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HQ 088059

February 7, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 088059 STB


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.4000

Mr. Bruce J. Bender
Costco Wholesale
10809 120th Avenue N.E.
Kirkland, WA 98033

RE: Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 854202; Santa Claus figures

Dear Mr. Bender:

This letter is in response to your request for a reconsideration of NYRL 854202, dated July 24, 1990, concerning the classification of four (4) Santa Claus figures under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA). The figures are to be imported from Taiwan. A sample of one figure and pictures of all the figures were submitted with your request.


The items in question are four different Santa Claus figures. Each figure is depicted performing some kind of activity associated with Santa Claus. Two figures are carrying textile sacks filled with presents, and one is carrying a Christmas tree (of proportionate size to the Santa). The other figure is depicted as being busy painting at his workbench. The figures are constructed of sawdust and polyester. The height of the figures varies from between approximately 10 - 11 1/2 inches tall. They are all dressed in the traditional Santa outfit of red coat, pants, and hat trimmed in white, with black boots, gloves and wire frame glasses. Each figure is immovable and permanently fixed in position.

These figures were classified in NYRL 854202 as dolls under subheading 9502.10.4000, HTSUSA. It is your contention that the merchandise should be classified as festive articles under subheading 9505.10.5000, HTSUSA.


Whether the Santa Claus figures should be classified as dolls or festive articles?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the legal framework 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 headings at issue in this case are:

(a) 9502, HTSUSA, dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof:...

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

In this instance, classification can be accomplished by reference to GRI 1. It is our determination that the classification effected in NYRL 854202 is correct. These figures belong to the broad class of merchandise known as dolls and therefore can be classified by reference to Heading 9502.

This merchandise is very similar to the "Old World Santa" figure classified as a doll in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 086587, dated August 8, 1990 (copy attached). In that letter we stated that the non-durable items mentioned and discussed in Explanatory Note 95.05 (A) as festive articles do not include such durable and three dimensional doll figures as the type that are at issue here.

As we have noted, the class of merchandise that falls within the scope of the term "doll" is very broad. In Dan-Dee Imports, Inc. v. United States, 7 CIT 241 (1984), the court stated that "perhaps because the variety of merchandise within the common meaning of "doll" is so vast, the courts have not been able to render a comprehensive definition of, nor all-embracing finding as to what is, a "doll." In Hasbro Industries, Inc. v. United States, 703 F. Supp. 941, (CIT 1988), the court stated that a broad scope has been given to this term "almost without exception."

The fact that these figures are intended for decorative purposes and are not intended for use by children for play or collection is not determinative. This is shown by the Explanatory Notes for Heading 9502, HTSUSA, which state that "The heading includes not only dolls designed for the amusement of children, but also dolls intended for decorative purposes...." This Explanatory Note is further evidence of the broad sweep of the class of merchandise known as dolls.


The four Santa Claus figures are properly classifiable under subheading 9502.10.4000, HTSUSA, which provides for dolls representing only human beings, whether or not dressed, other than stuffed, not over 33 cm in height, dutiable at a rate of 12 per cent ad valorem. NYRL 854202 is hereby affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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