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HQ 089372

January 29, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089372 STB


TARIFF NO.: 6810.99.0000

Mr. Guy Robbins
Tuesday Morning Inc.
14621 Inwood Road
Dallas, Texas 75244

RE: 45mm Water Globe on Swan; Santa Figure Inside Globe

Dear Mr. Robbins:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of May 9, 1991, regarding the tariff classification of an item which consists of the figure of a swan, on top of which rests a water globe with a Santa figure inside the globe. A sample was submitted with your inquiry.


The item in question consists of a 45 mm water globe which rests on the top of a much larger swan figure. A Santa Claus figure is located inside the globe. Your "style number" for the item is UF90712A. Our New York laboratory examined your sample and determined that the swan figure is made of stone (dolomite) agglomerated with plastic materials.

You stated in your inquiry that the item was entered under subheading 9505.10.2500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), the provision for Christmas ornaments, eligible for duty-free treatment. You further stated that you were then notified by Customs that the item was being liquidated under subheading 7013.99.5500, HTSUSA, the provision for glassware for indoor decoration, dutiable at a rate of 30% ad valorem.


What is the proper classification of the subject merchandise?


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). 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 relative 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.

Since you suggest classification under subheading 9505.10.2500, HTSUSA, the provision for Christmas ornaments, we will discuss that provision first. The Explanatory Notes, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, offer guidance in understanding the scope of the headings. Explanatory Note (A)(2) to heading 95.05, HTSUSA, stresses that this chapter applies to articles "traditionally used at Christmas festivities" (emphasis added). Christmas tree ornaments are one type of item that is traditionally associated with Christmas. Customs has ruled that if an item qualifies as a Christmas tree ornament it is not necessary that the item itself demonstrate a singularly Christmas motif or be an item that would otherwise be traditionally associated with Christmas. See, for example, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 083330, dated April 10, 1990, in which small china dolls, dressed in Victorian outfits and designed to be hung from Christmas trees, were classified in heading 9505, HTSUSA, as Christmas tree ornaments.

To be classified as a Christmas tree ornament, Customs requires that the following three criteria be met: (1) that the item is marketed and sold as a Christmas tree ornament; (2) that there is some method, generally a loop attached to the top, to secure or 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. The subject merchandise does not satisfy any of these criteria.

Having failed the Christmas tree ornament test, we will consider whether this article could possibly be classified elsewhere in heading 9505 as a festive article. Customs has issued numerous rulings in which we have stated that water globes, regardless of the motif represented by the figures inside the globe, are not classifiable in heading 9505. Water globes, as a class or kind of merchandise, are not "traditionally used at", or associated with Christmas or any other festive occasion. They are sold year-round and display a wide variety of motifs. Additionally, water globes often serve a utilitarian purpose as paperweights and are commonly considered to be collectors' items
regardless of whether the motif is holiday related. In your May 9 letter, you expressed an interest in reviewing prior Customs rulings concerning the water globe/festive article distinction. In response, we have inclosed copies of two such rulings, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088067, dated February 11, 1991, and HRL 087878, dated May 20, 1991.

The fact that this particular item consists of a water globe resting on the back of a swan serves to decrease the Christmas nature of the motif. If, because of the swan, this figure were to be classified as a statuette or figurine, rather than as a water globe, classification in heading 9505 would still not be appropriate. Statuettes and figurines are also used and sold year-round for a variety of functions and are not traditionally used at any particular festive occasion.

This item is a composite good, in a tariff sense, in that it consists of the water globe, the figures inside, and the swan figure. As a composite good, the article is not classifiable under GRI 1 or 2, so reference must be made to GRI 3. GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods constructed of different components shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b) indicate that essential character may be determined by considering "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 the essential character of the item is provided by the swan figure which dominates the whole in terms of weight, bulk and visual effect. The swan figure, being constructed of stone (dolomite) agglomerated with plastic materials, (artificial stone) is not provided for in any provision relating to statuettes or figurines. The classification of this item, therefore, is based on the material forming the construction of the swan.


The swan figure with 45 mm water globe, your style number UF90712A, is classified in subheading 6810.99.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for articles of cement, concrete, or artificial stone, other, other. The applicable duty rate is 4.9% ad valorem.

This ruling will apply to prospective transactions only and will not modify the previous denial of Protest No. 5501-91- 100087, which is a final administrative decision and binding on both the importer and Customs for the entry covered by that protest under the principles of San Francisco Newspaper Printing Co. v. United States, 9 CIT 517 (1985).


John Durant, Director

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