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HQ 087106

May 20, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087106 SLR


TARIFF NO.: 6912.00.5000

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

RE: Revocation of HRL 085847 of February 9, 1990; Magnetic Memo Holders

Dear Mr. Simon:

On February 9, 1990, this office, in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 085847, classified various ceramic magnets bearing Christmas motifs as festive articles in heading 9505, HTSUSA. We have since reviewed that determination and have found it to be in error.


The subject merchandise, samples of which are before Customs, consists of two styles of magnetic memo holders, each designed to hold drawings, shopping lists, cards, letters, and reminders to kitchen refrigerator doors and other metal surfaces.

Item #5362 consists of a circular barium ferrite magnet measuring approximately one inch in diameter affixed to a heart-shaped ceramic housing disc measuring approximately three inches in diameter. The disc is decorated on the front with a red and green holly design outlining an array of Christmas messages. These messages include: "Have a Special Christmas," "Merry Christmas," and "Friends Make the Holidays Happy."

Item #5383 consists of a circular barium ferrite magnet measuring approximately one inch in diameter affixed to a circular ceramic housing disc measuring approximately three inches in diameter. The front of one of the samples shows a teddy bear with a red bow sitting next to a Christmas present. The words "You're Very Special" appear above the bear. Another sample features Santa Claus holding a miniature Christmas tree. Printed above Santa are the words "Christmas Brings Us Near in Heart."

Analysis by the Customs laboratory confirms that the magnet in each item consists of ceramic material.

In New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 839586 of June 22, 1989, the above-described items were classified as household articles of ceramic in subheading 6912.00.5000, HTSUSA. Maintaining that the memo holders were more properly classifiable as festive articles in heading 9505, HTSUSA, you requested the reconsideration of NYRL 839586. On February 9, 1990, this office issued HRL 085847 classifying the ceramic magnets as festive articles, thereby revoking NYRL 839586. Our New York office has since requested the reconsideration of HRL 085847.

In your submission of September 19, 1990, you asserted that the memo holders should remain classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA, since their commercial trade names, designs, colors, and messages indentify them as festive articles. Furthermore, you maintained that heading 9505 is a use provision, thus allowing for the classification of utilitarian articles, such as the subject merchandise, within that heading. You claimed that heading 6912, HTSUSA, (the provision for ceramic household articles) is inapplicable since Chapter 69, Legal Note 2(ij) excludes articles of Chapter 95 from that chapter.

The above-stated arguments were once again presented to this office during a conference held here at Headquarters on October 30, 1990. In the alternative, you maintained that as the magnet component represented the essential character of this composite good, the memo holders were classifiable in the heading which provides for permanent magnets -- heading 8505, HTSUSA. Customs later received your additional submission of December 27, 1990.


Whether the memo holders are classifiable as festive articles of heading 9505, HTSUSA, and, if not, what classification is appropriate.


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 for "[f]estive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof." 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 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.

As stated in HRL 085276 of November 8, 1989, articles classifiable in heading 9505 tend to have no other function than decoration.

The items at issue are designed to hold drawings, shopping lists, cards, letters and reminders to kitchen refrigerator doors and other metal surfaces; hence, they serve a utilitarian rather than decorative function. Moreover, despite the incorporation of Christmas motifs, these memo holders are not traditionally used at Christmas to the same degree as Christmas stockings, nativity scenes, yule logs, or any of the other items mentioned in the Explanatory Notes. Accordingly, the memo holders are not classifiable as festive articles in heading 9505.

Heading 8505, HTSUSA, provides for, among other things, "[p]ermanent magnets...permanent magnet chucks, clamps and similar holding devices." The Explanatory Note to heading 8505 indicates, in pertinent part, that the heading does not cover "permanent magnets...when presented with machines, apparatus, toys, games, etc., of which they are designed to form part (classified with those machines, apparatus, etc.)."

Here, the magnets were designed to form part of the subject merchandise. Since the magnets are presented with and incorporated into ceramic housing devices, they are precluded from classification as a permanent magnet in heading 8505.

Heading 6912, HTSUSA, provides for "[c]eramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, other than porcelain or china." The memo holders are designed for use in the kitchen and other areas of the home and are made of ceramic materials. Consequently, they are classifiable as other household articles of ceramic in heading 6912.

In HRLs 082500 of April 28, 1989, and 083130 of May 2, 1989, Customs, applying GRI 3(b), classified certain memo holders composed of metal magnets and textile front coverings as household articles of iron or steel in heading 7323, HTSUSA. In the present case, both the components which make up the memo holders (the disc and magnet) are ceramic. The memo holders, therefore, are not considered composite goods for tariff purposes. Classification is to be determined by applying GRI 1.


The memo holders at issue serve primarily a utilitarian function and are not traditionally used at Christmas. Consequently, they are not classifiable as festive articles in heading 9505.

The merchandise at issue is classifiable in subheading 6912.00.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for ceramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, other than those of porcelain or china; table and kitchenware; other. The applicable rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.

This notice to you should be considered a revocation of HRL 085847 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to HRL 085847 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your client's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, HRL 085847 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, your client may, at its discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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