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HQ 085518

November 24, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G: 085518 DPS


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.2500

Ms. Debbie Zimmerman
Midwest Importers of Cannon Falls, Inc.
P.O. Box 20
Highway 52 South
Cannon Falls, MN 55009-0020

RE: Treetop Santa Figure

Dear Ms. Zimmerman:

Your letter of July 26, 1989, to our New York office has been referred to this office for reply concerning the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of item No. 0065-4, which is described as "Santa with Toy Filled Bag, Tree Top," in your 1989 Christmas catalog, part 1, at p. 114. A sample of the article was submitted with your request.


The subject merchandise, which is manufactured in Taiwan, is described as a treetop Santa Claus figure with a toy filled bag slung over its shoulder. The figure's head and hands are made of porcelain. The face has detailed features and is ornamented with a long white beard and white hair made of textile string. The body of the subject figure is made of a funnel shaped piece of plastic, which is covered with a thin layer of soft foam. In the left hand of the figure is a long wooden scepter. The figure is clothed in a long green one piece outfit belted with gold colored twine. Over this is a long red coat trimmed with white simulated fur. On his head is a traditional Santa Claus hat with a small bell at the tip. Carried over the right shoulder is a sack decorated with gold twine and small hanging wooden animals. The item is designed to be placed over the top of a tree, with the treetop branches fitting into the open plastic cone, which makes up the figure's body.


Whether the subject article, described as a treetop Santa is considered to be a Christmas ornament, classifiable under subheading 9505.10.2500, HTSUSA, the provision for Christmas ornaments, not of wood or glass.


The General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System (GRI's) govern classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. According to GRI 1, the primary consideration in determining whether merchandise should be classified in a heading should be given to the language of the heading and any relevant chapter or section notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order. The subheading at issue in this case is:

9505.10.2500, Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof: Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Christmas ornaments: Other: Other.

The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, provide further guidance in determining the scope of each provision. With regard to Heading 9505, HTSUSA, the provision for festive articles, Explanatory Note 95.05, at p. 1590, states that the 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., for Christmas trees (e.g., tinsel, stars, icicles), artificial snow, coloured balls, bells, lanterns, etc. Cake and other decorations (e.g. animals, flags) which are traditionally associated with a particular festival are also classified here.

(2) Articles traditionally used at Christmas festivities, e.g., artificial Christmas trees (these are sometimes of the folding type), nativity scenes, Christmas crackers, Christmas stockings, imitation yule logs.

For the most part, the items described above which fall under Heading 9505, HTSUSA, tend to have no function other than decoration.

It is Customs' position that an article, which by its shape, design and ornamentation is appropriately used in connection with a recognized festive holiday, is an article that falls under Heading 9505, HTSUSA. To qualify as a Christmas ornament, Customs requires that the following three criteria be met: (1) that the item is marketed and sold as a Christmas tree ornament; (2) that there is some method, generally a loop attached to the top, to secure or hang the item on a tree; and (3) that the item is not too big or too heavy to be hung or attached to a tree. The submitted sample clearly meets the above criteria. It is designed, marketed, sold and used as a tree ornament. The subject article represents a character who is traditionally associated with Christmas and Christmas trees. It falls into a class of merchandise which, for tariff purposes, is separate and distinct from dolls. Therefore, pursuant to GRI 1, the subject treetop Santa is classifiable under subheading 9505.10.2500, the provision for Christmas ornaments, made of materials other than glass or wood.


In accordance with the rationale set forth above, the subject merchandise, described as a "Santa with Toy Filled Bag, Treetop," is classifiable under subheading 9505.10.2500, HTSUSA, the provision for Christmas ornaments of materials other than glass or wood.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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