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HQ 952830

February 1, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952830 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 9503.80.20

Mr. Peter A. Pennesi
Import Supervisor
V. Alexander & Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 30250
Memphis, TN 38130-0250

RE: Santa's Ski Slope; Heading 9503, HTSUSA; Other toy

Dear Mr. Pennesi:

This is in response to your letter of August 10, 1992, submitted on behalf of Mr. Christmas, regarding the proper classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of Santa's Ski Slope. You submitted a sample with your request for a binding ruling.


The article, imported from Hong Kong, consists of a rigid hoop of track with 4 individual figures that are pulled up a ski lift, operated by an electric motor. The figures, one of which depicts Santa Claus and the others which depict skiers, ski their way around to the bottom of the track where they are pulled up the lift again. The track operates continuously and can be affixed to the middle of a tree or may be operated on any flat surface.


Whether Santa's Ski Slope is classifiable in heading 9503, HTSUSA, as an other toy or is classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA, 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 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 article's primary function is to amuse and not to decorate. In addition, when examining the ski slope, as a whole, it is evident that the article is not traditionally associated or
used with the particular festival of Christmas. The ski slope is not ejusdem generis with those articles cited in the EN's to 9505, as exemplars of traditional, festive articles. Although the inquirer submits that the ski slope may be mounted on a Christmas tree as an ornament, it appears that the article's weight and bulk indicate that it is unlikely to serve as a tree ornament. Rather, the article primarily will function on the floor or another flat surface. The ski slope must be classified elsewhere.

Heading 9503, HTSUSA, pertains in part, to "other toys." The EN's to Chapter 95, HTSUSA, indicate that "this chapter covers toys of all kinds whether designed for the amusement of children or adults." It is Customs position that the amusement requirement means that toys should be designed and used principally for amusement. See Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUSA. Customs defines principal use as that use which exceeds each other single use of the article. In this case, since the ski slope will be principally used as a toy, it is classifiable in 9503. As the article incorporates an electric motor the appropriate subheading is 9503.80.20.


Santa's Ski Slope is classifiable in subheading 9503.80.20, HTSUSA, as "Other toys;...: Other toys and models, incorporating a motor, and parts and accessories thereof: Toys (except models): Incorporating an electric motor." The general column one rate of duty is 6.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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