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HQ 089090

July 10, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089090 SLR


TARIFF NO.: 0505.90.0040

District Director of Customs
610 South Canal Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607

RE: Request for Internal Advice - Zucker Feather Products Chicago District Seizure 91 3901 00245

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your April 3, 1991, request for internal advice regarding the proper classification of certain feather products imported into the United States from the Republic of South Africa.


Counsel for the importer describes the merchandise as follows:

The subject merchandise consists of feather dusters. The dusters are imported in various sizes which correspond generally to feather length. The feathers are bunched in a number suitable for a particular size duster. These feathers are tightly bound, forming the head of the duster. A wooden handle is attached to the base of the duster head. The wooden handle and the base of the duster head are then covered by a molded plastic cover which is stapled to the wooden handle.

Samples of the above-described merchandise were supplied to Customs Headquarters. An inspection of the submitted samples reveals that the plastic handle covers referred to by counsel are very thin and are of poor quality, and that many of the staples holding the products together are loose and may soon fall off. We further note that the feathers are organized one atop the other rather than in a circular configuration.

Information supplied by counsel indicates that after importation, the "feather dusters" are disassembled, and the feathers further processed. This involves cleaning, sorting, bleaching and sometimes dying. After this processing, the feathers are manufactured into various articles such as headwear, boas and novelty items, or sold as feathers.

Counsel maintains that the merchandise at issue is classifiable as feather dusters in subheading 9603.90.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You, however, disagree. You believe that the ostrich feathers are being disguised as feather dusters in order to circumvent the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 [hereinafter the "Anti-Apartheid Act"] prohibiting the importation of agricultural products from South Africa. Consequently, four cartons of the "feather dusters" have been seized pursuant to Title 19, United States Code, Section 1595a(c) for violation of Title 31, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 545.205.


Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable as feather dusters in subheading 9603.90.4000, 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 9603, HTSUSA, provides for, among other things, feather dusters.

As the subject samples are made up of feathers and are capable of dusting, it may well appear, at first blush, that they are classifiable as feather dusters under the HTSUSA. However, given the overlapping, one-on-top-of-the-other configuration of the feathers which is contrary to the normal feather duster configuration, the flimsy construction of the articles' plastic handle component, and the actual use of the feathers, we are hard pressed to classify these products as feather dusters in heading 9603. Rather, we are of the opinion that they are more properly classifiable as crude bird feathers in heading 0505, HTSUSA.

We recognize that in the absence of deception, disguise, or artifice resorted to for the purpose of perpetrating a fraud upon the revenue, imported merchandise must be classified in its condition as imported, and that disassembly after importation is not relevant for classification purposes.

Nonetheless, in light of counsel's submission regarding the use being made of the alleged feather dusters, we are of the opinion that the proferred classification of the merchandise as feather dusters may well amount to an attempt to circumvent specific prohibitions established by Congress. In order to assist you with respect to your determination of the appropriate action to take with respect to the matter, we are providing you with a copy of counsel's submission regarding the end use of these feather products.

We note that in a memorandum to the Chief, Penalties Branch from the Chief, General Classification Branch, dated April 11, 1989, this office stated that merchandise very similar to the type at issue was classifiable as feather dusters in item 750.35, Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated. In light of the foregoing and upon further review of this matter, we are no longer of the opinion that the articles there in issue were feather dusters.


The merchandise is classifiable in subheading 0505.90.0040, HTSUSA, which provides for skins and other parts of birds, with their feathers or down, feathers and parts of feathers (whether or not with trimmed edges) and down, not further worked than cleaned, disinfected or treated for preservation; powder and waste of feathers or parts of feathers: other, other. The merchandise is subject to the Anti-Apartheid Act's prohibition against the importation of agricultural products.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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