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HQ 088333

March 19, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:R:T 088333 jlj


TARIFF NO.: 9503.60.2000

Mr. Frank E. Morin
Pacific Century
572 Jones Street
Ventura, California 93003

RE: Classification of a "puzzle card"

Dear Mr. Morin:

This is in reference to your letter of November 15, 1990, which you requested a tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the Unites States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a "puzzle card" manufactured in Hong Kong. A sample was submitted along with your request.


The sample submitted is a 4-3/4 inch by 7 inch rectangular jigsaw puzzle assembled and displayed inside a sealed envelope made of transparent, flexible plastic. The puzzle is made of 70 irregularly shaped, interlocking pieces with a picture printed on one side. A sheet of paper prepared like the blank side of a picture postcard, with spaces for stamp, message and addressee, is glued to the back of the plastic holder (i.e., the side opposite the front of the puzzle).


Are the instant postcards classified under the provision for printed or illustrated postcards: postcards, in subheading 4909.90.2000, HTSUSA. or under the provision for other toys, puzzles of all kinds: puzzles and parts and accessories thereof: other, in subheading 9503.60.2000, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes. Heading 4909 covers printed or illustrated postcards. Heading 9503 covers puzzles of all kinds. The only relevant chapter note is Chapter Note 1(c) of Chapter 49, which states:

1. This chapter does not cover:

(1) Playing cards or other goods of Chapter 95....

In other words, if the instant merchandise constitutes goods classified in Chapter 95, it is thereby excluded from Chapter 49.

The Explanatory Notes (EN), the official interpretation of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule at the international level, state in the first paragraph of the General Notes for Chapter 49:

With the few exceptions referred to below, this Chapter covers all printed matter of which the essential nature and use is determined by the fact of its being printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations.

Jigsaw puzzles are not among the exceptions alluded to.

The EN to Heading 4909 state that the heading covers:

(1) Picture postcards, i.e., cards which have printed indications of their use as postcards and in which the whole or greater part of one side is devoted to pictorial matter of any kind....These picture postcards may be in sheet or booklet form....

The instant puzzles are not in the form of a card, i.e., a small flat piece of stiff paper or paperboard, usually rectangular. Nor are they in sheet or booklet form. Instead, they are in the form of a jigsaw puzzle.

The EN to Heading 9503 state:

This heading covers:

(C) Puzzles of all kinds.

Based on the foregoing, we are of the opinion that the classification of the instant merchandise is not determined by the fact that it is printed with a pictorial representation. The essential character of the instant merchandise lies in the fact that it is a jigsaw puzzle to be taken apart and put back together. While it is packaged in an envelope which would permit it to be used as a postcard, it is not a postcard as that term is usually understood. However, it is without doubt a jigsaw puzzle. Following this rationale, it is obvious that the instant merchandise should be classified as a puzzle in Heading 9503 and that it cannot be classified in Heading 4909 by virtue of Chapter Note 1(c) of Chapter 49.


The instant merchandise is classified under the provision for other puzzles in subheading 9503.60.2000, HTSUSA, dutiable at the rate of 6.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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