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HQ 087160

August 22, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087160 STB


TARIFF NOs.: 9505.10.40, 9505.90.60, 3926.40.00

Mr. Christopher L. Thayer
Hallmark Cards, Inc.
2501 McGee - Mail Drop #376
P.O. Box 419580
Kansas City, Missouri 64141-6580

RE: Figurines

Dear Mr. Thayer:

This is in response to four inquiries from you, all of which are dated either April 17, 1990 or April 19, 1990, concerning the classification of a total of nine different figurines that will be manufactured in Thailand, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. You submitted samples of each figurine with your request.


Eight of the subject figures are included in the "Merry Miniature" series. These eight figures are all constructed of high impact styrene. The item described as stock number 350 QFM 1616 is a small scarecrow figure and is approximately two inches in height. The clothes of the figure are colored purple and the hat is yellow; the face has black eyes and an orange nose. You state that the figure will be sold "at the retail level during the Halloween season as part of a Shadow Box Promotion." The item identified as stock number 250 QFM 1646 is a snowman figure. It is approximately 1-1/4 inches in height and is mostly white with a red and green hat. It has black shoes and is holding a sign that has the words "Let it snow" printed on one side. The item identified as stock number 350 QFM 1663 is a Santa Claus figure and is approximately 1-1/2 inches in height. The figure is predominately red and white in color and appears to be holding a drinking glass and a cookie with a bite taken out of it. Item 300 QFM 1787 is a figure of a puppy in a just opened gift box and is approximately 1-1/4 inches in height. The box is green with red ribbon; there is a sign on the box which reads "open me first" and "1991." Item 250 QFM 1759 is a figure of a small white lamb, approximately 1-1/2 inches tall. The figure has a lavender ribbon around its neck and the word "peace" written in
blue at the base.

Also included in the Merry Miniature series are three samples which are all similar in that they are referred to as "cookie" miniatures and have the appearance of small cookies. Item 300 QFM 1767 is described as the "Cookie Santa Merry Miniature" and is a small Santa figure that is approximately 1-1/2 inches in height. It is red and white on the front and brown on the sides and back. The base of the figure is imprinted with "1991" and a red and green holly sprig. Item 300 QFM 1769 is described as a "Cookie Elf Merry Miniature" and is approximately 1-1/4 inches in height. The figure is predominately brown but is wearing a green shirt with red buttons and is shown to have a white beard. The base is imprinted with "1991" and a very small green Christmas tree. Item 300 QFM 1777 is described as a "Cookie Reindeer Merry Miniature" and is approximately 1-1/2 inches in height. The figure is predominately brown, with a small red and green holly branch attached to the neck. The base is imprinted with the date "1991" and a small gold star.

The figure that does not appear to be a part of the "Merry Miniature" series is described as stock number 1400 QC 9646, "German Girl Figurine." This item is approximately 3-1/4 inches tall and is constructed of fiber reinforced plastic. The figurine's dress is several different colors but is predominately white (the apron) and green (the skirt). There is some red in the blouse. The arms are outstretched and she is holding a sign that reads "Frohliche Weihnachten" which is the German translation for "Merry Christmas."


What is the proper classification for these figures?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (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 headings at issue in this case are:

(a) 9505, HTSUSA, Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof:...

(b) 3926, HTSUSA, Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914:...

The Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, provide guidance as to what types of items are to be classified in Heading 9505, HTSUSA. 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 Heading 9505, HTSUSA, generally covers articles which by their shape, design, and ornamental characteristics fall into that class of goods which are appropriately used in connection with a recognized festive holiday.

It is our determination that six of the nine figures are properly classifiable in Heading 9505, HTSUSA. The two Santa Claus figures are self explanatory; Santa Claus is immediately associated with Christmas. The reindeer "cookie" figure qualifies for classification in Heading 9505, HTSUSA, because reindeer are also traditionally associated with Christmas.

Moreover, this reindeer is ornamented with a carving of holly, a traditional Christmas decoration. The holly is painted red and green. The yellow star and "1991" imprinted on the base are further indications of the Christmas theme. The elf "cookie" figure also represents a creature that is traditionally associated with Christmas; the green Christmas tree that is painted on the base erases any doubt as to the intended theme of this figure. The substantial use of traditional Christmas colors and the imprint of "1991" further strengthen the overall Christmas theme of the item.

These items are marketed, sold and most likely used as Christmas display figures. They have no extremities or parts which can be manipulated; they are not intended to be manipulated or played with. There is no intention that they be used on a year round basis. The figures are extremely small and lightweight and the Christmas theme is so strong that they have little actual use or value except to decorate the home during the Christmas season.

The scarecrow figure represents a creature that is traditionally associated with Halloween. This association between scarecrows and Halloween has been established in Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRLs) 085320, 085321 and 085322. The figure is small, and has no use other than to serve as a decoration during Halloween season.

The "German Girl Figurine" establishes its Christmas theme with the sign displaying the German translation for "Merry Christmas." The presence of these words renders it very unlikely that the item will be used for any reason other than decoration during the Christmas season. Additionally, the item is painted with traditional Christmas colors. This item, although larger than the other subject figures, does not possess the separate garments or extremities capable of manipulation that one could associate with dolls.

These six items also qualify for classification in Heading 3926, HTSUSA. When goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, we must refer to GRI 3. GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of rule 2 (b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description.

In this case, the competing headings are 9505 and 3926. Heading 9505, which covers "[f]estive, carnival or other entertainment articles..." is a more specific provision than the basket provision of Heading 3926, HTSUSA, which covers "Other articles of plastics...."

Finally, for the five Christmas - related figures, classification at the eight digit subheading level must be determined. Subheading 9505.10 provides for articles for Christmas festivities. Those articles are further subdivided at the eight digit level into Christmas ornaments, nativity scenes, and other. These items are not properly classified under nativity scenes because the figures do not represent the characters of such a scene. These figures are also not properly classifiable as Christmas ornaments because Customs has determined that, for tariff purposes, to qualify as a Christmas ornament the item must be marketed and sold as a Christmas tree ornament, that there must be some method, generally a loop attached to the top to secure or hang the item on a tree, and that the item not be too big or too heavy to be hung or attached to a tree. Accordingly, the four 9505 items fall into the "other" provision.

It is our determination that the remaining three figures under discussion are not clearly festive and thus are not properly classifiable in Heading 9505. The snowman represents a winter theme but not necessarily a Christmas or other festive theme. Spare use is made of traditional Christmas colors (only the hat is red and green) and there are no other features on the figure to connect it with a Christmas theme. The "peace lamb" uses no real Christmas colors. The word "peace" and the figure of a lamb do not necessarily connote a Christmas theme; although it is acknowledged that the lamb is sometimes used as a Christian symbol. The figure representing a puppy in a gift box does not exhibit a clear enough Christmas connection to merit classification under Heading 9505, HTSUSA. Although it is possible that this item may have decorative uses on other festive occasions, i.e. in addition to Christmas, it is also possible that this item could be used year round as a small statuette. It is not the class or kind of article typically associated with a particular festive occasion as described in Explanatory Note 95.05.


Five of the nine samples submitted are properly classifiable under subheading 9505.10.40, HTSUSA, as Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof; Other: of plastics. The applicable duty rate is 8.4% ad valorem. The five
samples that fall under this heading are the two Santa figures, the "cookie" elf figure, the "cookie" reindeer figure, and the "German Girl Figurine." One sample, the scarecrow figure, is properly classifiable under subheading 9505.90.60, HTSUSA, as a festive, carnival or other entertainment article, other, other. The applicable duty rate for that sample is 3.1% ad valorem. Three of the submitted samples are properly classifiable in subheading 3926.40.00, HTSUSA, the provision for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: statuettes and other ornamental articles. These three figures are the snowman, the "puppy in box", and the "peace snow lamb." The applicable duty rate for these three figures is 5.3% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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