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HQ 087919

December 18, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087919 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 6702.90.4000

Mr. John R. Ramirez
James G. Wiley Co.
P.O. Box 90008
Los Angeles, CA 90009

RE: Classification of Bridal Sprays; Bridal Bouquets; Bridal Altar Accessories, Cake Trimmings; Headwear; Artificial Flowers and Foliage

Dear Mr. Ramirez:

This letter is in response to your inquiry, on behalf of your client, Western Trimming Corp., of August 2, 1990, regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of bridal headwear. Samples of the articles at issue were submitted to us along with your request.


The samples submitted are designated as Style Numbers 14276, and 14277. Style Number 14276 is described as a "bridal wreath 17-1/2 inches by one inch" and is composed of rayon satin material. Style Number 14277 is described as a "bridal crown with pearls 6-1/2" and is composed of rayon satin and plastic pearl material. All of the bridal headwear pieces are composed of artificial flowers and foliage of man-made fibers. In addition, in a few of the headwear pieces artificial pearls of man-made materials are arranged between the artificial flowers and foliage. The whole flower and foliage arrangement is bound with a paper-covered wire tie.

The importer maintains that these articles are principally used in wedding bouquets, wedding table accents and centerpieces, altar and pew decorations, wedding cake decorations and candle holder decorations and while they may be used as bridal party headwear, their principal use would be otherwise. These articles will be imported from Taiwan and/or Korea.


What is the classification under the HTSUSA of a bridal headwear consisting of artificial flowers and foliage with artificial pearls of man-made materials.


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.

In the instant case, we find no headings within the nomenclature whose terms would specifically include bridal bouquets such as these. In addition, this merchandise is not covered by any Legal Notes, at either the Section or Chapter level. GRI 1 is, therefore, inconclusive, and the remaining GRI's, taken in order must be referred to.

Composite goods are classified by reference to GRI's 2 and 3. Under GRI 2, any reference to a material or an article made of a material includes goods made wholly or in part of that material. GRI 2(b), HTSUSA, provides in pertinent part that "[t]he classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of GRI

GRI 3 applies when goods are classifiable under two or more headings of the tariff schedule.

GRI 3, HTSUSA, provides 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. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

Since the artificial flowers and foliage, paper-covered wire, and artificial pearl objects fall under separate headings in the tariff schedule which describe only a portion of the materials in the entire bridal headwear arrangement, the headings are to be regarded as equally specific under GRI 3(a). Therefore, GRI 3(a) fails in establishing classification, and GRI 3(b) becomes applicable.

The Explanatory Notes, although not legally binding, represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes offer guidance in understanding the scope of the provisions within each chapter of the schedule. The Explanatory Notes define composite goods to include goods made up of different components, even if the components are separable, as long as they are adapted one to the other, are mutually complementary, and together form a whole that would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

In the instant case, the bridal headwear pieces qualify as composite goods, since the individual components create a floral arrangement that derives its aesthetic value from the mutually complementary positioning of the components. Furthermore, even though the individual components may be sold separately, the value of any individual component appears limited when compared to the overall value of the components when arranged together. Thus, the components may be sold separately, but in this case, they do not appear to be of the type normally offered for sale in separate parts.

GRI 3(b) governs the classification of composite goods. GRI 3(b) states in pertinent part:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

GRI 3(b) requires classification of a composite good as though it consists of the component that gives the article its essential character. The Explanatory Notes state that the factors determining essential character may vary as between different kinds of goods. The Notes suggest that essential character may be determined by the nature of a components or material, its bulk, quantity, weight, or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish an article.

It is the determination of this office that the artificial flowers and foliage impart the essential character to the entire bridal headwear pieces. The artificial flowers and foliage constitute the principal bulk, quantity and weight of the arrangement. Moreover, the paper-covered wire component, and artificial pearls serve the subordinate role of embellishing the beauty of the principal object, the artificial flowers and foliage. Due to the enactment of a recent amendment to the tariff schedule, subheading 6702.90.4000, HTSUSA, now includes both artificial flowers and foliage of man-made fibers. See Section 479C of the Customs and Trade Act of 1990 (Pub. L. No. 101-382). Thus, it is the determination of this office that the artificial flowers and foliage constitute the essential character, and the subject merchandise is properly classified under subheading 6702.90.4000, HTSUSA.


The bridal headwear pieces are classified under subheading 6702.90.4000, HTSUSA, as Artificial flowers, foliage and fruit and parts thereof: Of other materials: Other: Of man-made fibers. The rate of duty is 9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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