CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086983 NLP
Ellen E. Rosenberg, Esq.
Paul A. Horowitz, Esq.
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson
One Whitehall Street
New York, New York 10004
RE: Jewelry Organizer
Dear Ms. Rosenberg and Mr. Horowitz:
This ruling is in response to your letter of April 18, 1990,
on behalf of E&B Giftware, Inc., requesting a tariff
classification of a jewelry organizer, manufactured in China,
under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted for our examination.
The article at issue is a tri-fold jewelry organizer which
is intended to store jewelry at home or while one is traveling.
The jewelry organizer in its unfolded condition measures
approximately 14-1/2 inches in length and 12 inches in width. In
its folded condition it measures approximately 5 inches in length
and 12 inches in width. The organizer has nine zippered
interior compartments to hold various types of jewelry. The
interior compartments are lined with 65 percent polyester/35
percent cotton fabric. The exterior of the compartment is
composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sheeting, which is
approximately 0.15mm thick. The zippered areas separating the
various compartments consist of 65 percent polyester/35 percent
cotton fabric. The outer surface of the exterior of the
organizer consists of transparent PVC sheeting. A layer of woven
65 percent polyester/35 percent cotton fabric bearing a floral
pattern is inserted between the PVC sheeting and backing of the
interior jewelry compartments. Two tie straps of satin fabric
act as closures when the organizer is folded.
In addition, a detachable zippered plush-lined pearl
pocket, measuring 3-1/2 inches by 6-1/4 inches, is attached onto
the exterior of the jewelry organizer. The pearl pocket has an
outer surface that is identical to the jewelry organizer.
Whether the jewelry organizer has an outer surface of
plastic sheeting or textile materials?
Whether the jewelry organizer and the pearl pocket are
considered a set for tariff classification purposes?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the
manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA.
GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according
to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative
section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required,
according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.
Heading 4202, HTSUSA, includes, inter alia, the following
...[t]raveling 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 plastic
sheeting, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or
of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such
The jewelry organizer is similar to the traveling bags and
toiletry bags listed under Heading 4202, HTSUSA.
Moreover, Additional U.S. Note 1 to Chapter 42, HTSUSA, 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
We view the jewelry organizer as being a type of bag which would
be designed and used for carrying personal effects, namely
jewelry, during travel. Consequently, it is our opinion that
the bag is classifiable under subheading 4202.92 as travel,
sports and similar bags. Moreover, we have determined that the
appropriate subheading for goods under this subheading is
determined by the constituent material of the outer surface.
Thus, the next issue to be addressed is whether the outer surface
of the jewelry organizer is "plastic sheeting or of textile
In HRL 082803, dated December 27, 1988, Customs defined the
term "outer surface", in the context of classifying articles of
Heading 4202, HTSUSA, as "that surface which is both visible and
tactile". In the instant case, it is our position that the
plastic cover forms the outer surface of the jewelry organizer
because it is both visible and tactile.
First, the plastic is that surface which is tactile. The
plastic completely covers the fabric and is not laminated or
otherwise compressed onto the textile fabric. When one touches
the jewelry organizer it is the plastic that they feel.
Second, the plastic surface is also visible. Legal Note 2
of Chapter 59 provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Heading 59.03 applies to:
(a) textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or
laminated with plastics,... other than:
(1) Fabrics in which the impregnation, coating or
covering cannot be seen with the naked eye (usually
Chapter 50 to 55, 58 or 60); for the purpose of this
provision, no account should be taken of any resulting
change of colour.
The wording of Note 2(a)(1) ("cannot be seen with the naked eye")
is a clear expression by the drafters of the nomenclature that a
significant, if not substantial, amount of material must be added
to a fabric for it to be considered "impregnated, coated, covered
or laminated." The plastics material added to the fabric must be
visibly distinguishable from the fabric without the use of
Applying the statutory test to the instant article, using
normally corrected vision in a well lighted room, it is our
opinion that the jewelry organizer meets the visibility
requirement of Note 2, Chapter 59. It is apparent, based on our
examination of the article, that the plastics material is present
in a significant amount for it completely covers the fabric and
is substantial in weight and thickness. Additionally, the
plastic is visibly distinguishable from the fabric it covers
because the plastic is not laminated or otherwise compressed onto
the fabric. It is apparent that there is a separate and
distinct layer of plastic material on the outer surface of the
Before the jewelry organizer can be classified as having an
outer surface of plastic sheeting it must be determined whether
the plastic cover is considered to be plastic sheeting. HRL
083600, dated May 24 1989, and HRL 083974, dated June 12, 1989,
dealt with the issue of whether cosmetic cases had outer surfaces
of plastic sheeting. To answer this question, Customs accepted
various dictionary definitions of sheet and sheeting, such as the
The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, (1988)
sheet 2. a broad, relatively thin, surface layer or
sheeting 1. the act of covering or forming into a sheet or
In the instant case, the jewelry organizer has a thin surface
layer of PVC covering the textile fabric. Therefore, based on
the above definitions, the jewelry organizer has an outer surface
of plastic sheeting.
Finally, it is our position that the pearl pocket and the
jewelry organizer form a set under GRI 3. When goods are prima
facie classifiable under two or more headings, GRI 3 must be
consulted. GRI 3(b) provides that goods put up in sets for
retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the
component which gives them their essential character. The
Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b) indicate, in pertinent part, that
"goods put up in sets for retail sale" means goods which:
(a) consist of at least two different articles which are
prima facie classifiable in different headings (or, by
GRI 6, subheadings);
(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet
a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and
(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to
users without repacking.
The instant jewelry organizer and pearl pocket meet the
above criteria. The organizer and pearl pocket are classifiable
in two different subheadings: 4202.32.20, HTSUSA, which provides
for articles of a kind normally carried in the pocket or handbag,
with outer surface of plastic sheeting, other, and 4202.92.4500,
HTSUSA, which provides for trunks, suitcases ... and similar
containers ... other: travel, sports and similar bags, other.
These components are put up together to meet the need of holding
one's jewelry during travel. The goods are put up in a manner
suitable for sale directly to the user.
The essential character of the set must be identified to
allow for proper classification. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI
3(b) states that a product's essential character may be
determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk,
quantity, weight, value, or by the role of a constituent material
in relation to the use of the goods. It is our opinion that the
jewelry organizer constitutes the essential character of the set.
It is the primary holder of the jewelry, and it is superior in
bulk, weight and value to the pearl pocket. Accordingly, the set
as a whole must be classified under the subheading which applies
to the jewelry organizer, subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA.
The jewelry organizer and pearl pocket are classifiable in
subheading 4202.92.4500, HTSUSA, which provides for trunks,
suitcases ... and similar containers ... other: travel, sports
and similar bags, other. The rate of duty is 20 percent ad
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division