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HQ 951416

November 25, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 951416 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 0604.99.30

Ms. Rebecca Cheung
R.H. Macy Corporate Buying
Eleven Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001-2006

RE: Modification of NYRL 853221; Rattan wreath in 0604, HTSUSA; Foliage, branches and other parts of plants, of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes; Not 9505, festive article.

Dear Ms. Cheung:

In New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 853221 issued June 25, 1990, a rattan wreath, imported from the Philippines, was classified in 9505.10.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as "Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles,...: Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other." We have reviewed that ruling and have found it to be partially in error. The correct classification is as follows.


The article at issue, style #06-WF-18-CG, is a rattan wreath measuring seventeen inches in diameter. From previous information submitted and from a telephone conversation with your staff on October 1, 1992, Customs has learned that the article is decorated with natural pine cones, artificial leaves, natural hollies, natural fern, seed pods and a bow at the bottom. Affixed to the top of the wreath is a loop, for hanging.


Whether the rattan wreath is classifiable in heading 9505 as a festive article or in heading 0604 as foliage, branches and other parts of plants, being goods of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in their appropriate order provide a framework for classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA. Most imported goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. The Explanatory Notes (EN's) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's.

Heading 9505 provides for, inter alia, festive, carnival and other entertainment articles. The EN's to 9505 indicate that the heading covers:

(A) Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, which in view of their intended use are generally made of non-durable material. They include:

(1) Decorations such as festoons, garlands, Chinese lanterns, etc., as well as various decorative articles made of paper, metal foil, glass fibre, etc., for Christmas trees (e.g., tinsel, stars, icicles), artificial snow, coloured balls, bells, lanterns, etc. Cake and other decorations (e.g., animals, flags) which are traditionally associated with a particular festival are also classified here.

(2) Articles traditionally used at Christmas festivities, e.g., artificial Christmas trees (these are sometimes of the folding type), nativity scenes, Christmas crackers, Christmas stockings, imitation yule logs....

In general, merchandise is classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA, as a festive article when the article, as a whole:

1. is of non-durable material or, generally, is not purchased because of its extreme worth, or intrinsic value (e.g., paper, cardboard, metal foil, glass fiber, plastic, wood);

2. functions primarily as a decoration (e.g., its primary function is not utilitarian); and

3. is traditionally associated or used with a particular festival (e.g., stockings and tree ornaments for Christmas, decorative eggs for Easter).

An article's satisfaction of these three criteria is indicative of classification as a festive article. The motif of an article is not dispositive of its classification and, consequently, does not transform an item into a festive article.

Customs will consider an article, such as the wreath, to be made of non-durable material since it is not designed for sustained wear and tear, nor is it purchased because of its extreme worth or value (as would be the case with a decorative, yet costly, piece of art or crystal). In addition, the article's primary function is decorative, as opposed to, utilitarian. It is apparent, the wreath serves no useful function besides its role as a decoration.

However, when examining the wreath, as a whole, it is evident that the article is not traditionally associated or used with the particular festival of Christmas. In Headquarters' Ruling Letter (HRL) 950999, issued April 16, 1992, various wreaths and garlands, with artificial foliage, were classified in 9505.10.40 as festive articles for Christmas festivities. Following is the language from HRL 950999 wherein Customs explained which types of garlands, wreaths, etc. would be classifiable in 9505.10 as festive articles for Christmas festivities.

Those artificial foliage items which qualify as Christmas articles of subheading 9505.10 include wreaths, garlands, candle rings, centerpieces -- complete articles -- made up of foliage commonly and traditionally associated with Christmas [i.e., artificial poinsettias, pine cones, pine needle leaves, evergreen branches, holly berries, holly leaves, laurel leaves, or mistletoe (singly or combination thereof)]. (This largely restates Customs position under the TSUS). These articles can be further decorated with plastic sleighs, miniature Santas, glass balls, ribbon, etc. Stylized/modern versions of Christmas wreaths, garlands, etc. (i.e., those articles decorated with neon poinsettias, mauve glass balls, etc.) also qualify as festive.

At the present time, based on the information before us, there is no other artificial foliage traditionally associated with any other holiday. Hence, only Christmas foliage of the type described above is classifiable in heading 9505. The rest is classifiable in Chapter 67.

Note that picks, sprigs, sprays, swags, branches, -- incomplete articles -- no matter what they are made of or what flower they represent, are all classifiable in Chapter 67 -- the only exception being mistletoe sprays which are classifiable in 9505.10.

It is Customs position that the wreath at issue in this case is not of the type described in HRL 950999. We note that the instant wreath is primarily composed of rattan, fern, pine cones, and holly, all of which are natural, as opposed to artificial, and that rattan and fern are not foliage traditionally associated with Christmas. Therefore, the wreath is not classifiable in 9505.

Alternatively, heading 0604 provides for foliage, branches and other parts of plants, suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes. In this regard, the EN's to 0604 indicate that the heading includes:

...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.).

Whereas the wreath is adorned, primarily, with decorative material that is natural, as opposed to artificial, the article has the essential character of florists' wares, as referred to in the EN's, and is classifiable in heading 0604. Because the foliage apparently is dried, the appropriate subheading is 0604.99.30.


The rattan wreath is classifiable in subheading 0604.99.30, HTSUSA, as "Foliage, branches and other parts of plants,...being goods of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes, fresh, dried, dyed, bleached, impregnated or otherwise prepared: Other: Other: Dried or bleached." The general column one rate of duty provides that the article is duty free.

NYRL 853221 is modified accordingly.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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