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HQ 952966

January 15, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952966 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.40, 9505.10.50

Mr. Marty Langtry
Castelazo & Associates
5420 West 104th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90045

RE: Classification of Santa Claus figurines in heading 9505, HTSUSA, Festive articles; Not 3926, Other articles of plastics; Not 6913 statuettes and other ornamental ceramic articles; HRL 952520

Dear Mr. Langtry:

This is in response to your letter dated October 9, 1992, requesting the proper classification of Santa Claus figurines, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You submitted samples with your request for a binding ruling.


The articles, imported from China, are two Santa Claus figurines, one of porcelain (item #XN 4015), the other of plastic (item #XN 0103). The porcelain statuette wears long white robes with a big red coat, a red cap with white trim, and black boots. A bag full of gifts hangs over its right shoulder. The figurine is clasping a bell in its left hand. Its height ranges from approximately 6 to 12 inches. The plastic statuette is made of poly resin. It wears a red coat, a red cap, and black boots. The figurine is carrying a sack of toys on his back and is holding another in its hands. It is approximately six inches in height.


Whether the Santa figurines are classifiable in heading 3926 as other articles of plastics, 6913 as statuettes and other ornamental ceramic articles, or 9505 as festive articles.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in their appropriate order provide a framework for classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA. Most 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 Santa figurines are made of non-durable material. Customs will consider articles, such as the Santa figurines, to be made of non-durable material since they are not designed for sustained wear and tear, nor are they purchased because of their extreme worth or value (as would be the case with a decorative, yet costly, piece of art or crystal).

Next, the articles' primary function is decorative, as opposed to, utilitarian. It is apparent, the Santa figurines serve no useful function besides their role as decoration.

Finally, when examining the Santa figurines, as a whole, it is evident that the articles are traditionally associated or used with the particular festival of Christmas. Generally, figurines and dolls are not traditionally associated or used with the particular festival of Christmas; they are not ejusdem generis with those articles cited in the EN's to 9505, as exemplars of traditional, festive articles. However, Santa Claus is a unique form that traditionally has been associated, particularly and exclusively, with Christmas. Since the motif of an article is not dispositive of its classification, only three dimensional forms of Santa Claus, identifiable as such upon importation, are classifiable within 9505 as festive articles.

The fact that the instant figurines have a beard, moustache and fat belly, wear a fur-lined, oversized coat and a cap, and carry a sack of gifts indicates that the articles are identifiable upon importation as Santa Claus. Also, the articles are three dimensional, because they are not designed or effective primarily as a flat or surface composition, but rather are specifically designed to give an illusion of depth or varying distances. See Webster's Third New International Dictionary 2474 (1971). For these reasons, the Santa Claus figurines are classifiable, pursuant to GRI 1, in 9505 as festive articles. See Headquarters Ruling Letter 952520, issued October 22, 1992.

The Santa figurines are classifiable within subheading 9505.10 which provides for articles for Christmas festivities. As for the proper classification of the Santa figurines 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. the item is advertised and sold as a Christmas tree ornament;

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

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

The Santa figurines do not meet these criteria. Consequently, they are not classifiable as Christmas ornaments.

Subheading 9505.10.40, covers other Christmas articles of plastics, while subheading 9505.10.50, covers other Christmas articles made of other materials. As one of the Santa figurines is composed of plastic and the other is composed of porcelain they are classified in subheadings 9505.10.40 and 9505.10.50, respectively.


The Santa Claus figurine (item #XN 0103) composed of plastic is classifiable in subheading 9505.10.4000, HTSUSA, as "Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles,...Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Other [than Christmas ornaments]: Of plastics." The general column one rate of duty is 8.4 percent ad valorem.

The Santa Claus figurine (item #XN 4015) composed of porcelain 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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