CLA-2-49:OT:RR: NC:4:434

Jaka Zaletelj
Practice Tape d.o.o.
Sokolska ulica 46
Maribor 2000

RE:      The tariff classification of a music guide from Slovenia  

Dear Mr. Zaletelj:

In your letter, dated March 20, 2023, you requested a tariff classification ruling.  A detailed description and photos of the item were submitted for our review.

The “Chord Files” is a learning tool for music students and songwriters to “extend their knowledge of musical harmony” by finding new, more advanced chords and scales.  The front packaging describes the item as “A faster and smarter way to unique chord progressions.”  It consists of a plastic-coated paper sheet inserted into a sleeve of the same material.  The sleeve is tape-bound on three sides, open at the top.  The user can slide the insert up and down to display information through multiple small windows on the front and back.  On the front are the names of chords; on the opposite side, in the same order, are corresponding scale tones.  When the inner card is adjusted up or down it changes the tonality and chords that appear on the front. It measures approximately 22cm by 19.5cm by 0.5cm.  The item comes with a folded, single sheet instruction page.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System.  While not legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings.  The General EN to Chapter 49, HTSUS, provides in pertinent part: “… this Chapter covers all printed matter of which the essential nature and use is determined by the fact of its being printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations...”  The essential nature and use of the “Chord Files” is determined by its being printed.  Therefore, it is an article of Chapter 49, HTSUS.  Where specifically within chapter 49 is the issue.

You propose classification in subheading 4901.99.0050, HTSUS, as “Technical, scientific and professional books.” But, the ENs to heading 4901 specifically exclude “Music books (heading 4904).”  Furthermore, the “Chord Files” is not a book.  Headquarters ruling HQ 089135, dated 1/8/92, defines “book,” by referring to common sources, as follows:  “…we find that a "book"… is composed of numerous sheets or leaves, fastened or bound together "so as to be opened at any particular place." We find that the use of the term "book" implies that a binding or fastening must be present.”

The “Chord Files” does not meet this definition.  As the product under consideration is not a “book” but is other printed matter of chapter 49, we look to later headings.  Heading 4904 provides for “Music, printed or in manuscript, whether or not bound or illustrated.”  The ENs further explain that heading 4904 “covers music of all kinds, instrumental or vocal, printed or in manuscript, whether or not bound or illustrated, and whatever the system of notation (e.g., tonic sol-fa, staff notation, numerical symbols, Braille music).  The music in this heading may be printed or written on paper or other material and may be in the form of separate sheets (including paperboards), bound books, etc., whether or not illustrated or with accompanying words.”

The applicable subheading for the “Chord Files” will 4904.00.0040, HTSUS, which provides for “Music, printed or in manuscript, whether or not bound or illustrated:  Other.”  The rate of duty will be Free.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change.  The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported.  If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Charlene Miller at [email protected].


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division