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HQ 952967

March 17, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952967 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.30

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

RE: Porcelain nativity scene figurines of three wise men (Magi), a shepherd, sheep, donkey, cow, and camel; Subheading 9505.10.30, HTSUSA; Festive articles, nativity scene figures; HRL 087894

Dear Mr. Eisen:

This is in response to your letter dated October 13, 1992, on behalf of Avon Products, Inc. Your inquiry requests the proper classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of porcelain nativity scene figurines. You submitted samples with your request for a binding ruling.


The articles at issue, imported from China and/or Taiwan, are figurines depicting the three wise men, or Magi (Melchior, Kaspar, and Balthasar), a shepherd, sheep, donkey, cow and camel. The figurines range from approximately 3 to 7 inches in height and length. Each figurine is constructed of white, bisque porcelain, incorporates the artist's initials, is dated, and is stamped with the Avon Nativity Collectibles logo. The boxes, in which each figurine is individually packaged, depict the various nativity scenes which one may display upon purchasing the other figurines.


Whether the figurines are classifiable in heading 9505 as festive articles or elsewhere in the HTSUSA.


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 figurines are made of non-durable material. Customs will consider articles, such as the figurines, to be made of non-durable material since they are not 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 figurines serve no useful function besides their role as decorations.

Finally, when examining each figurine, as a whole, it is evident that each article is traditionally associated or used with the particular festival of Christmas. Nativity scenes are cited in the EN's to 9505, as exemplars of traditional, festive articles. When meeting with Customs, counsel cited the language included in subheading 9505.10.30 providing for, "nativity scenes and figures thereof," as evidence that individual figurines are classifiable within this subheading, although they may be imported and purchased individually and not as an entire "scene."

It is our position that figurines commonly and traditionally associated as part of nativity scenes which, upon importation, are identifiable as being destined for such use, are classifiable in 9505.10.30. See The Carrington Co., United Geophysical Corp. v. The United States, 61 CCPA 77, C.A.D. 1126, 496 F. 2d 902 (1974) stating that the classification of an imported article must rest upon its condition as imported. As the subject figurines are commonly and traditionally associated as part of nativity scenes and, upon importation, are identifiable as being destined for such use, they are classifiable in heading 9505 as festive articles. See Headquarters Ruling Letter 087894, issued December 4, 1990. Because the articles qualify as figures of nativity scenes, the appropriate subheading is 9505.10.30.


The nativity scene figures are classifiable in subheading 9505.10.30, HTSUSA, as "Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles,...Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Nativity scenes and figures thereof." The applicable rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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