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HQ 089470

August 27, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089470 STB


TARIFF NO.: 1404.90.0000

Mr. James R. Page, Jr.
44 Putnam Drive, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30342

RE: Bulk Potpourri

Dear Mr. Page:

This letter is in response to your letter of April 24, 1991, regarding the tariff classification of bulk potpourri, a product of the United Kingdom. A sample was submitted with your inquiry.


The product is described as "dried organic material that has been colored and scented." Commonly known as potpourri, the merchandise will be imported in bulk, then repackaged in the United States and sold at the retail and wholesale level. The sample that was included with your inquiry consists of a variety of whole and broken brightly colored, aromatic plant parts including leaves, petals and flower buds.


What is the proper classification of the subject bulk potpourri?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relevant section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

The headings at issue in this ruling are:

(a) 3307, HTSUSA, Pre-shave, shaving, or after-shave preparations...other perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, not elsewhere specified or included...prepared room deodorizers...;

(b) 0604, HTSUSA, Foliage, branches and other parts of plants, without flowers or flower buds...being goods of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes, fresh, dried, dyed, bleached, impregnated or otherwise prepared;

(c) 1211, HTSUSA, Plants and parts of plants...of a kind used primarily in perfumery, in pharmacy or for insecticidal, fungicidal or similar purposes, fresh or dried, whether or not cut, crushed or powdered;

(d) 1404, HTSUSA, vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included.

It is our determination that the subject merchandise is properly classified in Heading 1404, HTSUSA. As explained below, the other provisions are inapplicable.

Potpourri items are often classified in heading 3307, HTSUSA. Chapter Note 3 states that this heading applies "inter alia" to "scented sachets" as well as various other items. The subheading in which these items often fall is subheading 3307.90.0000, HTSUSA, which applies to "preparations for perfuming or deodorizing rooms, including odoriferous preparations used during religious rites." However, the scope of Heading 3307, HTSUSA, is limited by Chapter Note 2 which indicates that the various products included in headings 3303 to 3307 should be "put up in packings of a kind sold by retail for such use", i.e. such use as indicated by the various chapters. The bulk potpourri in question is not put up in such a retail packing and therefore is not classifiable in heading 3307, HTSUSA.

Heading 0604, HTSUSA, also is not applicable in this instance. As set out in the language of the tariff schedule itself, this provision only applies to "goods of a kind suitable for bouquets or ornamental purposes." The Explanatory Notes to this provision state, in pertinent part:

This heading covers not only foliage, branches, etc, as such, but also bouquets, wreaths, floral baskets and similar articles incorporating foliage or parts of trees, shrubs, bushes or other plants,
or incorporating grasses, mosses or lichens. Provided that such bouquets, etc., have the essential character of florists' wares, they remain in the heading even if they contain accessories of other materials (ribbons, wire frames, etc.).

The meaning of the phrase "suitable for bouquets or ornamental purposes" is made even more clear by the reference in the above explanatory notes to the condition that items of this chapter should have the "essential character of florists' wares." It is our determination that the predominantly broken plant parts which normally comprise potpourri, and which comprise the potpourri at issue here, is not the type of material suitable for use by a florist for bouquets or for ornamental purposes as intended in the HTSUSA. This determination is supported in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088191, dated June 4, 1991.

The next provision to be considered is heading 1211, HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes to this heading state, in pertinent part, as follows:

Certain plants or parts of plants (including seeds or fruits) of this heading may be put up (e.g., in sachets) for making herbal infusions or herbal "teas". Such products consisting of plants or parts of plants (including seeds or fruits) of a single species (e.g., peppermint "tea") remain classified in this heading.

However, the heading excludes such products consisting of plants or parts of plants (including seeds or fruits) of different species (whether or not incorporating plants or plant parts of other headings) or consisting of plants or parts of plants of a single or of different species mixed with other substances, such as one or more plant extracts (heading 21.06). (Emphasis are from the original text.)

In addition to the above, the Explanatory Notes also exclude from this chapter "products which have been mixed" to be put up for retail sale as "perfumery products" and/or to be used for other various purposes.

Thus, the Explanatory Notes for Heading 1211, HTSUSA, exclude from this provision any product that is composed of a mixture of plants and plant parts of different species such as the bulk potpourri at issue.

Since none of the more specific provisions apply to the merchandise at issue, the proper classification provision is the residual provision of heading 1404, HTSUSA. Within that provision, the proper classification is under subheading 1404.90.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included, other.


The subject bulk potpourri is properly classified in subheading 1404.90.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included, other. The merchandise is entitled to a free rate of duty.


John Durant, Director

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