CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 959846 JGB

Mr. Richard E. Robinson
H & C Sales, Inc.
P.O. Box 113
Sharon, MA 02067

RE: New York Ruling (NY)A85134 dated July 19, 1996, AFFIRMED; Tariff Classification of Carrying Case of Molded Plastic

Dear Mr. Robinson:

Your letter of July 30, 1996, requested reconsideration of NY A85134, dated July 19, 1996, pertaining to the classification of a polystyrene carrying case for small toys and other articles for children under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). In your letter, you indicate that Customs did not consider all of the available facts concerning the use of the article. You have requested this office to reconsider the ruling in light of the additional information submitted with your request.

This letter is to inform you that NY A85134 continues to reflect the view of the Customs Service and is affirmed. The following represents our position.


In your original letter dated July 1, 1996, you requested a tariff classification ruling for a carrying case of molded plastic. We regarded the sample submitted as a carrying case of a kind similar to an attache case. The case is composed of a clear molded polystyrene plastic with an integrated carry handle. The item measures approximately 12 inches x 8-1/2 inches x 2-1/4 inches. In your request for reconsideration, you have indicated that the intended use for the case is as a novelty container for the packaging of candy, as well as a container for "children's crayons, small toys, etc."


Whether the plastic case is an article for the conveyance or packing of goods of heading 3923, an other article of plastic of heading 3926, or as a similar container to attache cases and brief cases of heading 4202. LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUSA. Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUSA and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRIs taken in their appropriate order. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification of the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and the GRIs.

Heading 3923, HTSUS, provides for "Articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics." The EN to heading 3923 indicate that the heading includes boxes, cases, crates, sacks, bags, carboys, bottles, flasks, spools, cops, and bobbins. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 954072, issued September 2, 1993, this office observed "[i]t is clear that this heading provides for cases and containers of bulk goods and commercial goods and not personal items." Accordingly, heading 3923, HTSUS, covers a more industrial or commercial type of container for the transport of bulk or commercial articles, as opposed to the more personal articles that containers of heading 4202 generally are designed and intended to carry. Since the carrying case under consideration here is not designed or intended to carry bulk or commercial goods, the boxes are not classifiable in heading 3923, HTSUS. You do indicate that the case may be used by novelty stores to present goods at retail; however, we would distinguish this use from a retail container designed to sell goods in that this becomes more of a presentation case for goods that would be enhanced by the clear plastic than a mere commercial container for goods. Furthermore, the sturdy character of the article would lead to a classification based in part of the article's usefulness after the goods are purchased. Although candy is initially identified as the likely contents of the case, such cases would be suitable for presenting collections of fancy soaps, small dolls or toys, fancy writing paper or cards, sewing requisites, or any small grouping of items that need to be stored and organized in one place and transported to where they would be used. It appears likely from the relatively high quality of the case that it would be retained long after the perishable contents were used up or replenished with new contents. Also, the case is suitable for sale empty, for use in storing, organizing and transporting articles already in the possession of the purchaser.

Heading 3926, HTSUSA, provides for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914." Note 2(ij) to Chapter 39 excludes "Saddlery or harness (heading 4201) or trunks, suitcases, handbags or other containers of heading 4202." Therefore, if the case meets the standards for a heading 4202 case, it would not be classified in chapter 39.

Heading 4202 provides for, in part, "Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers." These may be of any material according to the EN to heading 4202. An examination of the case shows that a number of relevant characteristics are present in both the named articles and the case under consideration here. The case has sturdy hinges with metal pins as opposed to delicate plastic ones; the carry handle is designed in two pieces, one for each half of the box, so that in use, the normal hand grip of the person carrying the case would keep it closed and the contents secure. Also, the thickness of the plastic used in the construction would permit relatively heavy objects (such as small books) to be carried in the case. Therefore, while it is readily conceded that this is not an attache case, nor a briefcase, nor a school satchel, it is a similar container to the named articles.

An examination of the sample indicates that the article is designed to be a carrying case in that it is complete with the usual top carry grip, hinges and secure clasp and appears to provide storage, protection, organization and portability for whatever the contents.

Under the circumstances outlined herein, the case does not meet the requirements of headings 3923 or 3926, because it is a case of heading 4202. Also, it separately fails to be classified in heading 3923 for the reasons stated. Therefore, it is correctly classified in heading 4202. Specifically, it is classified in subheading 4202.12.2010, HTSUS, the provision for attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, and similar containers, with outer surface of plastics, structured, rigid on all sides, dutiable at the column one rate of 20 per cent ad valorem.


The case is classified in subheading 4202.12.2010, HTSUS, the provision for attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, and similar containers, with outer surface of plastics, structured, rigid on all sides, dutiable at the column one rate of 20 per cent ad valorem.

NY A85134 is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division