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HQ 953507

July 9, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 953507 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.4000

Ms. Laurie Everill
Customs Specialist
J.C. Penney Purchasing Corporation
P.O. Box 10001
Dallas, TX 75301-0001

RE: Decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands; Subheading 9505.10.40, Festive articles, Articles for Christmas festivities, Of plastics; HRL 950999.

Dear Ms. Everill:

This is in response to your letter of February 24, 1993, on behalf of J.C. Penney Purchasing Corporation, regarding the classification of artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Photographs were submitted for our examination. The Value and Marking Branch of our office will respond separately to you regarding the marking issue.


The artificial trees, wreaths, and garlands are made of polyvinyl chloride evergreen and pine needle leaves and branches. They will be imported into the U.S. decorated with various hanging ornaments, ribbons, artificial foliage, and lights. The merchandise, which will be displayed in the J.C. Penney stores solely for decorative and marketing purposes, includes the following:

1) 7 and 5 foot Christmas trees (Lot #7448 and #7449) including ribbons, plastic balls, plastic pine cones, metal Santa ornaments, red foil balls, plastic drum ornaments, and holly berries with leaves;

2) 40 and 30 inch wreaths (Lot #7452 and #7453) including ribbons, plastic berries, and plastic pine cones;

3) 10 foot garlands (Lot #7450) including ribbons and plastic berries;

4) 10 foot garlands (Lot #7451) including plastic berries, ribbons, plastic pine cones, and a rod iron stand;

5) wreaths (Lot #7454) including ribbons, berries with leaves, pine cones, and a rod iron stand;

6) 7 and 5 foot Christmas trees (Lot #7461 and #7462) including plastic ball ornaments, ribbons, bows, styrofoam ornaments, and icicle spiral ornaments;

7) 10 foot garlands (Lot #7463) including plastic ball ornaments, ribbons, bows, and icicle ornaments;

8) 7 and 5 foot Christmas trees (Lot #7455 and #7496) including ribbons, berries, and styrofoam ball ornaments;

9) 30 inch wreaths and 10 foot garlands (Lot #7459 and #7456) including berries, ribbons, and styrofoam ball ornaments;

10) garlands (Lot #7457) including ribbons, ball ornaments, and a rod iron stand;

11) wreaths (Lot #7460) including ribbons, berries, and a rod iron stand; and

12) wreaths (Lot #7464) including berries, lights, and a deer head centerpiece.


Whether the articles are classified, in their entirety, in subheading 9505.10.40, HTSUSA, as festive articles, articles for Christmas festivities, other, of plastics or are classified in separate HTSUSA headings providing for their individual components.


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. 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 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 articles are made of non-durable material. Customs will consider these articles, of artificial foliage, to be made of non-durable material since they are not designed for sustained wear and tear, nor are 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, they serve no useful function besides their role as decoration.

Finally, when examining the trees, wreaths, and garlands, as a whole, it is evident that the articles are traditionally associated or used with the particular festival of Christmas. Artificial Christmas trees are cited in the EN's to 9505, as exemplars of traditional, festive articles. Furthermore, in Headquarters' Ruling Letter (HRL) 950999, issued April 16, 1992, various wreaths and garlands, with artificial foliage, were classified in 9505.10.40 as festive articles for Christmas festivities. Following is the language from HRL 950999 wherein Customs explained which types of garlands, wreaths, etc. would be classifiable in 9505.10 as festive articles for Christmas festivities.

Those artificial foliage items which qualify as Christmas articles of subheading 9505.10 include wreaths, garlands, candle rings, centerpieces -- complete articles -- made up of foliage commonly and traditionally associated with Christmas [i.e., artificial poinsettias, pine cones, pine needle leaves, evergreen branches, holly berries, holly leaves, laurel leaves, or mistletoe (singly or combination thereof)]. (This largely restates Customs position under the TSUS). These articles can be further decorated with plastic sleighs, miniature Santas, glass balls, ribbon, etc. Stylized/modern versions of Christmas wreaths, garlands, etc. (i.e., those articles decorated with neon poinsettias, mauve glass balls, etc.) also qualify as festive.

At the present time, based on the information before us, there is no other artificial foliage traditionally associated with any other holiday. Hence, only Christmas foliage of the type described above is classifiable in heading 9505. The rest is classifiable in Chapter 67.

Note that picks, sprigs, sprays, swags, branches, -- incomplete articles -- no matter what they are made of or what flower they represent, are all classifiable in Chapter 67 -- the only exception being mistletoe sprays which are classifiable in 9505.10.

It is Customs position that the artificial wreaths and garlands at issue in this case are of the type described in HRL 950999. Although decorated, because the merchandise is still identifiable and distinguishable as Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands, it is classifiable in 9505.10. See GRI 3(b) indicating
that composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components are classified by the component which gives them their essential character.

As for the proper classification at the eight digit subheading level, the articles do not meet the criteria for Christmas ornaments. See HRL 950999, supra.

Subheading 9505.10.40, covers other Christmas articles of plastics, while subheading 9505.10.50, covers other Christmas articles made of other materials. As the trees, wreaths, and garlands are composed of plastic, they are classifiable in subheading 9505.10.40.


The decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands are 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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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