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HQ 089534

September 13, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089534 SLR


TARIFF NO.: 3924.10.5000

Mr. James Shaw
Customs Manager
Associated Merchandising Corporation
1440 Broadway
New York, NY 10018

RE: Napkin Rings; Household Articles of Plastics of Heading 3924; Not Festive Articles of Heading 9505; Not Artificial Flowers of Heading 6702.

Dear Mr. Shaw:

This is in response to your letter of May 15, 1991, requesting the classification of various napkin rings under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were provided for our examination.


The napkin rings before us are constructed of plastic rings with artificial poinsettias attached to their tops. Depending upon the particular style number, the poinsettia flower is either gold, red, or silver. The style numbers currently under examination are LH 0927/2A (gold), LH 0928A (red), and LH 0927/1A (silver).


What is the proper classification of the above-described merchandise under the HTSUSA.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for "[f]estive, carnival or other entertainment articles." The Explanatory Notes, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, offer guidance in understanding the scope of the headings. The Explanatory Note to heading 9505 indicates that the heading covers:

(A) Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles which in view of their intended use are generally made of non-durable material. They include:

(1) Decorations such as festoons, garlands, Chinese lanterns, etc., as well as various decorative articles made of paper, metal foil, glass fibre, etc., for Christmas trees (e.g., tinsel, stars, icicles), artificial snow, coloured balls, bells, lanterns, etc. Cake and other decorations (e.g., animals, flags) which are traditionally associated with particular festival are also classified here.

(2) Articles traditionally used at Christmas festivities, e.g., artificial Christmas trees (these are sometimes of the folding type), nativity scenes, Christmas crackers, Christmas stockings, imitation yule logs.

Items classifiable as festive articles in heading 9505 tend to serve no other purpose than decoration.

The napkin rings at issue are not classifiable as festive articles in heading 9505, HTSUSA, since they serve a utilitarian, rather than decorative, function. Moreover, even with the incorporation of poinsettia flowers, the napkin rings do not qualify as traditional Christmas items. Consequently, their classification must be found elsewhere.

The subject napkin rings are made of two components, plastic rings and artificial flowers, classifiable under two different headings: heading 3924, other household articles of plastics, and heading 6702, artificial flowers and foliage. As directed by GRI 2(b), GRI 3 must be consulted.

GRI 3(a) provides that articles classifiable under two or more headings are to be classified under the heading which provides the most specific description of the good in question. All headings are regarded as equally specific, however, when each refers to part only of the goods.

Each of the headings in question -- heading 3924 and heading 6702 -- refers to part only of the subject merchandise. As the headings are regarded as equally specific, the classification of the napkin rings cannot be determined by application of GRI 3(a). Consequently, we must turn our attention to GRI 3(b).

GRI 3(b) provides that articles made up of different components shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. "Essential character" may be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight, value, or by the role of the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

The plastic ring component represents the essential character of the items in question. While the artificial poinsettias provide consumer appeal, it is the plastic ring component which allows the merchandise to fulfill its intended function. The napkin rings, therefore, are classifiable in heading 3924, HTSUSA.


The napkin rings are classifiable in subheading 3924.10.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics: tableware and kitchenware: other. The applicable duty rate is 3.4 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division.

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