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HQ 084851

January 10, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084851 JBW


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.4000

Ned H. Marshak, Esq.
Brenda Jacobs, Esq.
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. Sixty-seven Broad Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Tariff Classification of Bedtime Doll Set

Dear Mr. Marshak and Ms. Jacobs:

This letter is in response to your letter of June 12, 1989, on behalf of K Mart Corporation, in which you requested a binding ruling on classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Your views were further presented in our meeting on September 15, 1989, and a later submission, dated November 13, 1989.


The items submitted for classification consist of the following: a hollow plastic doll, 22 centimeters in length, with wetting, crying, and drinking functions; garments to fit the doll, including a bib with a decal on the front; a plastic tub, with approximate dimensions of 7 by 19.5 by 23 centimeters; a 7.5 centimeter empty, plastic container to simulate a baby powder container; a plastic hollow duck; a swan shaped foam sponge; and a 12 by 25 centimeter cloth of terry construction. The items will be manufactured in the Peoples Republic of China and imported packaged for retail sale.


What is the classification of the merchandise under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's.

The goods under examination, if imported separately, are classifiable under different headings in the tariff. The doll and garments are classifiable under Heading 9502, HTSUSA, as dolls representing only human beings. The toy duck, bottle, and baby powder container are classifiable under Heading 9503, HTSUSA, as other toys. The plastic tub is classifiable under Heading 3922, HTSUSA, as a plastic washbasin. The terry towel is not "made up" for the purposes of Section XI and is consequently classifiable under Heading 5802, HTSUSA, as a terry towel. Finally, the sponge is classifiable under Heading 4016, HTSUSA, as an article of cellular rubber.

In your letters and during our meeting, you advocated classification of the collection of items under subheading 9503.70.80, HTSUSA, as other toys, put up in sets. This subheading, however, is not appropriate. The terms limit items classifiable under this subheading to "other toys." The Explanatory Notes, which provide the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, define other toys to be "[a]ll toys not included in heading 95.01 [wheeled toys] and 95.02 [dolls representing only human beings]." By definition, the doll is not an "other toy," and its presence removes this collection of items from subheading 9503.70.80, HTSUSA.

The individual items in the sample will be imported in a single retail package and are separately classifiable under different headings of the Nomenclature. GRI 3 applies when goods are classifiable under two or more headings; GRI 3(b) governs goods put up in sets for retail sale.

The first issue to be considered under GRI 3(b) is whether the items are put up in a set for retail sale. The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) define "goods put up in sets for retail sale." Such goods: (a) consist of at least two different articles that are classifiable in different headings, (b) consist of products put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and (c), are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

The collection of items under consideration constitutes a set under these criteria. The individual items are classifiable under two or more headings and will be imported in a manner suitable for retail sale directly to users without repackaging. The particular purpose or specific activity of these items is to permit a child to simulate a baby's bed time routine.

GRI 3(b) requires classification of these items as if they consisted of the component that gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes state that the factors determining essential character may vary as between different kinds of goods. The Notes suggest that essential character may be determined by the nature of a component or material, its bulk, quantity, weight, or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the present case, the doll imparts the essential character to the set. Examination of the sample reveals that the principal play activities of the set are giving the baby a bath and feeding the baby a bottle . Thus, the doll plays the central role in relation to use of the other items of the set. The washbasin, the bottle, and the other items all play secondary roles to the role of the doll. No breakdown of the set by value or weight was submitted, and consequently, these factors have not been considered in this ruling.

You state in your submission of November 13, 1989:

A child is unlikely to choose this toy on the basis of the doll. In this case, the doll is at most an accessory to the bathing theme of the set. It is but one component to be used in conjunction with the other items in the set.

Yet, the predominant role of the doll is evidenced by the packaging of the set. The trademark of the set is "Teary Tot." Each of the functions suggested by the packaging relates to the doll: Teary Tot "cries tears!"; Teary Tot comes "In Her own Tub Complete with Towel and Accessories"; "Lie her down and feed her with bottle"; "Hold her up and tears roll down her cheeks. Tilt forward for additional tears." In fact, the packaging places the same emphasis on feeding as on bathing. In sum, we determine that the single component of the set that will be required in the coordinated use of the set is the doll.

You dispute our classification by essential character of a set consisting of a doll and other toys where a provision in the Nomenclature explicitly provides for "other toys, put up in sets." When the collection of items consists only of "other toys" or items clearly indicating their use as toys, classification under subheading 9503.70.80, HTSUSA, is appropriate even when a component appears to provide the essential character. However, the logical application of the GRI's require essential character analysis when an object that is explicitly not an "other toy" is included in the set. This analysis does not always preclude classification as an "other toy." If, for example, a doll house set includes an elaborate doll house with an inexpensive doll, classification under Heading 9503 is appropriate if the doll house imparts the essential character. If essential character cannot be determined under GRI 3(b), then, pursuant to GRI 3(c), classification must be made by the heading that occurs last in numerical order.


The articles submitted for examination form a set. The doll imparts the essential character of the set. The merchandise is therefore classified under subheading 9502.10.40, HTSUSA, as a doll, not stuffed, and not over 33 centimeters in height. Textile articles entered as components of sets require separate visas and separate statistical reporting for quota purposes, pursuant to the directive of December 23, 1988, from the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements. The textile category for the cotton, terry towel, from Heading 5802, HTSUSA, is 224.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiation and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the United States Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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