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HQ 086827

July 17, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086827 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 6913.10.50

Chief, Customs Information Exchange
6 World Trade Center
Room 450
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Artistic photo plates made of porcelain. Heading 6911; Explanatory Note 69.12(A); HQ 084122; Explanatory Note 69.13; Explanatory Note 69.13(C).

Dear Sir:

Customs form 6431 executed at the Port of Seattle, Washington on February 16, 1990, concerns the tariff class- ification of entry number N1601069753/01 which pertains to porcelain ware manufactured in Japan by Giho Shoji Co., Ltd.


The articles in question are three pieces of porcelain ware which are rectangular in shape with semi-scalloped gold trimmed edges. They measure approximately 4 x 5 inches, 5 x 7 inches and 8 x 10 inches, and have the appearance of picture frames. In addition, they possess raised decorative borders which measure 3/4 inch, 3/4 inch and 1 inch respectively. The articles are referred to as "artistic photo plates". The center of each photo plate is used to permanently house a photograph. The plates can be displayed either on a stand or as a wall hanging after a hanger is attached to the back of the plate.


The question presented is whether the articles at issue are classifiable within subheading 6913.10.50, HTSUSA, which provides for ornamental articles of porcelain; or classifiable within subheading 6911.10.50, HTSUSA, which provides for tableware and kitchenware of porcelain.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 6911, HTSUSA, provides for "[t]ableware, kitch- enware, other household articles and toilet articles, of porcelain or china." Tableware is described as "tea or coffee services, plates, soup tureens, salad bowls, dishes and trays of all kinds, coffee-pots, teapots, sugar bowls, beer mugs, cups, sauce-boats, fruit bowls, cruets, salt cellars, mustard pots, egg-cups, teapot stands, table mats, knife rests, spoons and serviette rings." Explanatory Note (EN) 69.12(A) (which is incorporated by reference in EN 69.11).

It is claimed that the articles in question are suitable for use as tableware. In addition, it is claimed that articles of this type are commonly sold in oriental food and gift stores for use as trays. While these uses are possible, after examining the samples, we believe that the photo plates at issue belong to that class of ornamental and decorative article of heading 6913 which is specifically excluded from classification within heading 6911. ENs 69.12(c).

In HQ 084122 (January 9, 1990), Customs dealt with the classification of sculptured porcelain molds. This case involved the interpretation of the same two headings which are at issue in the present case. In this ruling we stated that heading 6911 is a use provision. U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a) states:
a tariff classification controlled by use (other than actual use) is to be determined in accordance with the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation, of goods of that class or kind to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use.

Thus, in order for an article to be classifiable within heading 6911 it must be principally used as tableware or kitchenware. The articles in question are principally used for ornamenting or decorating and not as tableware. Therefore, they are excluded from classification as tableware within heading 6911.

Heading 6913, HTSUSA, provides for statuettes and other ornamental ceramic articles. This heading covers a wide range of ceramic articles of the type designed essentially for the
interior decoration of homes, offices, assembly rooms, churches, etc. EN 69.13. More specifically, this heading covers articles used for ornamenting or decorating the household. EN 69.13(C). Picture frames are listed as an example of one of these types of articles. EN 69.13(C). While the articles in question are not traditional picture frames, they are referred to as "artistic photo plates" and designed essentially to hold photographs. This type of article is certainly designed for the interior decoration of the home or office, and not as tableware. Therefore, the photo plates in question are described by the terms of this heading and classifiable therein according to GRI 1.

Subheading 6913.10, HTSUSA, provides for ornamental articles of porcelain. The articles in question are made of porcelain and designed essentially for decoration within the places required by the ENs. More specifically, the photo plates are described by the terms of subheading 6913.10.50, HTSUSA, as other ornamental articles of porcelain.


The articles in question are classifiable within subheading 6913.10.50, HTSUSA, which provides for ornamental articles of porcelain dutiable at the rate of 9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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