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HQ 089890

December 27, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089890 EAB


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.4000

District Director
United States Customs Service
909 First Avenue, Room 2039
Seattle, Washington 98174

RE: Internal Advice Request No. 36/91; Battle Sounds Action Figure set; sets; HRL 089969; HRL 088463

Dear Sir:

This request for Internal Advice was initiated by a letter dated April 17, 1991, from the law firm of Rode & Qualey on behalf of Azrak-Hamway International, Inc.


The merchandise is identified as U.S. FORCES BATTLE SOUNDS [TM] BACKPACK. Various items listed or catalogued that are the subject of this request all basically consist of an action figure doll, a stand, a weapon, and a battery operated electronic backpack that emits the sound/s.

The backpack has a removable harness which permits it to be fitted to most 3 & 3/4" action dolls, including GI Joe [R], American Defense [R] and U.S. Forces [TM] dolls.

On behalf of the importer, it is contended that the backpack and doll are not dedicated for use together, that the backpack may be used interchangeably with dolls such as those listed hereinabove; therefore, they do not constitute a "set" for purposes of classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). It is not disputed, however, that the Battle Sounds [TM] backpack is sold with and in the same sealed packaging as the particular doll, together with a stand and at least one weapon.


What is the proper classification of a Battle Sounds Action figure set?


Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUSA. The tariff classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUSA and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

With particular regard to the classification of items put up in sets for retail sale, GRI 3(b) provides in part that:

[G]oods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

In order to classify the subject merchandise, first it must be determined if the goods constitute a set, then, if so, which component imparts the essential character to the set.

As to the preliminary issue, Explanatory Note X to Rule 3(b) allows that the phrase "goods put up in sets for retail sale" means goods that:

(a) consist of a least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings * * *;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking * * *

We find that the subject merchandise is a set that (a) consists of a doll that would be classified under heading 9502, HTSUSA, a provision for dolls, and the toy weapons that would be classified under heading 9503, HTSUSA, a provision for other toys, etc.; (b) consists of articles put up together to meet the particular need or carry out the specific activity of manual war- gaming; and, (c) are in fact imported and put up together in a sealed retail package in a manner that is suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

We further find that the essential character of the set is imparted by the action figure. While the Battle Sounds [TM] electronic device may well distinguish the subject goods in the marketplace from sets not containing such an accessory, the essence of what is being sold is warrior doll. Cf., HRL 089969 (September 13, 1991), wherein a doll containing a battery pack, such that the doll "talked" when squeezed in certain areas, is a doll; and HRL 088463 (May 14, 1991), a stuffed toy containing a sound device that emitted chick-like sounds when "Squeaky Chick" was shaken or squeezed in certain areas, is a stuffed toy.


Battle Sound [TM] Action Figures are sets classifiable under subheading 9502.10.4000, HTSUSA, a provision for dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof, dolls, whether or not dressed, other, not over 33 cm in height. Merchandise classified under the foregoing subheading and entered in calendar year 1990 were dutiable at the general rate of 12 percent ad valorem.

You should inform the importer of this ruling.


John Durant, Director

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