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HQ 952821

March 3, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952821 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.80; 9505.10.40

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 619050
1205 Royal Lane
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX 75261

RE: Internal Advice Request No. 64/92; Rocking Chair Santa Claus, Hanging Witch, Hanging Vampire; Heading 9505, festive article; Heading 9502, doll; HRL's 952520, 951422, 952249, 950698

Dear Sir:

This is in response to Internal Advice Request No. 64/92, initiated by a letter dated September 2, 1992, submitted by DJS International Services, Inc., P.O. Box 612785 Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, TX 75261, on behalf of Gemmy Industries Corporation. The request regards the classification of a Rocking Chair Santa Claus, Hanging Witch, and Hanging Vampire under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The articles at issue, which are imported from either China or Taiwan, are as follows:

1. The Rocking Chair Santa Claus is a Santa Claus figure approximately 2 feet in length sitting in a wooden and plastic rocking chair. The figure's face, hands, and torso are plastic, while its outfit, beard, and moustache are textile. There is a compartment in the bottom of the chair for batteries which power the music module. A device within the article shifts the article's weight causing the rocking chair to begin rocking, and to continue moving in this manner.

2. The Hanging Witch is a figure of a witch approximately 24 inches in length, designed to be suspended from a point by a plastic string attached to the back. When the battery is activated by sound or touch, the eyes light up and the witch vibrates and makes eerie sounds.

3. The Hanging Vampire is a figure of a male vampire approximately 24 inches in length, designed to be suspended from a point by a plastic string attached to the back. When the battery is activated by sound or touch, the vampire vibrates, its eyes light up, and it makes eerie sounds.


Whether the Santa Claus, witch and vampire figures are classifiable in heading 9502 as dolls 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.

The Santa Claus, witch, and vampire figures are made of non- durable material. Customs will consider these articles 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). Moreover, when examining the articles, as a whole, it is evident that the Santa Claus figure is traditionally associated or used with the particular festival of Christmas.

We note that the instant articles are not animated display figures, but are other types of figures or dolls. Characteristically, animated display figures are constructed of various materials and their torsos include a motor which when plugged into an electrical socket, and switched on, causes the figure's head, arms, etc. to move (usually, synchronously from side to side).

Generally, figurines and dolls are not traditionally associated or used with a particular festival; 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 Santa Claus figure has a beard, moustache, and fat belly and wears a fur-lined cap, oversized coat with buckle, and boots, indicates that the article is identifiable upon importation as Santa Claus. Also, the article is three dimensional, because it is not designed or effective primarily as a flat or surface composition, but rather is 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 figure is classifiable, pursuant to GRI 1, in 9505 as a festive article. See Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL's) 952520, issued October 22, 1992, and 951422, issued November 25, 1992.

The Santa figure is classifiable within subheading 9505.10 which provides for articles for Christmas festivities. At the eight digit subheading level, the Santa figure is not classifiable in subheadings 9505.10.10, 9505.10.15 and 9505.10.25 which cover Christmas ornaments of glass, wood and other, respectively. The Santa figure does not meet our criteria for Christmas ornaments. See HRL 951422, 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 Santa figure is not composed primarily of plastic, it is classifiable in subheading 9505.10.50.

In contrast, it is Customs' position, that the witch and vampire figures are not traditionally associated or used with a particular festival. Witches, vampires, ghosts and other scary beings are not particularly related to Halloween since they often appear in mythology, movies or cartoons of no significance to Halloween. These articles are not ejusdem generis with articles cited in the EN's to 9505, as exemplars of traditional, festive articles. The articles must be classified elsewhere. See HRL 952249, issued October 30, 1992.

Heading 9502, HTSUSA, provides for dolls representing human beings. The EN's to 9502 state that "the heading includes not only dolls designed for the amusement of children, but also dolls intended for decorative purposes (e.g., boudoir dolls, mascot dolls), or for use in Punch and Judy or marionette shows, or those of a caricature type. [Dolls] may be jointed and contain mechanisms which permit limb, head or eye movements as well as reproductions of the human voice, etc...."

Heading 9503 provides for other toys and reduced-size ("scale") models. The EN's to 9503 state that, inter alia, the heading covers:

(A) All toys not included in headings 95.01 and 95.02. Many of the toys of this heading are mechanically or electrically operated.

These include:

(1) Toys representing animals or non-human creatures even if possessing predominantly human physical characteristics (e.g., angels, robots, devils, monsters), including those for use in marionette shows.

In the past, Customs has issued several decisions which address the relationship between headings 9502 and 9503 in light of the above Explanatory Notes. These decisions focus on the fact that heading 9502 restricts its coverage to include dolls representing only human beings.

The witch and vampire figures fit the description of "dolls representing only human beings," as opposed to non-human creatures. In this regard, we emphasize that neither figure possesses non-human features, that is, body parts that do not exist on human beings (e.g., halos, wings, horns, tails, etc.). Although the nose, chin, or teeth of these figures may be bigger and longer than seen on humans, these features are merely embellishments or alterations of human physical attributes. This does not mean the figures possess non-human features or body parts which make the figures non-human.

We also note that Customs, in the past, has considered whether a figure is widely recognized or established in popular culture as a non-human creature, to be some indicia of that figure's classification as a "non-human creature," as opposed to a "doll." It is Customs position that this consideration (e.g., the figures' recognition in popular culture) does not compel us to classify witches and vampires as non-human creatures. Rather, they are classifiable as dolls. See HRL 950698, issued March 20, 1992.

For these reasons, the witch and vampire figures are classifiable in heading 9502. The applicable subheading is 9502.10.8000.


The Rocking Chair Santa Claus 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.

The Hanging Witch and Hanging Vampire are classifiable in subheading 9502.10.8000, HTSUSA, as "Dolls, representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof: Dolls, whether or not dressed: Other: Other: Other." The general column one rate of duty is 12 percent ad valorem.

You should advise the internal advice applicant of this decision and forward them a copy.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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