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HQ 952832

February 19, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952832 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8543.80.90

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

RE: "Holiday Carousel"; Electric Musical Garlands; Heading 9505; Explanatory Note 95.05(A)(1) and (2); Chapter 95, Note 1(t); Explanatory Note 85.43(13); GRI 3; Explanatory Note 3(b)(VIII); HQ 950201; Heading 9208; Explanatory Note 92.08(I); Heading 3926; Heading 9405

Dear Mr. Pennesi:

This is in response to your letter of August 10, 1992, on behalf of Mr. Christmas, Inc., concerning the classification of certain musical garlands under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise is described as the "Holiday Carousel" electric musical garland (style no. 400). It is comprised of a string of six individual plastic carousel horses which ride up and down continuously. Also included in the string is a circus calliope wagon which plays Christmas carols. The article can be strung for display on a Christmas tree or displayed, for example, on a mantlepiece. The horses and wagon are framed with LED lights, and the former are also illuminated by light bulbs. These lights may only be displayed while the carols are played. The garland is powered by an electric motor pack which is attached to a power cord and plug.


Whether the "Holiday Carousel" is classifiable under heading 9505, HTSUS, as an article for Christmas festivities, under heading 9405, HTSUS, as a lighting set for Christmas trees, under 8543, HTSUS, as an electric machine or apparatus, or under heading 3926, HTSUS, as an other article of plastic?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 9505, HTSUS, provides for: "[f]estive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles."

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Explanatory Notes 95.05(A)(1) and (2) (p. 1590) state that:

[t]his 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.

However, chapter 95, note 1(t), HTSUS, states that:

1. This chapter does not cover:

(t) Electric garlands of all kinds (heading No. 94.05).

Because the subject garland is an electric garland, under chapter 95, note 1(t), HTSUS, it is precluded from classification under heading 9505, HTSUS.

We find that the garland is a composite good consisting of different components and is described under headings 9405, 8306 and 8543, HTSUS. The garland is described under heading 3926, HTSUS, which, in part, provides for: "[o]ther articles of plastic . . .", under heading 8543, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter", and under heading 9405, HTSUS, which, in part, provides for: "[l]amps and lighting fittings including searchlights and spotlights and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified or included . . ." We note that Explanatory Note 8543(13) (p. 1402) states that:

[t]he heading includes, inter alia:

(13) Electric musical modules for incorporation in a wide variety of utilitarian or other goods, e.g., wrist watches, cups and greeting cards. These modules usually consist of an electronic integrated circuit, a resistor, a loud speaker and a mercury cell. They contain fixed musical programmes.

GRI 3 states that:

[w]hen, by application of 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to a part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(b) Mixtures, 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.

(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

Because the garland is a composite good made up of different components which are described under different provisions of the HTSUS, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific under GRI 3(a). Therefore, GRI 3(a) fails in establishing classification, and GRI 3(b) becomes applicable. Because the garland is a composite good, under GRI 3(b), we must determine its essential character.

Explanatory Note 3(b)(VIII) (p. 4) states that:

[t]he 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.

It is our position that the essential character of the "Holiday Carousel" is imparted by the electronic device which, when turned on, causes the horses to ride up and down continuously and the calliope wagon to play Christmas carols. We find that the flashing lights have a secondary, ornamental purpose.

Concerning the classification of the garland, it has been suggested that Explanatory Note 92.08 is dispositive. In part, heading 9208, HTSUS, provides for musical boxes. Explanatory Note 92.08(1) (p. 1562) states in part that:

[a]rticles which incorporate a musical mechanism but which are essentially utilitarian or ornamental in function . . . are not regarded as musical boxes within the meaning of this heading. These articles are classified in the same headings as the corresponding articles not incorporating a musical mechanism.

It is our position that Explanatory Note 92.08(1) does not apply to the classification of the merchandise. No claim has been made that the garland is a musical box classifiable under heading 9208, HTSUS. Because there is no language present which applies Explanatory Note 92.08(I) to other provisions in the HTSUS, it is not relevant to the classification of the merchandise. As has been stated, the garland is a composite good consisting of an other article of plastic, a lighting set, and an electronic device. It is our position that the electronic device imparts the essential character of the garland.

Consequently, the "Holiday Carousel" is classifiable under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: [o]ther machines and apparatus: [o]ther."


The "Holiday Carousel" is classifiable under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS. The general, column one rate of duty is 3.9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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