United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1991 HQ Rulings > HQ 0088055 - HQ 0088142 > HQ 0088067

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 088067

February 11, 1991

CLA-2 CO:RC:F 088067 STB


TARIFF NO.: 7013.99.80

Ms. Rosalie Althoff
Midwest Importers of Cannon Falls, Inc.
P.O. Box 20, HWY 52 SO.
Cannon Falls, MN 55009

RE: Request for reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter 853080 concerning the classification of water globes

Dear Ms. Althoff:

This letter is in response to your request, dated July 31, 1990, for a reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 853080 regarding the classification of two water globes from Taiwan. Samples were submitted with your request.


Both water globes in question are approximately 2-1/2 inches in height. The item identified as style no. 7057 has an inner figure of a brown teddy bear, with a red scarf around the neck. The bear is holding a miniature green tree that resembles the shape of a Christmas tree, and is sitting behind a drum. The base of the item resembles a red bag, with gold ribbon and stars, giving the appearance that the bear and other items are sitting in the bag. The item identified as style no. 7058 has an inner figure of a Santa Claus; the base resembles a chimney, giving the appearance that the Santa figure is in the process of going up, or down, the chimney. The inner figures of both items are enclosed in glass water domes which, when shaken, scatter small white particles which then fall slowly on the figures in order to depict a snowfall. The base and figure of the snowscenes are each made of a resin material. The resin represents the component material in chief weight.


Whether the subject water globes should be classified as decorative glassware or as festive articles?


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.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for "[f]estive, carnival or other entertainment articles." The Explanatory Notes offer guidance in the interpretation 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.

Articles classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA, tend to have no function other than decoration. While utilitarian and various decorative articles may be classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA, they must, as a class, be holiday related.

Heading 9505 is generally regarded as a use provision. Consequently, Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a) must be reviewed. That rule indicates that:

In the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires--
(a) a tariff classification controlled by use (other than actual use) is to be determined in accordance with
the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to the date of importation, of goods of that class or kind to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use.

While the instant merchandise displays Christmas motifs, they are basically water globes. Water globes, as a class or kind of merchandise are not specifically holiday related; they are sold year-round in a wide variety of motifs. Additionally, water globes sometimes serve a utilitarian purpose as paperweights and have often become collectors items. Thus, the subject water globes are not classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA. This conclusion is consistent with Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 087363, dated August 14, 1990, HRL 086153, dated March 19, 1990, and HRL 085539, dated November 17, 1989.

As a composite good, the merchandise may not be classified under GRI 1 or 2, so reference must be made GRI 3. GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods constructed of different components shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b) indicate that essential character may be determined by considering "the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods."

The role that the glass domes or globes play in relation to the use of these articles (they are clearly marketed as globes) strongly suggests that these globes impart the essential character of the merchandise. Additionally, although the globes do not provide as much weight as do the resin portions, the globes do provide a substantial amount of the bulk of the items as well as a considerable amount of the weight. Thus, the water globes are classifiable in Heading 7013, HTSUSA, the provision for glassware used for indoor decoration.


The water globes at issue are properly classifiable under subheading 7013.99.80, HTSUSA, which provides for glassware of a kind used for...indoor decoration or similar purposes, other glassware, other, other, other, valued over $3.00 each, other valued over $3.00 but not over $5.00 each. The applicable duty rate is 15% ad valorem. New York Ruling Letter 853080 is affirmed.

John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: