CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 960196 MMC

Mr. D.F. Miller and Ms. Maureen Shoule
J.W. Hampton, Jr. & Co., Inc.
15 Park Row
New York, New York 10038

RE: NYRLs 847709, 886391 revoked; Stationery Kit in a loose leaf pencil pouch, pencil box; EN 39.26

Dear Mr. Miller and Ms. Shoule:

In January of 1992, New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 847709 which classified a pencil box under heading 3923 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) was issued to you. Additionally, on June 9, 1993, NYRL 886391 was issued to you classifying a stationery set in a plastic loose leaf pencil pouch under heading 3923, HTS. In NYRL 886391 you were advised that the pencil pouch provided the essential character of the stationery kit. While we continue to believe this is the case, upon further examination, we are now of the opinion that the pencil pouches as well as the pencil box of NYRL 847709 are properly classified under heading 3926, HTS, which provides for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914."

Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), 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) (hereinafter section 625), notice of a proposed revocation of NYRLs 947709 and 996391 was published on April 2, 1997, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 31, Number 14. No comments were received in response to the notice.


The article of NYRL 847709 is described as a moulded plastic pencil box. The article of NYRL 886391 was described as a stationery kit. It consisted of a plastic pouch containing two cased pencils, an eraser, a ruler, protractor and a pencil sharpener. The pouch measures 9¬" by 6" and is made of plastic sheeting sealed at the edges. One of the two long edges has 5 holes in it so that the pouch may be carried in a binder. The other long edge contains a zip-lock like closure. ISSUE:

Whether the pencil boxes and pouches are classifiable as containers or as personal articles.


Classification under the HTS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, 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 GRIs may then be applied. For the purposes of this rule, the relative section, chapter and subchapter notes also apply, unless the context otherwise requires. 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 under the HTS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

The headings under consideration are:

3923 Articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics.

3926 Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914.

In HRLs 953177 dated April 7, 1993, 954072 dated September 2, 1993, 954816 dated December 7, 1993, 957894 and 957895 both dated December 14, 1995, 955660 dated September 27, 1994, 955047 dated October 6, 1994, and 958174 dated January 31, 1996, Customs indicated that subheading 3923.10, HTS, provides for cases and containers of bulk goods and commercial goods, not personal articles. As the pencil pouches and boxes transport pens, pencils, erasers, etc. for personal use, they are not described by heading 3923 HTS.

The ENs to 3926 indicate that:

This heading covers articles, not elsewhere specified or included, of plastics (as defined in Note 1 to the Chapter) or of other materials of headings 39.01 to 39.14. They include:

* * * (4) Dust-sheets, protective bags, awnings, file-covers, document-jackets, book covers and reading jackets, and similar protective goods made by sewing or glueing together sheets of plastics.

(5) Paperweights, paper-knives, blotting-pads, pen-rests, book-marks, etc.

* * *

(10) Tool boxes or cases, not specially shaped or internally fitted to contain particular tools with or without their accessories (see the Explanatory Note to heading 42.02).

(11) Various other articles such as fasteners for handbags, corners for suit-cases, suspension hooks, protective cups and glides for placing under furniture, handles (of tools, knives, forks, etc.), beads, watch "glasses", figures and letters, luggage label-holders.

The pencil pouches and boxes, which are most likely school supplies, are described by heading 3926, HTS, because they have substantial similarities to the articles listed in EN 39.26 and therefore belong to the same class or kind of articles. The pencil pouches and boxes are classifiable under heading 3926, HTS, specifically, subheading 3926.10, HTS, which provides for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Office or school supplies."


The pencil pouches and boxes are classifiable under subheading 3926.10, HTS, which provides for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Office or school supplies" and has a column one duty rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem.

NYRLs 847709 and 886391 are hereby revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625, 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 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Division