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HQ 953215

JULY 14 1993

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 953215 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 9503.80.20, HTSUS

District Director of Customs
610 Canal Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607

RE: PRD 3901-92-101275; Childrens' Sewing Machine; Toy, Amusement, Utility, Usefulness, Principal Use; Sewing Machine of the Household Type, Subheading 8452.10.00, Section XVI, Note 1(p)

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3901-92-101275, dated October 1, 1992, filed by counsel on behalf of Britains Petite, Inc., against your action in classifying certain childrens' sewing machines from China. The entries under protest were liquidated on July 6, 1992, and this protest timely filed on October 1, 1992.


The merchandise in issue is the Singer lockstitch sewing machine model # 060150. Counsel has abandoned its claim on the chainstitch model # 060450. The model 060150 is advertised for use by children ages 7 and up. It runs on 3 "D" batteries, has an adapter, and is said to perform a strong lockstitch. The machine has the following features: fast/slow stitch length adjustment, working light, tension dial, storage compartment, foot control, store-away bobbin winder, enclosed thread spool holder, pull-out carrying handle, two-speed sewing, two stitch lengths, free arm sewing platform with accessory drawer, store- away bobbin winder, on/off switch, and foot pedal control.

The merchandise was entered under the appropriate provision for sewing machines of the household type. The concerned import specialist determined that these are limited use sewing machines and are of the type regarded as toys for tariff purposes. The entries were liquidated under the appropriate provision for other - 2 -
toys not having a spring mechanism. in subheading 9503.90.60, HTSUS.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8452.10.00 Sewing machines of the household type... Valued not over $20 each.......3.7 percent

9503.90.60 Other toys (except models), not having a spring mechanism...............6.8 percent

Counsel observes that neither the legal notes in the HTSUS nor the Explanatory Notes define the term toy. He notes, however, that under the HTSUS' predecessor tariff code, the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), the term was defined as any article chiefly used for the amusement of children or adults. Schedule 7, Part 5, Subpart E, Headnote 2, TSUS. He notes further that this language closely parallels relevant HTS Explanatory Notes which state that chapter 95 covers toys of all kinds whether designed for the amusement of children or adults. He cites several cases decided under the HTSUS which discuss the issue of toys which are educational versus educational articles with toy features.

Counsel concludes that while this machine may be of some amusement to children, it is not designed for the amusement of children or adults. It is a fully functioning machine with considerable educational value, used to introduce a child to the skills of sewing. A demonstration in our offices confirmed that the machine can sew together two or more textile, denim and felt pieces in a permanent lockstitch. Counsel notes that sewing machines of the household type must be capable at least of performing a lockstitch.


Whether the children's lockstitch sewing machine in issue is a toy for tariff purposes; whether it is principally used for amusement.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6. - 3 -

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80.

Initially, articles of chapter 95 are precluded from classification in chapter 84. Section XVI, Note 1(p), HTSUS. Thus, if these sewing machines qualify as toys of heading 9503, they cannot be classified as sewing machines of heading 8452.

Relevant ENs at p. 1585 indicate that chapter 95 covers toys of all kinds whether designed for the amusement of children or adults. The provisions of heading 9503 are governed by use. Therefore, goods of heading 9503 must belong to a class or kind of goods that are principally used for amusement. Additional U.S. Rule 1(a), HTSUS. Principal use is that use which exceeds each other single use of the goods.

We agree with counsel that there are no legal notes defining the term toy. However, ENs at p. 1588 provide some guidance when they state that toys of heading 9503 may have some instructional value (i.e. chemistry sets) and that certain toys such as electric irons, sewing machines, musical instruments, etc., may be capable of a limited use; they are generally distinguishable from real [machines] by their size and limited capacity (Emphasis added).

We agree with counsel that, in most cases reduced size does not necessarily control classification. In this case, however, the ENs make size a relevant consideration. We must therefore assess the capacities of sewing machines of heading 8452 and those of the machines in issue here. To make the comparison meaningful, our discussion of heading 8452 machines will be limited to those of the household type.

Household type sewing machines have forward and reverse speeds and except when doing embroidery work generally operate with two threads, one inserted by the needle and one carried underneath by a shuttle and bobbin assembly. The instant machine utilizes a shuttle but no bobbin, and has a fast-slow forward speed but no reverse speed. Household machines are capable of at least lockstitch operation and, in addition to ordinary sewing can be used for seaming, overedge seaming, rolled hemming, pin tucking, and braiding by chaining off as well as decorative work. The instant machine performs a straight lockstitch only and does no decorative work. The stitch/per/minute capability of the instant machine is not reported, but it is doubtful it approaches - 4 -
the 1,500 stitches per minute capacity typical of home sewing machines. Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 24, p. 634 (1980). In addition, household-type sewing machines normally weigh at least 15 lbs. and retail from $150 to $300. The instant machine weighs 3 lbs. and retails from $29.99 to $60.

While not dispositive, we consider the following observations to be noteworthy: instructions accompanying the sample refer to it as a "toy" and state it has no serviceable parts; the packing list identifies the machine as "plastic toy[s]"; the instant machine is depicted in submitted sales literature in the "toy" section; and finally, the machine has a red-white-blue color scheme typical of the bright, multicolored look of most toys (HQ 085948, dated September 25, 1990, at p. 4).


Based on size and operating capacity, the sewing machine model # 060150 is a limited use toy. Under the authority of GRI 1, it is provided for in heading 9503. Because in almost all cases sewing machines of this type are motor-operated, it is classifiable in subheading 9503.80.20, HTSUS, under the provision for toys incorporating an electric motor.

Since the rate of duty under this classification is the same as the liquidated rate, the protest should be denied. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19, and mailed to the protestant, through counsel, as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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