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HQ 951727


March 29, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 951727 GGD

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 9503.41.1000; 9902.95.02; 9506.39.0080

Ms. Margaret Hughes-Baldwin
First American Products, Inc.
123 Sunset Drive
Annapolis, Maryland 21403

RE: Animal Figures of Australian Sheepskin

Dear Ms. Hughes-Baldwin:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of April 18, 1992, concerning the tariff classification of Australian sheepskin animal figures, to be imported from Australia by First American Products, Inc. A photograph displaying four different types of figures was submitted with your inquiry and two sample figures (a koala golf club cover and a koala) were subsequently submitted.

FACTS:

The animal figures photographically depicted are identified by item nos. A101 (set of 3 koala golf club covers; sample measures approximately 6 inches by 11 inches), A102 (small sheep in canvas bag, measuring 4 inches by 6 inches), A103 (koala; sample measures approximately 9 inches in height by 5-3/4 inches in width), and A104 (large sheep, measuring 9 inches by 10 inches). The items are made of 100 percent Australian sheepskin. The feel of the koala figure's torso, said to be similar in shape and form to the torsos of both the small and large sheep, indicates the presence of substantial stuffing materials. The figure appears to be fully stuffed.

ISSUES:

Whether the toy animal figures should be classified as stuffed toys, or as toys that are not stuffed.

What is the proper classification of the koala golf club covers?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all 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. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may then be applied. 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 9503, HTSUSA, applies to "other toys," i.e., all toys not specifically provided for in the other headings of chapter 95. Although the term "toy" is not defined in the tariff, the EN to chapter 95 indicates that a toy is an article designed for the amusement of children or adults. For item nos. A103 and A104, therefore, the proper heading is clear, i.e., heading 9503 for toys. The subheadings at issue essentially differentiate between toy animals that are stuffed, and those which are not stuffed.

In determining whether an article classifiable within heading 9503 is stuffed for tariff purposes, it is Customs position that the stuffing materials must impart the shape and form of the torso of the animal or creature. Customs has also held that the "feel" of an article may be relevant to the determination as stuffed or non-stuffed. This long-standing position is based, in part, on the dictionary definition of the verb "stuff," which was adopted in Customs Information Exchange Ruling (C.I.E.) 449/46, issued August 7, 1946. The cited definition is as follows:

Stuff, v. I.t. 1. To fill to distention by crowding something into; cram; pack full; as, to stuff a trunk full of clothes; to stuff the head with knowledge. 2. Specif., to fill with material specially prepared for such use; as, to stuff a cushion, to stuff a fowl for cooking. 3. In taxidermy, to fill out with suitable material (the skin of a bird or beast), and arranged so as to make a life-like form. 4. To cram into a small space; crowd; as, to stuff a newspaper into one's pocket. 5. To fill full or distend by crowding or being crowded into; often with out; as the strangers stuffed the gallery; the sawdust stuffs out the doll's body.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 089334, issued August 26, 1991, Customs, after citing this definition, stated that:

It is apparent that the emphasis of the above definition is upon the filling and/or distending of the article that is "stuffed." There is a generous use of words and phrases such as "cram," "crowd," and "pack full." Customs has reiterated its acceptance of the above definition on many occasions since the C.I.E. ruling was published, and has not altered its rather strict standards concerning the "stuffed" classification of articles similar to the item at issue.

In this case, the stuffing materials do impart the shape and form of the koala figure's torso, which feels fully packed and returns to its original form after being compressed. The toy animal figures of item nos. A103 and A104, are properly classified in subheading 9503.41.1000, HTSUSA.

Item no. A102, consists of 2 components, a small sheep and a canvas bag. The sheep and the bag cannot be classified by reference to GRI 1 because each component is classifiable in a different heading. The small sheep is classifiable in heading 9503, HTSUSA, as a stuffed toy animal (by means of the same analysis used to classify the koala and the large sheep). The canvas bag is classifiable in heading 4202, HTSUSA, as a bag used for the packing of goods. In pertinent part, GRI 2(b) states that:

[t]he classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of Rule 3.

GRI 3(a) directs that, since the two headings each refer to only part of composite item no. A102, the headings are regarded as equally specific. Therefore in determining whether the article will be classified under a provision for the small sheep or a provision for the canvas bag, we next look to GRI 3(b), which states that:

[m]ixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods 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.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) provides the following guidance concerning the essential character determination:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In light of the fact that the canvas bag functions merely to store and/or transport the sheep (the latter clearly also the component of greater value), we find that the stuffed toy animal provides the essential character of the whole article. The small sheep in canvas bag, item no. A102, is properly classified in subheading 9503.41.1000, HTSUSA. In accordance with HRL 086297, issued January 26, 1990, we note that textile articles classified in Chapter 95, HTSUSA, by application of GRI 3(b), are not subject to separate visa requirements or quota restraint levels.

With respect to the koala golf club covers, we note that the ENs to heading 9503 indicate that, although certain toys may be capable of a limited "use," their size and limited functional capacity distinguish them from real instruments or machines.

Since item no. A101, functions to cover and protect a piece of sporting equipment, it may not be classified as a toy under heading 9503.

Heading 9506, HTSUSA, covers other sports equipment and accessories thereof. Subheading 9506.39.0080 covers parts and accessories of golf equipment, other than complete clubs, balls, or parts of golf clubs, which is the proper classification of the koala golf club covers.

HOLDING:

Item nos. A102, A103, and A104, identified as the small sheep in canvas bag, koala, and large sheep, respectively, are properly classified in subheading 9503.41.1000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other toys...: Toys representing animals or non- human creatures...: Stuffed toys...: Stuffed toys." The duty on entries of this merchandise made on or prior to December 31, 1992, is suspended under subheading 9902.95.02, HTSUSA. For merchandise entered after that date, the general column one duty rate of 6.8 percent ad valorem will apply.

Item no. A101, identified as koala golf club covers, is properly classified in subheading 9506.39.0080, HTSUSA, the provision for "Articles and equipment for...other sports...: Golf clubs and other golf equipment; parts and accessories thereof: Other...Other." The applicable general column one duty rate is 4.9 percent ad valorem.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director

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