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HQ 089296

September 19, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089296 STB


TARIFF NO.: 9503.49.0020

Mr. Joel K. Simon
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Bear Box with Bear

Dear Mr. Simon:

This letter is in response to your letter of May 7, 1991, requesting the tariff classification of a Bear Box which contains and is sold with a small flocked three-dimensional figure of a bear and is to be imported from Hong Kong. A sample was submitted with your request.


The submitted sample consists of a plastic container with a cardboard top and back. The cardboard is shaped and stylized to depict a bear likeness with a depiction of a bear on the cover. The plastic container is generally shaped in the outline of a bear figure. Inside the container is a flocked bear with moveable arms and legs. The bear is approximately 3-1/2 inches in height.

The submitted component breakdown for the box shows that the paper (paperboard) weighs approximately .50 ounces and is valued at 30 cents each. The plastic part weighs .83 ounces per piece and is valued at 10 cents each. The bear is shown to weigh .33 ounces and is valued at 15 cents each. The total unit (bear and box) is listed as weighing 1.66 ounces and valued at 55 cents each.


What is the proper classification of the Bear Box with Bear?


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). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relevant Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may then be applied.

First, we note that the bear and bear box cannot be classified by reference to GRI 1 because the bear and box are classifiable in two different headings. The flocked bear is classifiable in heading 9503, HTSUSA, which provides for toys representing animals. The box is classifiable in either heading 4823, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of paperboard, or heading 3926, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of plastic.

Before determining whether this merchandise is classifiable as a set or composite good under GRI 3(b), we will examine GRI 5(a). GRI 5(a) states as follows:

5. In addition to the foregoing provisions, the following rules shall apply in respect of the goods referred to therein:

(a) Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing instrument cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, suitable for long-term use and entered with the articles for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith. This rule does not, however, apply to containers which give the whole its essential character.

In this case, GRI 5(a) does not apply. Although the subject box seems to be specially shaped to hold the flocked bear, such a box is not "of a kind normally sold therewith" flocked bears. Flocked bears are not normally sold with their own special boxes and containers unlike cameras, musical instruments and the other exemplars mentioned in GRI 5(a). This application of GRI 5(a) is supported by Headquarters Ruling Letter 084257, dated July 14, 1989, in which Customs ruled that textile shoe bags are not normally sold with or used for packing shoes (shoe boxes are) and
therefore, the bags were not classified with the shoes under GRIs 5(a) and 5(b).

Next we must refer to GRI 3(b), which states as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as the criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) describes the finding of essential character thusly:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by 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.

It is our determination that neither the bear nor the box provides the essential character of this merchandise. Just as some users (mostly children) will view the flocked bear as the most important of the two items, there will be others who will make the most use of the box. Although the two items are meant to be used together, they are both equally capable of standing alone; it is not clear which item would provide the primary draw to the potential consumer. Any bulk or value difference between the two items is offset by the equality in play value, and possible other uses, of the bear and box.

Reference must then be made to GRI 3(c) which states as follows:

(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

As noted above, the bear is classifiable in heading 9503, HTSUSA, and the box is classifiable in either heading 4823, HTSUSA, or heading 3926, HTSUSA. Since the classification heading in which the bear falls is last in numerical order to either possible classification headings for the box, we will not address the proper classification of the box alone. The merchandise is classifiable in the provision applicable to the flocked bear
which is subheading 9503.49.0020, HTSUSA, the provision for other toys representing animals.


The Bear Box with Bear is classified in subheading 9503.49.0020, HTSUSA, the provision for toys representing animals or non-human creatures and parts and accessories thereof, other, toys not having a spring mechanism, other. The applicable duty rate is 6.8% ad valorem.

John Durant, Director

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