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HQ 952578

April 8, 1994

CLA-2-CO:R:C:F 952578K


TARIFF No.: 4911.91.4040

District Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
Champlain, New York 12919

RE: Application For Further Review of Protest No. 0712-92-100881; Collages

Dear Sir:

The following is in response to the referral dated September 10, 1992, from the Acting Assistant District Director, Commercial Operations Division, of the request for further review of the above-referenced protest. Samples or photos were not submitted. A catalogue was submitted and it is returned with our decision.


The consumption entry was liquidated on May 15, 1992, under a dutiable provision of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and a timely protest was filed on August 6, 1992, under 19 U.S.C 1514 claiming that the articles in question should have been liquidated free of duty as collages under subheading 9701.90.00, HTSUS.

Detailed descriptions of the articles were not given. However, a catalogue representing the works of the creator was submitted with the protest. A copy of a shipping invoice was also submitted with the page numbers of the catalogue inserted by hand to the left of the listed articles claimed to be collages free of duty. Based upon this information, our descriptions of the articles follow.

Pages 36, 53, and 32, depict photographs of various subjects such as male and female body parts framed for wall hanging. Page 27 depicts what appears to be painted miniature photographs hung en masse to the ceiling by the use of strings. Page 33, depicts eleven wall hangings containing wearing apparel and a framed
photograph hung within the wall hangings by a string, (and in the corner floor of the room below the hangings is a display of toys such as animals and dolls). Page 39 depicts a woman's dress with miniature framed photographs pinned to the dress. Page 35 depicts two enclosed wall hangings, one containing a garment and a framed cartoon and the other contains a woman's dress with miniature photographs pinned thereto. Page 31 is similar to the article described for page 35. Many of the photographs include some hand- painting.


The issue is whether the works described above are classifiable as collages and similar decorative plaques, under subheading 9710.90.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), free of duty.


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, states that collages and similar decorative plaques provided for under subheading 9701.90.00, HTSUS, consist of:

[B]its and pieces of various animal, vegetable or other materials, assembled so as to form a picture or decorative design or motif and glued or otherwise mounted on a backing, e.g., of wood, paper or textile material. The backing may be plain or it may be hand-painted or imprinted with decorative or pictorial elements which form part of the overall design. Collages range in quality from articles cheaply produced in quantity for sale as souvenirs up to products which require a high degree of craftsmanship and which may be genuine works of art.

For purposes of this group, the term "similar decorative plaques" does not include articles consisting of a single piece of material, even if mounted or glued on a backing, which are more specifically covered by other headings of the Nomenclature such as "ornaments" of plastics, of wood, of base metal, etc. Such articles are classified in their appropriate Headings (headings 44.20, 83.06, etc.). (Emphasis in original.)

Webster's New World Dictionary of American English (Third College Edition) 1988, at page 273, defines the term "collage" as an "art form in which bits of objects such as newspaper, cloth, pressed flowers, etc., are pasted together on a surface in incongruous relationship for their symbolic or suggestive effect."

The articles do not consist of bits and pieces of various animal, vegetable or other materials, glued or otherwise mounted on a backing as stated by EN but rather consist of either individual framed photographs (which may have been partially hand- painted) or a collection of individual framed photographs hanging by strings to a wall or ceiling or to a piece of wearing material. The En, as noted, excludes from classification of collages articles consisting of a single piece of material (such as a photograph within a frame), even if mounted or glued on a backing.


The articles as described above are not classifiable as collages under subheading 9701.90.00, HTSUS.

You are instructed to deny the protest in full.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of the Customs Directive 099 3550-065, Revised Protest Directive, dated August 4, 1993, a copy of this decision attached to Customs Form 19, Notice of Action, should be provided by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this decision and any reliquidations of entries in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior thereto. Sixty days from the date of this decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make this decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

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