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HQ 088829

May 20, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 088829 STB


TARIFF NO.: 9504.90.9080

Mr. William Gibson, Jr.
Interpretive Marketing Products
P.O. Box 21697
Billings, Montana 59104

RE: Request for Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter 858772 concerning the tariff classification of various game cards from Taiwan.

Dear Mr. Gibson:

This letter is in response to your request for a reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 858772, dated January 4, 1991, regarding the classification of several packages of game cards under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The cards are from Taiwan. Several samples were mailed to, and received by, Headquarters, U.S. Customs.


The samples submitted to Headquarters consist of three packages of plastic coated paper cards. Each package contains two sets of 53 cards plus one instruction card. The cards contain photographs on one side and trivia type questions on the other side: a brief statement of information concerning the picture also appears on the question side. The instruction cards state that these cards are to be used to play a trivia type game with the objective being to collect points by either correctly answering any one of the questions found on the back of each card or identifying the photograph on the front. The samples submitted were "Baseball Wit", "Yellowstone Teton Wit", and "Northwest National Park and Forest Wit" game cards.


Whether the subject cards should be classified under subheading 9504.90.9080, HTSUSA, the provision for other articles for arcade, table or parlor games, or under subheading 9504.40.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for playing cards?


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. In this instance, the merchandise can be classified by reference to GRI 1.

Customs position over a long period of time has been that cards such as these are classifiable as other articles for arcade, table or parlor games, and not as playing cards. We have generally limited the playing card subheading to those decks or packs containing four suits of 13 cards each, plus certain extras. This subheading includes ordinary playing cards that are used in playing games of skill or chance such as "poker", "bridge", "pinochle", "canasta", and the like, and cards that may be used in lieu of ordinary playing cards. These cards are identified by pictures of characters such as the King, Queen, and Jack; numbers to indicate the numerical value; and pips to indicate the suits such as hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades; or such indicia as makes them readily acceptable for use in lieu of regular playing cards.

The established Customs position is supported by the common meaning of the term "playing cards." The Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, (1988), p.1036, defines "playing cards" as "cards used in playing various games, arranged in decks of four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs): a standard deck has 52 cards." The courts have ruled that tariff terms are to be construed in accordance with their common and commercial meanings, which are presumed to be the same. United States v. C.J. Tower & Sons, 48 CCPA 87, C.A.D. 770 (1961).

You have stated that your cards were initially classified as playing cards following the removal of Taiwan from the list of countries receiving preferential treatment, but that the last two shipments of cards have been classified as articles for arcade,
table or parlor games. As noted above, Customs position concerning playing cards is a long established position; any of your cards that were classified as playing cards were improperly classified.


The cards at issue are properly classifiable under subheading 9504.90.9080, HTSUSA, the provision for articles for arcade, table or parlor games, other, other, other, other. The applicable duty rate is 4.64% ad valorem. NYRL 858772 is hereby affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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