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HQ 952431

January 15, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952431 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 6304.92.0000

Mr. Marcos Lizarraga
Brown, Alcantar & Brown, Inc.
9630 Plaza Circle
El Paso, Texas 79927

RE: Oil Paintings on Velveteen; Not Paintings Executed Entirely by Hand

Dear Mr. Lizarraga:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of July 24, 1992, on behalf of your client, concerning the tariff classification of articles identified as velvet oil paintings, to be imported from Mexico by RPM Sales Corp. Samples consisting of a pencil drawing subsequently converted into a stencil, an illustrated book of painting techniques, and a finished painting, were submitted with your inquiry.


The articles at issue are paintings executed on velveteen (cotton) in a process involving several steps. The artist draws the subject(s) on paper with a pencil. The paper is then perforated along both the drawing's outline and its prominent features, creating a stencil. The stencilled paper is then laid on top of velveteen. Powder is placed on the paper and rubbed over and through the tiny perforations, a "transfer technique" which creates a powdered outline of the subject(s) on the velveteen. The stencil and any excess powder are lifted off of the velveteen. The artist then paints the work with brush and oil, using the powdered dot outline for guidance. At some point after removal of the stencil, a "silhouette technique" may also
be used. This technique involves covering painted subjects with a thick-stock silhouette (or mask), hand-made by the artist, in order to paint other portions of the velveteen without marking those previously worked.


Whether the articles are classified under heading 9701, HTSUSA, as paintings executed entirely by hand; or under heading 6304, HTSUSA, as other furnishing articles.


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 9701, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for "[p]aintings, drawings and pastels, executed entirely by hand...." The EN to heading 9701 emphasizes that the group covers paintings executed entirely by hand. The EN further states that, as these works must be executed entirely by hand, articles obtained wholly or partly by any other process are excluded (all emphases in original). The EN suggests some examples of excluded articles, which include (but are not limited to) paintings executed by hand on an outline or on a drawing obtained by ordinary engraving or printing processes, and so- called "authentic copies" of paintings obtained by means of a number of masks or stencils, even if certified authentic by the artist.

In your ruling request, you essentially assert that, although techniques involving a single stencil and, in some cases, a single mask or silhouette, are used to produce the articles, they are properly classified as paintings executed
entirely by hand. You state that since the drawing, the stencil, the mask (each of which are said to be used for one painting only, then discarded), and the painting are all produced by the hand of the same artist, without the use of an ordinary engraving or printing process, there is no basis upon which to exclude the paintings from classification under heading 9701, HTSUSA.

We disagree. The fact that these paintings are executed by hand without recourse to the few example processes identified in the EN, does not mandate their classification as paintings executed entirely by hand. The subject articles are partly obtained by a process in which a powder outline of the subject(s) is transferred to the painting surface through a stencil, providing guidance to the painter. We find that this process excludes these works from the group of paintings executed entirely by hand. The articles are therefore not classifiable as paintings under heading 9701, HTSUSA.

Heading 6304, HTSUSA, provides, in part, for "[o]ther furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404...." The EN to heading 6304 indicates, in pertinent part, that the heading covers articles of textile materials for use in the home, public buildings, theatres, and churches, including wall hangings and textile furnishings for ceremonies. It is our determination that the oil paintings on velveteen are classified in subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for other furnishing articles...not knitted or crocheted, of cotton.


The velvet oil paintings are classified as "[o]ther furnishing articles...: Other: Not knitted or crocheted, of cotton" in subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA, textile category 369. The applicable duty rate for this subheading is 7.2 percent ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since
part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.


John Durant, Director

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