLP
245 Park Avenue, 33rd floor
New York, New York 10167-3397
RE: Modification of New York Ruling Letter (NY) B84986; Other
Articles of Plastics; Office or School Supplies; Not Attache
Case, Briefcase, School Satchel; Headings 3926, 4202
Dear Mr. Harris:
In New York Ruling Letter (NY) B84986, issued June 4, 1997,
on behalf of All-State International, Inc., Customs classified
one of the two articles at issue in subheading 4202.12.2035,
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated
(HTSUSA), which provides for "Trunks...attache cases, briefcases,
school satchels and similar containers: With outer surface of
plastics or of textile materials: With outer surface of plastics,
Other: Attache cases, briefcases, and similar containers." We
have reviewed that ruling and have found it to be in error.
Therefore, this ruling modifies NY B84986.
Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C.
1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs
Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement
Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993),
notice of the proposed modification of NY B84986 was published on
November 25, 1998, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 32, Number 47.
The article at issue, described in NY B84986 as a
"portfolio," is identified in advertising/marketing literature by
stock number 39121 and as a "Case-Guard Polyfiber File Envelope."
The article consists of an expandable envelope which is
essentially composed of plastic sheeting and which measures
approximately 15 inches in width by 10 inches in height by 1/2
inch in depth (compressed and without contents). The envelope's
front exterior has a flap with two metal grommets through which
is looped an elastic cord designed to encircle the envelope and
close the flap. The interior of the article consists of one
compartment whose accordion-like gussets (attached to the front
and back of the envelope by reinforced, stitched seams) allow the
envelope to expand to a depth of 5-1/4 inches.
Whether the article is classified in subheading
4202.12.2035, HTSUSA, the provision for attache cases,
briefcases, school satchels, and similar containers; or in
subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for other articles
of plastics, office or school supplies.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with
the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that
the classification of goods shall be determined according to the
terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative
Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be
classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and
legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then
be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized
Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the
official interpretation of the tariff at the international level,
facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in
understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.
Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides, in part, for attache cases,
briefcases, and similar containers. The exemplars named in
heading 4202 have in common the purpose of organizing, storing,
protecting, and carrying various items. EN (c) to heading 4202
indicates that the heading does not cover articles which,
although they may have the character of containers, are not
similar to those enumerated in the heading, for example, book
covers and reading jackets, file-covers, document-jackets...and
which are wholly or mainly covered with leather, sheeting of
plastics, etc. Such articles fall in heading 4205 if made of (or
covered with) leather or composition leather, and in other
chapters if made of (or covered with) other materials.
Among other merchandise, chapter 39, HTSUSA, covers plastics
and articles thereof. In pertinent part, note 2(ij) to chapter
39, HTSUSA, states that "[t]his chapter does not cover...trunks,
suitcases, handbags or other containers of heading 4202."
Heading 3926, HTSUSA, covers "Other articles of plastics and
articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914." The EN to
heading 3926 indicate that the articles covered by the heading
include protective bags, file-covers, document-jackets, and
similar protective goods made by sewing or glueing together
sheets of plastics.
If the expandable file envelope is prima facie classifiable
under heading 4202, HTSUSA, it may not be classified under
heading 3926 or any other headings within chapter 39, HTSUSA. It
must therefore be determined whether the article merely has the
character of a heading 4202 container, or whether the article's
purpose is to organize, store, protect, and carry various items.
The expandable file envelope is primarily designed as a means to
store records, documents, and/or other papers over an extended
period of time. To effectively perform this task, the article
has been constructed of durable plastic sheeting and a flap
closure with an elastic loop to protect its contents. The file
envelope's single gusseted compartment does not provide a
significant organizational aspect, but its contents will most
likely consist exclusively of papers and/or other flat items.
The article is therefore not designed to contain the various
items carried in a briefcase. Having no handle or carrying
strap, the file envelope would be fairly heavy and difficult to
carry if filled with papers to a point approaching its fully-expanded capacity. We find that, although the expandable file
envelope has the character of a container, it is principally
designed and intended to store and protect papers for extended
periods of time. Its attributes are similar to those of file-covers and similar protective goods made by sewing together
sheets of plastics and not to the containers of heading 4202.
The article is classified in subheading 3926.10.0000, HTSUSA.
The article identified by stock no. 39121 and as the "Case-Guard Polyfiber File Envelope" is classified in subheading
3926.10.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other articles of
plastics...: Office or school supplies." The general column one
duty rate is 5.3 percent ad valorem.
NY B84986, dated June 4, 1997, is hereby modified. In
accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become
effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.
Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C.
1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position
in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division