CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 962364 GGD
Ms. Ludene Murphree
The GAP, Inc.
One Harrison Street
San Francisco, California 94105
RE: Classification of "Tote Bags;" Travel, Sports and Similar
Bags; Not Handbags; Subheadings 4202.92 and 4202.22
Dear Ms. Murphree:
This letter is in response to your request of October 12,
1998, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of three styles
of travel bags manufactured in China. Samples were submitted
with your request.
The sample bags at issue, identified by style numbers
597318, 597494, and 597496, each measure approximately 9 inches
in height by 11-1/2 inches in width. Each bag has a "T" gusset
at the bottom which allows the bag to expand and to measure
approximately 3 inches in depth. Due to a tapered design, the
bags measure approximately 8-3/4 inches in width at the bottom.
Style 597318 is composed of 100 percent cotton denim fabric.
It features one interior compartment, two textile carrying
handles, and a zippered closure across the top. The bag has no
lining and no additional interior or exterior pockets.
Style 597494 is composed of 100 percent cotton canvas
fabric, but is otherwise essentially identical to style 597318,
featuring one interior compartment, two textile carrying handles,
a zippered closure, and no lining or additional pockets.
Style 597496 is composed of 100 percent cotton gingham
fabric. The bag has an open top (no closure) and two textile
carrying handles which match the bag's fabric. The bag's
interior has a lining and a small, open top, flat pocket attached
to one wall. Tethered to the top of the bag by a strip of
textile fabric (printed with the words "Old Navy") is a cotton
fabric, zippered coin purse that measures approximately 4 inches
in width by 2-1/2 inches in height.
Whether the merchandise is classified in subheading 4202.22,
HTSUSA, as handbags, or in subheading 4202.92, HTSUSA, as travel
bags other than handbags.
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.
Among other articles, heading 4202, HTSUSA, covers traveling
bags, toiletry bags, handbags, and similar containers.
Subheading 4202.92, HTSUS, provides in part for travel, sports
and similar bags. Additional U.S. Note 1 to chapter 42, HTSUS,
[f]or 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
Subheading 4202.22, HTSUSA, provides for handbags. The word
"handbag" is defined in Webster's New World Dictionary, Second
College Edition, 1972, as: "1. a small container for money,
toilet articles, keys, etc., carried by women; purse 2. a small
suitcase or valise."
In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 957917, issued July 7,
1995, this office reconsidered and reclassified in subheading
4202.92.1500, HTSUS, a woven cotton bag which measured
approximately 14 inches by 10 inches by 5 inches. The bag had a
reinforced open top with double carrying straps, but no lining
and no pockets or compartments. We stated that tote bags similar
to those described immediately above were no longer classifiable
as handbags, and that such bags were to be regarded as
multipurpose bags for carrying various personal effects.
In HQ 950708, issued December 24, 1991, we observed judicial
guidance as to the attributes of tote bags and women's handbags.
We noted that certain tote bags which had no linings or
reinforcements, no pockets, no closures (or only single snap
closures), provided little protection for their contents and were
unlikely to be used in a manner similar to a woman's handbag. We
stated that such tote bags were used as multipurpose bags to
carry any number of sundry articles, such as food, books, and/or
clothing. Since the bags did not fit the terms of subheadings
4202.11 through 4202.39, but were a type of bag used to carry
clothing and other personal effects during travel, they were
considered to be travel, sports and similar bags within the
meaning of Additional U.S. Note 1 to chapter 42, HTSUS. See also
HQ 951113, issued May 19, 1992, affirming HQ 950708.
In HQ 955552, issued August 15, 1994, we classified an
article described as both a "tote" and a "shoulder bag" in
subheading 4202.22.6000, HTSUSA as a handbag. The bag measured
approximately 14 inches in width by 9-1/2 inches in height by 4
inches in depth (at the bottom). The article had 2 shoulder
straps, and was divided into 2 separate compartments, each of
which had a zippered closure. One of the compartments also had a
zippered change purse. The interior of the bag was lined and the
bottom and corners were reinforced. It was found that the bag's
design and construction - particularly its reinforcement, its
straps, its inside zipper pocket, and its style of
compartmentalization and zipper closures - strongly suggested an
intended use by women and girls to carry personal items on a
With respect to styles 597318 and 597494, we find that
despite their zippered top closures, the coarse cotton
construction and lack of any additional pockets or lining
indicate that the bags are not designed or intended to be used as
containers for the types of items normally carried in a woman's
handbag. Further, although style 597496 is lined and has a flat
interior pocket and a tethered coin purse, the bag's thin cotton
construction and lack of any top closure provide offer little to
protect and secure contents such as spectacles, keys, and money.
We find that all three styles are multipurpose bags for carrying
various personal effects other than, or in addition to, those
normally carried in a woman's handbag. The bags are classified
as travel bags other than handbags.
The travel bags identified by style nos. 597318, 597494, and
597496, are classified in subheading 4202.92.1500, HTSUSA,
textile category 369, the provision for "Travel, sports and
similar bags: With outer surface of textile materials: Of
vegetable fibers and not of pile or tufted construction: Of
cotton." The general column one duty rate is 6.8 percent ad
The designated textile and apparel category may be
subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements
applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since
part categories are the result of international bilateral
agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and
changes, to obtain the most current information available, we
suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status
Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal
issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for
inspection at your local Customs office.
Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation
(the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the
restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile
merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior
to importation of this merchandise to determine the current
status of any import restraints or requirements.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division