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HQ 089523

January 6, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089523 STB


TARIFF NO.: 7117.90.5000

James C. Tuttle, Esq.
Kmart Legal Department
3100 West Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48084

RE: Twin Pack Bubble Pendant, Imitation Jewelry

Dear Mr. Tuttle:

This is in response to your inquiry of May 29, 1991, requesting the tariff classification of merchandise marketed by your client, Kmart Corporation, as "Twin Pack Bubble Pendant" to be imported from Taiwan. A sample was provided with your inquiry.


The sample submitted, Kmart's code No. 04-32-62, consists of two bubble pendant necklaces in blister packaging. Each bubble pendant necklace consists of an oval shaped, 2-1/2 inch by 2 inch bottle, filled with bubble solution. A plastic wand for blowing bubbles is attached to the inside of the bottle's cap. The bottles are attached to a textile cord by a removable plastic "C: clasp around the neck of the bottle.

The picture on the packaging depicts a young girl wearing the pendant around her neck while blowing bubbles with the wand. The items are referred to on the packaging as "Bubble Pendants." Counsel for the importer states that the merchandise is designed, marketed and sold by Kmart in its toy department as toys for children ages five and older.

We understand from Kmart's counsel that the cost of the blister-packaged bubble pendant necklaces is 77 cents, or 38-1/2 cents per bubble pendant necklace.


Should the Twin Pack Bubble Pendants be classified as toys or as imitation jewelry?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (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.

In this instance, the subject merchandise can be classified by reference to GRI 1. The competing provisions are as follows:

1. Subheading 7117.90.5000, HTSUSA, the provision for Imitation jewelry, other, other, valued over 20 cents per dozen pieces or parts, and,

2. Subheading 9503.90.6000, HTSUSA, the provision for Other toys, other, other, other toys (except models), not having a spring mechanism.

It is our determination that this merchandise is properly classified under subheading 7117.90.5000, HTSUSA. Note 8 to Chapter 71 sets out the broad sweep of the term "jewelry" in stating that, for the purposes of the jewelry provision (heading 7113), the expression "articles of jewelry" means "[A]ny small objects of personal adornment (gem-set or not) (for example, rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings, watch chains, fobs, pendants...)." Note 10 to Chapter 71 applies Note 8 specifically to the merchandise and heading at issue here by stating that "[F]or the purposes of heading 7117, the expression "imitation jewelry" means articles of jewelry within the meaning of paragraph (a) of note 8 above...."

We also note that footnote 1 of the general rate of duty column for subheading 7117.90.5000, HTSUSA, refers us to subheading 9902.71.13, HTSUSA, which temporarily suspends duties on some items valued not over 5 cents per piece or unit. This provision specifically includes "[T]oy jewelry" in subheading 7117.90.5000, HTSUSA, as well as in various other provisions of Chapter 71. The duty rate on the subject merchandise is not suspended, however, because the merchandise is valued at over 5 cents per piece.

The determination that the bubble pendants should be classified as imitation jewelry is consistent with a long line of Customs Rulings concerning similar bubble jewelry merchandise including the following New York Ruling Letters (NYRLs): NYRL 863525, dated June 14, 1991, NYRL 863507, dated June 13, 1991, NYRL 861617, dated March 29, 1991, NYRL 856320, dated October 2, 1990, NYRL 856151, dated September 19, 1990, and NYRL 855676, dated September 7, 1990.

In your submission of May 29, 1991, you raise several arguments. You cite several Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRLs), contending that the classification therein of toy jewelry items as toys in heading 9503, HTSUSA, indicates that these bubble pendants should be similarly classified. We note, however, that the items at issue in all three of those rulings, none of which were bubble jewelry items, were all put up for sale as parts of sets that included various toy and other non-imitation jewelry items. Our decisions in those rulings were based on the fact that these sets were marketed and sold as toys, and thus were classified as other toys, regardless of the fact that some of the individual items may have been classified differently had they been imported separately. Moreover, at the time of the drafting of those rulings, subheading 9902.71.13, HTSUSA, had not been amended to specifically include "Toy jewelry" in the various Chapter 71 headings, but, instead, merely referred to certain "jewelry" as being eligible for duty suspension.

You also contend that the principal use that one derives from this merchandise is the amusement from the bubble solution and that the string is really no more than a method to hang and carry the bottle of bubble solution, similar to the carrying or wearing straps of a camera or pair of binoculars. We believe, however, that the marketing and design of the merchandise refutes this claim. The item is sold under the name "Bubble Pendants" which is printed in large letters on the package.

The primary definition of "pendant" as provided in Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, 1988, at p. 998 is "a hanging ornamental object, as one suspended from an earring or necklace." The other examples and partial definitions all stress the hanging and/or ornamental qualities identified with the term "pendant." In contrast, the marketing of cameras and binoculars does not ordinarily stress the hanging and ornamental nature of those items. The package also depicts a young girl clearly wearing the item around her neck; the package is mostly pink in color. The depiction of a girl together with the dominating pink color indicates that the target consumers are little girls which is just the group that is likely to be interested in the item for
its imitation jewelry aspect. The bubble containers have the familiar shape and design of jewelry type pendants and are not large enough to hold an amount of bubble solution that even approximates the amount normally sold in individual bottles. Thus, the wearing function of these items is more significant to their central use and value than are the carrying or wearing straps of cameras and binoculars.


The merchandise marketed as "Twin Pack Bubble Pendant" is classified in subheading 7117.90.5000, HTSUSA, the provision for imitation jewelry, other, other, valued over 20 cents per dozen pieces or parts, and is dutiable at a rate of 11% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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