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HQ 083032

July 13, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083032 SS


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.50

Ms. Wendy C. White
John A. Steer Co.
28 South Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: Animated Display Figure

Dear Ms. White:

In a letter dated September 13, 1988, addressed to our New York office, on behalf of Rennoc Corporation, you requested a classification ruling for an animated Christmas doll-like figure imported from Taiwan, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The figure in issue represents a young girl, approximately 17 inches tall, standing on a 1/2 inch display base. She has articulated arms, eyes that open and close, a molded nose, a painted-on mouth and painted-on eye makeup. The entire figure is composed of plastic and has a hollow moulded plastic torso. She holds in her right hand a seven inch long candle, decorated with a ribbon, with an electric light bulb at the tip.

The figure is dressed in white furry hat and neckband, an overdress simulating velvet with a lace ruffle, a floor length undershirt, and a thin belt with furry white pom pons at the ends.

The figure incorporates within the torso an electric motor that is attached to an electrical cord running from the figure's leg. The cord has an on/off switch that activates the movements. When the switch is turned to the on position, the head and arm holding the candle move back and forth and the candle lights up.


Whether the animated display figure resembling a doll is properly classifiable under HTSUS heading 9618 as animated displays, or 9502 as dolls, or 9505 as festive, carnival or other entertainment articles.


Under the HTSUS, tariff classification is determined according to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). Under GRI 1, the primary consideration in the classification of goods is the terms of the heading itself which must be read in conjunction with the relative notes.

In the instant case, the item under consideration is an animated and illuminated human figure representation. Heading 9618 provides for tailors' dummies and other mannequins; automata and other animated displays used for shop window dressing. The Explanatory Notes for heading 96.18 provide in pertinent part:

(3) Animated and other displays used for shop window dressing.

These range from animated representations of humans or animals to numerous other automatically operating appliances of a kind used for displaying merchandise or for publicity purposes. They may be made of any material and are generally electrically or mechanically operated. Though frequently objects of curiosity in themselves, these articles are mainly intended to serve as novel methods of attracting attention to displays of goods or to particular articles exhibited in shop windows.***

Although the article under consideration might sometimes be used for shop window dressing, the type of merchandising indicates that this and other similar articles are sold at retail to individual consumers for use as holiday and festive decorations. Also, based on the information available, such articles are not designed for the long hours of operation as required for shop displays. In fact, many of the packaging boxes clearly state that the use of these figures should be limited to three to five hours at a time.

Heading 9618 is a use provision. The additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation provide in pertinent part that "when classification is controlled by use (other than actual use) the principal use controls." Since the principal use for these articles is consumer use and not shop window dressing, these items are not classifiable under this heading.

Heading 9502, provides for dolls representing only human beings. The Explanatory Notes to 9502 state in pertinent part:

The heading includes not only dolls designed for the amusement of children, but also dolls intended for decorative purposes (e.g., boudoir dolls, mascot dolls), or for use in Punch and Judy or marionette shows, or those of a caricature type.

Therefore, this heading is potentially applicable, because it embraces human figures that are decorative.

Heading 9505, HTSUS, provides for Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof. The Explanatory Notes to this heading state in pertinent part:

This heading covers:

(A) Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, which in view of their intended use are generally made of non-durable material. They include:

(1) Decorations such as festoons, garlands, Chinese lanterns, etc., as well as various decorative articles made of paper, metal foil, glass fibre etc., . . . . Cake and other decorations (e.g., animals, flags) which are traditionally associated with a particular festival are also classified here.

This heading is also potentially applicable, because the article is designed and marketed for use during the Christmas holiday season.

When goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more Headings, GRI 3(a) directs classification to be determined according to the heading which provides the most specific description. Applying this rule to the matter under consideration here, Heading 9505 would prevail. It is well
settled in Customs classification law that a description that depends on use in harder to satisfy than one that merely names an article. Therefore, the one that is harder to satisfy is the more specific. Here, Heading 9505 prevails because the article is apparently principally used in the home for festive decoration during the Christmas holiday season. Application of GRI 3(a) results in classifying the subject article under Heading 9505, HTSUS, which provides for festive, carnival or other entertainment articles.


The animated display figure under consideration associated with the Christmas festive occasion, is properly classifiable under subheading 9505.10.50, dutiable at a rate of 5.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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