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HQ 084709

August 24, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G: 084709 CB


TARIFF NO.: 9603.10.7000

Leslie A. Glick, Esq.
Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur
1233 20th Street, N.W.
Washington, D. C. 20036-2395

RE: Classification of mixed vegetable fiber brooms

Dear Mr. Glick:

This ruling letter is in response to your inquiry of May 3, 1989, requesting a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for mixed vegetable fiber brooms.


The merchandise at issue are brooms that are combinations of natural grasses (rattan) and broom corn. The vegetable fibers are fixed with textile threads forming a decorative motif and strongly secured to the end of a wooden handle with the aid of wire. The non-broom corn (rattan) is in greater weight than the broom corn. The rattan is one-third the value of the broom corn.


Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable as an article consisting of rattan fibers or of corn fibers under Chapter 96, HTSUSA.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 states, in part, that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes and, provided such headings or Notes do not otherwise require, according to the following [GRI's]...." GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials "...which cannot be classified by
reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character...."

With regard to the subject merchandise, the non-broom corn (rattan) and the broom corn qualify as composite goods. They are two components attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole. Since the non-broom corn and broom corn fall under separate subheadings in the HTSUSA, GRI 3(b) requires that a determination of which component imparts the essential character to the goods must be made, if possible.

According to the Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b), the essential character may be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the roles of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level.

The merchandise at issue consists of rattan vegetable fibers and broom corn fibers. The rattan is in greater weight than broom corn which comprises no more than a maximum of 43.7 percent and as little as 28.5 percent of the total weight depending on the model. The rattan is one-third the value of broom corn. Although the broom corn is stronger and lasts 10 percent longer than the rattan vegetable fibers, such an insignificant difference in durability would not be a factor to be taken into consideration for GRI 3(b) purposes. Both constituent materials serve the same role in relation to the use of the goods. Therefore, we have bulk and weight versus value.

Heading 9603.10, HTSUSA, provides for brooms and brushes, consisting of twigs or other vegetable materials bound together, with or without handles. It is Customs opinion that in applying GRI 3(b) to the subject merchandise, the proper classification is in subheading 9603.10.7000 because the weight and bulk of the broom is imparted by the rattan vegetable fiber.


The vegetable fiber broom is classified under subheading 9603.10.7000, which provides for brooms and brushes, consisting of twigs or other vegetable materials bound together, with or without handles, other. Articles classified under subheading 9603.10.7000, when imported from designated beneficiary countries, may be entitled to duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences, provided all applicable requirements are met. Otherwise, the General rate of duty is 10 percent ad valorem.

Your samples will be returned to you under separate cover.


John Durant, Director

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