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HQ 950527

December 31, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950527 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8306.29.00

Mr. Graham Maitland-Smith
Maitland-Smith, Ltd.
Suite 201
2427 Pennyroad
High Point, North Carolina 27265

RE: Tin Chests; EN 83.06; HQ 084124

Dear Mr. Maitland-Smith:

This is in response to your letter of September 26, 1991, requesting the classification of tin chests under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The articles in question are described as hand-painted tin chests. The chests vary in size, the smallest being approximately 13 inches long, 17 inches wide, and 10 inches deep, and the largest being approximately 29 inches long, 23 inches wide, and 14 inches deep. The tin chests come in several variations, which are as follows: tin chest (trunk), hand- painted, rose and classical motif in water color (3 sizes); tin chest (trunk), oval shape, black, hand-painted, grapes design (1 size); tin chest, floral design in white ground, semi-gloss finish (1 size); and tin chest (trunk), oval shape, brown, hand- painted, chain and anchor design (2 sizes). The tin chests' handles are attached to their lids. You claim that these articles are sold as "decorative pieces of furniture" and cannot realistically be used for luggage because they are very heavy, the paint would chip off during travel and there is no means of properly securing their lids.


Whether the tin chests are classifiable under subheading

8306.29.00, HTSUS, which provides for "statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal . . . [o]ther."


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

Heading 8306, HTSUS, provides for "[s]tatuettes and other ornaments, of base metal . . . ." The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, they provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are thus useful in ascertaining classification under the System. EN 83.06, pg. 1122, states that Heading 8306 "comprises a wide range of ornaments of base metal . . . of a kind designed essentially for decoration, e.g., in homes, offices assembly rooms, churches, gardens [emphasis in original]." EN 83.06, pg. 1122, further states that this heading covers household or domestic articles, even though they have a utility value, "if the usefulness of the article is clearly subordinate to its ornamental or fancy character, . . . for example, trays so heavily embossed that their usefulness is virtually nullified; ornaments incorporating a purely incidental tray or container usable as a trinket dish or ash-tray [emphasis added]."

The tin chests are hand-painted with several different ornate designs, including a chain and anchor design and an elaborate "grapes" design. The articles in question are sold as decorative pieces, and are intended to be used in the home as decorations. It is our opinion that these articles are "designed essentially for decoration." Moreover, while they can be used for storage, the tin chests' utility as a storage device is "clearly subordinate" to their ornamental or fancy character. See, e.g., HQ 084124, dated February 26, 1990 (zinc train bank's ornamental purpose was found to be clearly subordinate to its utilitarian purpose of saving coins). Thus, according to GRI 1 and EN 83.06, the articles are classifiable under subheading 8306.29.00, HTSUS, which provides for "statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal . . . [o]ther. "


The tin chests are classifiable under subheading 8306.29.00, HTSUS, which provides for "statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal . . . [o]ther." The corresponding rate of duty for
articles of this subheading is 5% ad valorem. However, because the Phillipines is a designated beneficiary developing country, the rate of duty is free if the regulations for the Generalized System of Preferences are met.


John Durant, Director

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