United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1992 HQ Rulings > HQ 0089289 - HQ 0089572 > HQ 0089334

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 089334

August 26, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089334 STB


TARIFF NO.: 9503.49.0020

Mr. Louis Shoichet
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Whitehall Street
New York, N.Y. 10004

RE: Lamb Chop Puppet

Dear Mr. Shoichet:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of April 11, 1991, concerning the classification of a toy puppet marketed as the "Lamb Chop Puppet" to be imported from China and/or Taiwan. A sample was submitted with your request.


The article at issue is a hand puppet figure shaped and designed to resemble a lamb or sheep. The item measures approximately 14-1/2 inches in height and approximately 14 inches in width from outstretched limb to outstretched limb. It is constructed of a 65 percent polyester/35 percent "pulled" knit cotton fabric designed to replicate the wool exterior of a sheep. There is an opening in the base of the shell in which a person's hand can be inserted to manipulate the puppet figure. A hollow body cavity forms an interior compartment inside the torso or trunk of the figure. The section of the torso covering the front of the body cavity feels as if it has very little, if any, stuffing material inside the shell. The section which covers the rear of the body cavity has slightly more of a stuffed feeling than the front but is not fully stuffed.


Should the Lamb Chop Puppet be classified as stuffed toy or as a toy that is not stuffed?


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). 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 subject puppet can be classified by reference to GRI 1. It is our determination that the item is properly classified under subheading 9503.49.0020, HTSUSA, the provision for toys representing animals or non-human creatures that are not stuffed.

It is Customs position that a toy is considered stuffed for tariff purposes if the stuffing materials impart the shape and form of the torso of the figure. Customs has also held that the "feel" of an item may be relevant to the determination as stuffed or non-stuffed. This long-standing position is based, in part, on the dictionary definition of the verb "stuff" which was adopted in Customs Information Exchange Ruling, (C.I.E.) 449/46, August 7, 1946. This ruling cites the adopted definition as follows:

Stuff, v. I.t.l., To fill to distention by crowding something into; cram; pack full; as, to stuff a trunk full of clothes; to stuff the head with knowledge. 2. Specif., to fill with material specially prepared for such use; as, to stuff a cushion, to stuff a fowl for cooking. 3. In taxidermy, to fill out with suitable material (the skin of a bird or beast), and arranged so as to make a life-like form. 4. To cram into a small space; crowd; as, to stuff a newspaper into one's pocket. 5. To fill full or distend by crowding or being crowded into; often with out; as the strangers stuffed the gallery; the sawdust stuffs out the doll's body.

It is apparent that the emphasis of the above definition is upon the filling and/or distending of the article that is "stuffed." There is a generous use of words and phrases such as "cram", "crowd" and "pack full." Customs has reiterated its acceptance of the above definition on many occasions since the C.I.E. ruling was published, and has not altered its rather strict standards concerning the "stuffed" classification of articles similar to the item at issue.

An examination of the Lamb Chop Puppet reveals that the stuffing materials do not impart the shape or form of the item; it is definitely not "crammed" with stuffing such that the shell is fully distended. As mentioned, there is a large cavity in the torso. Additionally, the shell covering the front section of the cavity feels as if it contains very little, if any, stuffing material; this section has little resilience and, when pressed
in, tends to remain depressed. The section of the shell which covers the rear of the body cavity has slightly more of a stuffed feeling than the front but it also is not fully stuffed and distended. When the item is examined in its entirety, the body cavity, taken together with the barely stuffed shell, gives the torso a non-stuffed quality and feeling.


The item known as the "Lamb Chop Puppet" is classifiable in subheading 9503.49.0020, HTSUSA, the provision for toys representing animals or non-human creatures (for example, robots and monsters) and parts and accessories thereof, other, toys not having a spring mechanism, other. The applicable duty rate is 6.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: