CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 959116 ALS

Mary E. Sowle, Esq.
Bowles, Keating, Hering, Matuszewich & Fiordalisi
135 South Lasalle St, Suite 1140
Chicago, IL 60603

RE: Molded Plastic Tote Bags

Dear Ms. Sowle:

This is in reference to your request for a binding ruling regrading the above subject. Your request, which was addressed to our New York office, was referred to this Office for reply. Two samples of the subject bags were provided with your request.


The articles under consideration are tote bags made of molded polyethylene plastic mesh. The samples provided are of 2 sizes. One bag is approximately 12-7/16 inches at the bottom wide and 16-1/2 inches wide at the top.. The second style is 17-1/2 wide at the bottom and 19 inches wide at the top. The openings in the mesh are approximately 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch. The bottom of the totes are made of solid plastic and come about 13/16 inch up the mesh sides. The first bag is approximately 19-1/2 inches high from its bottom to the top of the integral non-flexible handles. The other tote is approximately 16 inches high from its bottom to the top of the integral non-flexible handles. It is stated that the totes are used to carry groceries, beach items, blankets and similar items.


What is the classification of these mesh tote bags?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. - 2 -

GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order. In considering the classification of the tote bags, we note that counsel has suggested that they are not classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUSA, but are, alternatively, classifiable in heading 3923 or 3926. We agree that the tote bags, since they are made of molded plastic and are not composed of an outer surface of plastic, or of reinforced or laminated plastics, do not fall within the parameters of heading 4202.

We next considered the classification of the tote bags in chapter 39, HTSUSA, as suggested by counsel. We note that heading 3923 generally provides for goods of a commercial nature, i.e., containers for packing and shipping bulk or commercial goods. While legal note 2(a) to chapter 42 directs us to classify "bags made of plastic sheeting, whether or not printed, with handles, not designed for prolonged use", the instant product is distinguishable from the bags referred to in the note. The bags referred to in that note are disposable shopping bags which are typically used at the point of sale and are provided by the store selling the product. They are for one-time use and are typically designed to assist a retail customer take home items such and fruits and vegetables.

The instant totes are substantial in nature and are designed to be repeatedly used to store, carry and otherwise hold items which may or may not be within the stream of commerce. While they may be used as shopping bags, among other uses, they are not disposable or provided by the retail establishment, but are designed for repeated use by the owner (consumer). Accordingly, we conclude that the instant articles of molded plastic, which are capable of being repeatedly used for a multitude of purposes, are most properly classifiable in heading 3926.


Molded plastic tote bags of a substantial nature which are designed for personal use and not for the conveyance of goods still in the stream of commerce, are classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9890, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Other: Other, Other." Merchandise so classifiable are subject to a general rate of duty of 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals