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HQ 088601

April 22, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 088601 SLR


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.4000; 9505.10.5000

James Chan, Ph.D.
Director of International Operations
Rennoc Corporation
3501 S.E. Boulevard
Vineland, NJ 08360-7789

RE: Modification of NYRL 840672 of May 31, 1989; Festive Articles; Christmas Articles; Not Christmas Ornaments

Dear Dr. Chan:

This is in regards to your letter of December 27, 1990, wherein you requested that Customs confirm, in writing, the particular tariff subheadings and accompanying duty rates which apply to three products earlier classified in New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 840672 as Christmas ornaments other than of glass or wood in subheading 9505.10.2500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Articles classifiable in subheading 9505.10.2500 are eligible for duty free entry, as provided in subheading 9902.95.05, until December 31, 1992.


The products at issue are:

1. flannel back tree skirts, style 15538

2. knit Christmas stockings, style 13357

3. plastic stocking hangers, style 83105

The tree skirts and Christmas stockings are imported from Thailand. However, from time to time, they are imported from Taiwan. The stocking hangers are imported from the People's Republic of China.


Whether the above-mentioned products qualify as Christmas ornaments of subheading 9505.10.25, HTSUSA.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for "[f]estive, carnival or other entertainment articles." The Explanatory Notes, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, offer guidance in understanding the scope of the headings. The Explanatory Note to heading 9505 indicates that the heading includes:

(A) Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles which in view of their intended use are generally made of non-durable material. They include:

(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.

The products at issue are classifiable as festive articles in heading 9505. The Explanatory Note makes specific mention of Christmas stockings. Moreover, stocking hangers and tree skirts are traditionally used at Christmas. Neither is the type of article available year-round in a wide variety of motifs.

Subheading 9505.10, HTSUSA, provides for articles for Christmas festivities. The subject products are classifiable within this provision. We must now turn our attention to their proper classification at the eight-digit subheading level.

Subheadings 9505.10.10, 9505.10.15, and 9505.10.25 cover Christmas ornaments of glass, wood, and other, respectively. To qualify as a Christmas ornament, Customs requires that the following three criteria be met:

1. that the item is advertised and sold as a Christmas tree ornament;

2. that there is some method, generally a loop attached to the top, to hang the item on a tree; and

3. that the item is not too big or too heavy to be hung or attached to a tree.

(See Headquarter's Ruling Letter 084606 of July 31, 1989.)

The products at issue fail to meet the above-mentioned criteria. Hence, they cannot be considered Christmas ornaments for tariff purposes.

Subheading 9505.10.30, HTSUSA, covers nativity scenes and figures thereof. The items at issue neither qualify as nativity scenes nor as parts thereof. Subheading 9505.10.40, HTSUSA, covers other Christmas articles of plastics. This provision describes the stocking hangers. Subheading 9505.10.50, HTSUSA, provides for Christmas articles other than of plastics. This provision describes the knit Christmas stockings and the flannel back tree skirts.


The plastic stocking hangers, style 83105, are classifiable in subheading 9505.10.4000, HTSUSA, which provides for festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof: articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: other (than Christmas ornaments), of plastics. The rate of duty under the General column is 8.4 percent ad valorem.

The flannel back tree skirts, style 15538, and the knit Christmas stockings, style 13357, are classifiable in subheading 9505.10.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof: articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: other (than Christmas ornaments), other (than of plastics). The rate of duty under the General column is 5.8 percent ad valorem.

Articles classifiable under subheading 9505.10.5000 which are products of Thailand are entitled to duty free entry under the General System of Preferences on compliance with applicable regulations.

This notice to you should be considered a modification of NYRL 840672 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 840672 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of Rennoc's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NYRL 840672 will not be valid precedent.

We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, Rennoc may, at its discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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