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HQ 085409

December 28, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085409 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 9503.41.1000

M. Barry Levy, Esq.
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. 67 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: Classification of "Bear Bellies"

Dear Mr. Levy:

This ruling is in response to your letter dated August 31, 1989, requesting the tariff classification of "Bear Bellies," under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were submitted with your request.


The subject merchandise, known as a "Bear Belly," consists of two components. One component is a toy bear that measures approximately 8-3/4 inches in height, 9-1/4 inches in width at its widest point, and 5-1/4 inches in depth at its deepest point. The front legs of the bear extend sideways from the torso to give the appearance of arms and its rear legs protrude forward in such a manner as to enable the bear to sit up when placed on a flat surface. The bear's stomach area contains a cylindrical hole which holds the other component of the Bear Belly. The hole has a diameter of approximately 2-1/4 inches. The bear is completely covered with a plush furry fabric except for its facial features and has a ribbon tied in a bow around its neck. The bear is stuffed with filler materials.

The other component of the Bear Belly is a small toy which fits snugly in the hole situated in the stomach area of the toy bear. There are four different types of toys that can be fit into the stomach area: one toy emits a sound when it is squeezed, another one rattles when it is shaken, a third has a plastic mirror, and the fourth has a plastic figure of a bear that spins around inside a sealed plastic spherical container. Each tummy toy is at least partially covered with a plush furry fabric that complements the covering of its corresponding toy bear. The tummy toys may be removed and reinserted into the bears' stomachs, but they cannot be completely separated from their respective bears since they are attached to each bear by a ribbon.


What is the proper classification of the sample merchandise under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the manner 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, taken in order.

When goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings GRI 3 is applicable. In this case classification is determined by application of GRI 3(b) which provides for the classification of composite goods. GRI 3(b) states that:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, 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, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. Explanatory Note (IX) to GRI 3(b) states the following:

For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

In the instant case, the Bear Bellies qualify as a composite good made up of different components within the meaning of GRI 3(b). The small toy component is designed to fit snugly inside the cylindrical hole in the bear's stomach area. A ribbon is attached to both the Bear Belly and the toy stomach component so that the two items form a practically inseparable whole. Furthermore, the two components are physically adapted to one another, are mutually complementary in appearance, design, and function, and form a whole which, by virtue of the way in which the components are adapted to each other, would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. Accordingly, since the subject merchandise is a composite good, it is properly classifiable under the component which imparts the essential character of the item.

According to Explanatory Note (VIII) to GRI 3(b), the essential character of an item is determined by the following criterion:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the instant case, the toy bear is clearly the component which imparts the essential character of the composite good. The toy bear constitutes the greater portion of the bulk of the entire article than the tummy toy component. In addition, the toy bear weighs approximately five ounces, whereas the tummy toys weigh between 1/2 and 1-1/2 ounces. Thus, the toy bear constitutes the majority of the weight of the article. Likewise, the toy bear constitutes the majority of the value of the entire article. Overall, consumers who want to buy an inexpensive toy such as a rattle or a squeeze toy are not going to want to spend the money to buy a Bear Belly; however, consumers who want to buy a toy bear may well consider the purchase of a Bear Belly.

Furthermore, Customs does not consider the removable toy component as a bar to classification of the product as a "stuffed" animal for tariff purposes. The mere presence of a hole in the stomach of the stuffed toy does not detract from the commercial reality of the figure as a "stuffed" toy. Accordingly, it is our position that the subject article is properly classifiable under subheading 9503.41.1000, HTSUSA, which provides for toys representing animals or non-human creatures (for example, robots and monsters) and parts and accessories thereof: stuffed toys.


The sample "Bear Bellies" are properly classifiable under subheading 9503.41.1000, HTSUSA. Moreover, the subject merchandise is subject to duty free treatment under subheading 9902.95.02, HTSUSA, which provides for stuffed or filled toy figures of animate objects (except dolls), not having a spring mechanism and not exceeding 63.5 cm in either length, width, or height (provided for in subheading 9503.41.1000, HTSUSA).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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