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HQ 088093

February 12, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 088093 STB


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.4000

Ms. Rosalie Althoff
Midwest Importers of Cannon Falls, Inc.
P.O.Box 20
Highway 52 South
Canon Falls, MN 55009-0020

RE: Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 856153; Santa Claus figures

Dear Ms. Althoff:

This letter is in response to your October 18, 1990 request for a reconsideration and modification of NYRL 856153, dated October 10, 1990, concerning the classification of two Santa Claus figures under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The items are to be imported from China and Taiwan. Pictures of the two figures were submitted with your request. Five items were originally classified in NYRL 856153; you are seeking reconsideration of only the two figures that are described below.


The items in question are two different Santa Claus figures. Item number 8664 is marketed as "Fabric Mache Northern Lights Santa on Reindeer." The item measures approximately 10 inches in height and is made of resin and a fabric mache. The Santa is sitting on the back of a reindeer. The head and hands of the Santa figure, as well as the reindeer, are constructed of resin. Santa is wearing a long, red and white coat constructed of fabric mache.

Item number 1043, known as "Nested Santas" contains a set of 6 nesting Santas. They range in height between 2 and 6 inches tall and are constructed of wood with painted on features. Five of the pieces are hollow and separated at the middle, to allow the next smaller sized Santa to be place inside. The smallest Santa, which is the last figure to be placed inside, is solid wood. When all the figures are placed inside each other, one Santa remains.

These figures were classified in NYRL 856153 as dolls under subheading 9502.10.4000, HTSUSA. It is your contention that the merchandise should be classified as festive articles under heading 9505, 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 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 856153 is correct.

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 (emphasis added) to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use.

While these figures depict Christmas motifs, they belong to the class of merchandise known as dolls and therefore can be classified by reference to Heading 9502. 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."

Item 8664, the Fabric Mache Northern Lights Santa on Reindeer, is very similar to the "Old World Santa" figure classified as a doll in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 086587, dated August 8, 1990 (copy enclosed). 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 durable and three dimensional doll figures such as the "Old World Santa" that was at issue in that case. The same considerations must apply to the classification of item 8664. The presence of the reindeer figure does not affect the classification; dolls are frequently depicted in elaborate environments.

Item 1043, the nested Santa, is an example of the classic "matreshka" and also belongs to the broad class of merchandise known as "dolls." Although generally considered Russian folk art, nesting dolls are also native to India and China. Each figure is nested inside the next larger object, and they generally depict human beings. All the figures, except the smallest one, are hollow. In Wregg Imports v. United States, 10 CIT 679 (1986) the court found that "matreshkas are sold primarily as dolls and used by doll enthusiasts to enhance their collections." The court also stated that "matreshkas are predominately known and used (sold and collected) as dolls in the United States."

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 difference between the figures at issue and the animated figures is clear. Animated figures designed for home use, such as the choir boy of HRL 085898, dated May 17, 1990, (which you referenced in your letter) are rarely utilized for any purpose other than decorative use during festive occasions. Consequently, as a class of merchandise, they are considered festive articles. Dolls, however, have many uses and intended uses other than that of festive decoration. The fact that a
particular doll may depict a festive motif does not take it out of the doll chapter for classification purposes.

Thus, although these items may be marketed as Christmas display items by the importer, they are representations of a "human being" known as Santa Claus and fall within the wide variety of merchandise considered to be dolls.


The two 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 856153 is hereby affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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