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HQ 087212

September 17, 1990
CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087212 SLR


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.4000

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

RE: Bean Bag Santa

Dear Mr. Simon:

This ruling is in response to your letter of May 17, 1990, on behalf of your client Russ Berrie & Company, Inc., requesting the classification of a bean bag santa, item #6077, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was provided for our examination.


The submitted sample is a Santa figure approximately 12 inches tall. The figure is round and dressed in red, with a simulation of a belt around the waist. Two small protrusions at the bottom give the appearance of feet. The arms are short and the hands are green in color and have only the thumb in detail, giving the appearance that the figure is wearing mittens. The face is also round, with an extensive white beard, red lips, a round red nose, two small black eyes with bushy white eyebrows, and the traditional red Santa cap trimmed with white simulated fur. The figure's upper torso is loosely stuffed with soft stuffing; the lower torso contains a bean bag filling which allows the figure to be placed in an upright position.

In your letter you maintain that the Santa figure is classifiable as a festive article in either HTSUSA subheadings 9505.10.2500 or 9505.10.5000. In the alternative, you claim that the instant article is classifiable as a stuffed doll in subheading 9502.10.2000, HTSUSA.


What is the proper classification of the subject Santa figure under the HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for "[f]estive, carnival and other entertainment articles." The Explanatory Notes, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, offer guidance in understanding the scope of the headings. The Explanatory Note to heading 9505, HTSUSA, indicates 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.

Generally speaking, articles classifiable in heading 9505 tend to have no other function than decoration.

Here, the instant article is decorative. Nonetheless, bean bag figures are not of a class or kind of merchandise traditionally associated with any particular holiday. Consequently, classification as a festive article in either subheadings 9505.10.2500 or 9505.10.5000, HTSUSA, is precluded.

Heading 9502, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for "[d]olls representing only human beings." The Explanatory Note to heading 9502 indicates that "[t]he heading includes not only dolls designed for the amusement of children, but also dolls intended for decorative purposes...."

Since the figure's head is covered in plush material, its face takes on an animal-like appearance. Because of the outfit, however, there is no question that this figure is a representation of Santa Claus. As a decorative article depicting a human being, the instant Santa figure is classifiable as a doll in heading 9502. The question now becomes whether the Santa figure qualifies as a stuffed doll in subheading 9502.10.2000, HTSUSA.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter 083791 of June 2, 1990, this office examined whether a doll, whose upper torso contained a substantial amount of soft filling and whose lower torso contained enough bean bag filling to allow the object to sit upright, qualified as a stuffed doll in subheading 9502.10.2000. In answering in the affirmative, we noted that:

The figure is primarily filled with soft filling material, has the appearance of being stuffed, and moreover, imparts an overall feeling of softness to the touch despite the presence of the bean filling. Since the bean filling does not affect the shape and feel of the doll, the doll is considered stuffed for purposes of tariff classification.

In contrast to the article under consideration in HRL 083791, the instant Santa figure is not primarily filled with soft filling material; in fact, the filling material can hardly be detected. The figure does not have the appearance of being stuffed; the filling material is insufficient in volume and resiliency to enable the torso of the doll to have originally a fully distended shape and retain that distended form after manipulation. Further, the bean bag filling is quite apparent and affects the feel of the doll. The subject Santa figure, consequently, is not classifiable as a stuffed doll in subheading 9502.10.2000.


The bean bag Santa figure, item #6077, is classifiable in subheading 9502.10.4000, HTSUSA, which provides for dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof, dolls whether or not dressed, other (than stuffed), not over 33 cm in height, dutiable at 12 percent ad valorem.

The sample will be returned to your office.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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