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HQ 952015

September 8, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952015 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.5000

Mr. David A. Eisen
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway
43rd Floor
New York, NY 10036

RE: Jute cord garland with pine cones, artificial pine foliage, satin covered balls, candy canes, ribbons, and miniature sleighs; Heading 9505, festive article; HRL 950999; Not 0604 foliage, branches and other parts of plants.

Dear Mr. Eisen:

This is in response to your inquiry dated May 11, 1992 submitted on behalf of Avon Products, Inc., regarding the proper classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of a garland. You submitted a sample with your request for a binding ruling.


The merchandise at issue is a garland, imported from China and/or Taiwan, which measures approximately six feet in length and consists of jute cord to which various decorative ornaments are attached. The garland includes natural pine cones, red and green colored satin covered balls, red and white striped plastic candy canes, red polyester ribbons and miniature replicas of sleighs, all attached and positioned at various points along the cord. Artificial pine foliage, approximately three inches long, is positioned near the base of each pine cone.

A component material breakdown is as follows: pine cones, 40%; vinyl, 15%; satin, 10%; polyester, 10%; wood, 10%; jute, 10%; and plastic 5%.


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


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in their appropriate order provide a framework for classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA. The majority of 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 0604 provides for, inter alia, 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. Note 2 to Chapter 6, HTSUSA, explains that:

Any reference in heading 0603 or 0604 to goods of any kind shall be construed as including a reference to bouquets, floral baskets, wreaths and similar articles made wholly or partly of goods of that kind, account not being taken of accessories of other materials....

Thus, when classifying the garland, in its entirety, including its natural pine cones, heading 0604 may be considered. 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.).

The garland, when imported in this manner, (e.g., pine cones and artificial pine positioned on a jute cord and accompanied with miniature sleighs, satin covered balls and candy canes) does not appear to have the essential character of florists' wares. The garland is not classifiable within 0604 and must be classified elsewhere.

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.

First, the garland is made of non-durable material. Customs will consider an article, such as the garland, 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).

Next, the article's primary function is decorative, as opposed to, utilitarian. It is apparent, the garland serves no useful function besides its role as a decoration.

Finally, when examining the garland, as a whole, it is evident that the article is traditionally associated or used with the particular festival of Christmas. In Headquarters' Ruling Letter (HRL) 950999, issued April 16, 1992, the following articles were classified in 9505.10.4000 as festive articles for Christmas festivities: a wreath consisting of artificial pine tips, plastic berries, artificial holly leaves, natural pine cones and fiber ribbon; a frosted fir/candle holder wreath with natural pine cones; and a Canadian pine garland. 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 HRL 950999 is indicative of the proper classification of the garland at issue in this case. The instant garland, therefore, is classifiable in 9505.10.

As for the proper classification of the garland at the eight digit subheading level, subheadings 9505.10.10, 9505.10.15 and 9505.10.25 cover Christmas ornaments of glass, wood and other, respectively. To qualify as a Christmas ornament, Customs looks to the following three criteria:

1. that the item is advertised and sold as a Christmas tree ornament;

2. that there is some method, generally a loop attached to the top, to hang the item on a tree; and

3. that the item is not too big or too heavy to be hung or attached to a tree.

The garland does not meet these criteria. Consequently, it is not classifiable as a Christmas ornament.

Subheading 9505.10.40, covers other Christmas articles of plastics, while subheading 9505.10.50, covers other Christmas articles made of other materials. As only a minor portion of the garland is composed of plastic, it is classifiable in subheading 9505.10.50.


The garland is classifiable in subheading 9505.10.5000, HTSUSA, as "Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles,...Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Other (than Christmas ornaments): Other." The general column one rate of duty is 5.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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