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HQ 089933

November 8, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089933 STB


TARIFF NO.: 9701.10.0000

Ms. Elizabeth W. Estes
1682 Hilton Head Court #2303
El Cajon, CA 92019

RE: Batiks; Paintings of Heading 9701

Dear Ms. Estes:

This is in response to your July 8, 1991, letter requesting the tariff classification of batik paintings to be imported from China. A sample and two photographs were submitted with your request.


The submitted sample is a 22-1/2" x 30" colored cloth with wax painting thereon depicting native dancing girls using large paddles to stir a pot on the ground. Birds and fowl are pictured nearby.

Wax paintings, also known as batik, are made by hand. The only manufactured items are some of the dyes and the cloth or paper canvas. You state that the wax paintings are hand made pieces of artwork to be framed and hung on the wall. They will be imported framed and unframed according to customer requirements. Among the framed pieces, some will be framed on Chinese scrolls and others will be framed in the traditional western style either in the U.S. or in Mexico.

The creation process for batik paintings is normally as follows: (1) The outlines of the images of the paintings are first sketched on paper and then transferred to the piece of material. (2) The wax is then heated and applied with a thin brush to the areas where the cloth to be dyed is not wanted. (3) This process is repeated for each color, starting with the lightest and moving to the darkest. (4) After each dyeing the batik is hung to dry. (5) After the dyeing is completed, a piece of newspaper is placed on top of the painting and a hot iron is passed over it to remove the wax. (Regardless of the number of batiks made, the same step by step process explained above must
be followed for each one.)


Whether the batiks are classifiable as "paintings" in heading 9701, HTSUSA.

What are the marking requirements?



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.

The subject batik paintings may be classified by reference to GRI 1. Heading 9701, HTSUSA, provides for "[p]aintings ...executed entirely by hand...." 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 9701 indicates that the heading covers:

[P]aintings, drawings and pastels (whether ancient or modern) executed entirely by hand. These works may take the form of... wax paintings..., etc., executed on any material. (Underscore added.)

As the batiks in question are wax paintings executed entirely by hand, they are classifiable in heading 9701, HTSUSA. This same conclusion was reached in Headquarters Ruling Letter 089762, dated October 2, 1991, which concerned similar merchandise.


Articles of a class or kind specified in Section 134.33, Customs Regulations, are excepted from the requirements of country of origin marking in accordance with the provisions of section 304(a)(3)(J), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C.

1304(a)(3)(J)). Works of art are included on the list. We consider the submitted sample to constitute a work of art within the meaning of this provision. The fact that it is classified as a painting executed entirely by hand supports this conclusion. Accordingly, the batik is excepted from marking; however, the outermost container in which the batik is imported must be marked to indicate the country of origin. In addition, if the batik is to be repacked in new containers after release from Customs custody, the certification requirements set forth in section 134.25, Customs Regulations, apply.


The batiks are classifiable in subheading 9701.10.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for paintings, drawings and pastels, executed entirely by hand, other than drawings of heading 4906 and other than hand-painted or hand-decorated manufactured articles; collages and similar decorative plaques; all of the foregoing framed or not framed: paintings, drawings and pastels. Articles classifiable in subheading 9701.10.0000, HTSUSA, are entitled to duty free entry into the U.S. The batiks are excepted from individual marking; however, the outermost container is required to be marked.


John Durant, Director

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