United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0088464 - HQ 0088755 > HQ 0088491

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 088491

May 15, 1991

CLA:2 CO:R:C:M 088491 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 6912.00.48

Ms. Jean Maguire
Area Director
U.S. Customs Service
6 World Trade Center
New York, NY 10048

RE: Friendly Farmer Coffee Caddy and Friendly Fellow Sweetener Caddy; Internal Advice 74/90

Dear Ms. Maguire:

Mr. Louis Shoichet of the law firm Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, on behalf of their client, Avon Products, Inc., has requested an internal advice on the proper classification of the "Friendly Farmer Coffee Caddy" and the "Friendly Fellow Sweetener Caddy" under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were submitted for our examination.


The "Friendly Farmer Coffee Caddy" (coffee caddy), imported from Brazil, is a ceramic hollow figurine measuring approximately 6-1/2 inches in height and 4 inches in diameter at its widest point. The coffee caddy is sold with a stainless spoon which fits into the hand of the farmer. The coffee caddy is shaped in the configuration of a farmer with a straw hat and blue denim overalls. The "Friendly Fellow Sweetener Caddy" (sweetener caddy), also imported from Brazil, is a hollow ceramic figurine shaped to resemble a piglet, measuring approximately 3-1/2 inches in length and 2 inches in height. This caddy has an opening in its body that measures approximately 2-1/4 inches in length and 1 inch in height.

Attorneys for the importer argue that the coffee caddy and sweetener caddy are decorative and are designed primarily for display. As a result, they are classifiable in subheading 6913.90.50, HTSUSA, which provides for statuettes and other ornamental ceramic articles, other than of porcelain and china.


Whether the coffee caddy and sweetener caddy are classifiable under the provision for other ornamental ceramic articles, other than porcelain or china in subheading 6913.90.50, HTSUSA, or the provision for ceramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles, other than of porcelain or china, other, in subheading 6912.00.48, HTSUSA.


The classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 6913, HTSUSA, provides for ceramics and other ornamental ceramic articles. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 6913 provide the following:

(B) Tableware and other domestic articles only if the usefulness of the articles is clearly subordinate to their ornamental character, for example, trays molded in relief so that their usefulness is virtually nullified, ornaments incorporating a purely incidental tray or container usable as a trinket dish or ashtray, miniatures having no genuine utility value, etc. In general, however, tableware and domestic utensils are designed essentially to serve useful purposes, and any decoration is usually secondary so as not to impair their usefulness. If, therefore, such decorated articles serve a useful purpose no less efficiently than their plainer counterparts, they are classified in heading 69.11 or 69.12 rather than in this heading.

Attorneys for the importers maintain that the ornamental design and construction of the coffee caddy impairs its usefulness. They refer to its limited size, contours and small opening to support the position that the utilitarian aspect of the farmer caddy is subordinate to its ornamental aspect.

However, our examination of the coffee and sweetener caddies reveals that the ornamental aspects of the caddies do not impair their usefulness as containers. The coffee caddy is designed to store and maintain a limited amount of instant coffee. The caddy has a removable top with a plastic inner seal to insure a tight fit and, thus maintain the freshness of the product. The capacity of the container is reasonable in view of the fact that instant coffee is commonly and commercially available in 4 ounce containers. The mouth of the caddy is approximately the same size as the opening of a commercial 4 ounce jar of instant coffee. In addition, the opening at the top of the farmer's head does not make removal of a spoonful of instant coffee from the caddy difficult. If one uses the spoon that comes with the caddy, its removal is not difficult and spillage is not highly likely. The sweetener caddy is designed to store a limited amount of sweetener packets and its' contoured area is capable of displaying and maintaining these packets for use at the table. Therefore, the ornamental design of the coffee and sweetener caddies in no way impairs their effectiveness as containers.

Moreover, the fact that these items are designed to be used is emphasized in the products' advertising. The marketing literature depicts an open coffee caddy displayed with coffee and the pig holding sugar packets. The consumer catalogue states that the farmer holds up to approximately 4 ounces of coffee and the ceramic pig holds 10-12 packets of sugar or artificial sweetener. The caption below the picture reads "Contents not included." Therefore, both of the caddies' utilitarian aspects are being emphasized as much as their esthetic values. Thus, both caddies are classifiable in subheading 6913.90.50, HTSUSA.


The Friendly Farmer Coffee Caddy and the Friendly Fellow Sweetener Caddy are classifiable in subheading 6912.00.48, HTSUSA, which provides for ceramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles, other than of porcelain or china, other. The rate of duty is 11.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: