United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0086826 - HQ 0086891 > HQ 0086866

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 086866

August 3, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086866 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 4911.91.4040

Joel K. Simon, Esq.
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Halloween Patches

Dear Mr. Simon:

This is in response to your inquiry, dated April 4, 1990, on behalf of your client, Russ Berrie & Company, concerning the tariff classification of Halloween patches under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample of the merchandise was submitted along with your request.


The sample merchandise, designated as Item No. 10479, is described as "Spooky Stick-on Halloween Patches." The merchandise consists of circular, non-woven textile patches with a self-adhesive backing which measure approximately two inches in diameter. The patches will be manufactured in Taiwan.

Counsel for the importer maintains that the sample merchandise is essentially a decorative article to be used during the Halloween season. Counsel has stated that the Halloween stick-on patches are generally purchased by children who use them to decorate various things such as a book bag, a wall, a door, a bulletin board, a "trick-or-treat" bag, and as decorations used for Halloween festivities. Accordingly, counsel argues that the sample patches are properly classifiable under subheading 9505.90.60, HTSUSA, based on their design and use during a particular season.


Whether the sample merchandise is classifiable in Heading 9505, HTSUSA, as a "festive article."


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. The subheadings at issue in this case are the following:

(a) 9505.90.60, Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other.

(b) 5807.90.20, Labels, badges and similar articles of textile materials, in the piece, in strips or cut to shape or size, not embroidered: Other: Other.

(c) 4911.91.40, Other printed matter, including printed pictures and photographs: Other: Other: Other.

The inquiry in this case centers on the determination of which of the provisions enumerated above describes the sample Halloween stick-on patches.

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 (A) to Heading 9505, HTSUSA, at page 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.

Articles classifiable in Heading 9505, HTSUSA, generally tend to have no other function than decoration.

Although an article may have the design or ornamentation appropriate for use during a specific holiday, it may still not qualify for classification in the festive article provision. In the instant case, the stick-on patches are decorative articles which by their design and colors are intended to be used during the Halloween season. It is clear, however, that the class or kind of goods to which these patches belong is not traditionally associated with Halloween. Patches, as a class of merchandise, are used all year long, and may have a wide variety of motifs, many of which would not be considered festive. Consequently, the instant merchandise does not meet the definition of a "festive article" under Heading 9505, HTSUSA.

Heading 5807, HTSUSA, provides for labels, badges and similar articles of textile materials, in the piece, in strips or cut to shape or size, not embroidered. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 5807, HTSUSA, state that:

This category includes badges, emblems, "flashes", etc. of a kind normally sewn to the outer part of wearing apparel (sporting, military, local or national badges, etc., badges bearing the names of youth associations, sailors' cap badges with the name of a ship, etc.).

Inasmuch as the sample patches are not labels and are normally not sewn to the outer part of wearing apparel, the articles do not meet the requirements for classification in Heading 5807, HTSUSA.

Comparison of all the competing headings demonstrates that Heading 4911, HTSUSA, accurately describes the subject merchandise. Neither Heading 9505, HTSUSA, nor Heading 5807, HTSUSA, is applicable in this case. Accordingly, it is Customs view that an article such as the sample merchandise which is primarily used as a stick-on patch during the Halloween season, is not a "festive article" under Heading 9505, HTSUSA, and is properly classifiable in the provision for other printed matter in Heading 4911, HTSUSA.


In view of the foregoing analysis, the Halloween stick-on patches, designated as Item No. 10479, are properly classifiable under subheading 4911.91.4040, HTSUSA, which provides for other printed matter, including printed pictures and photographs: Other: Other: Other: Other. Articles classified under this subheading are subject to a rate of duty of 3.1 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: