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HQ 954559

February 16, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 954559 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 9503.70.80

Mr. Charles A. Tague
Vice President
BDP International, Inc.
510 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: Classification of Pretty Bride dress up sets; Subheading 9503.70, other toys put up in sets; HRLs 950700 and 954886

Dear Mr. Tague:

This is in response to your letter of May 6, 1993, submitted on behalf of Creative Designs International, Ltd., regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of "Pretty Bride" dress up sets. You submitted samples with your request for a binding ruling.


The merchandise at issue is "Pretty Bride" dress up sets. Item #8818 consists of a sequins and pearl encrusted tiara attached to a veil, a pair of lacy cuffs (described on the box as gloves), a lacy bouquet, and a pearl brooch sewn onto a satin ribbon with a VELCRO closure to form a choker. Item #8808 consists of a plastic purse, a textile parasol, a plastic bead necklace, two plastic hair clips, and a pair of plastic toy shoes. The items in each set are packed together in a box including a picture of a young girl pretending to be either a bride or a fancy, dressed-up lady.


Whether the Pretty Bride dress up sets are classifiable, as a whole, in subheading 9503.70 as other toys, put up in sets or outfits or are classifiable in other various headings applicable to their individual components.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) taken in their appropriate order provide a framework for classification of
merchandise under the HTSUS. 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 (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Although the term "toy," in general, is not specifically defined in the tariff, the ENs to Chapter 95, HTSUS, indicate that, "this Chapter covers toys of all kinds whether designed for the amusement of children or adults." It has been Customs position that the amusement requirement means that toys should be designed and used principally for amusement. See Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUS.

However, the merchandise in this case does not consist of merely one article, but contains several distinct articles that potentially may be classified as toys. The ENs to 9503 provide that, "collections of articles, the individual items of which if presented separately would be classified in other headings in the Nomenclature, are classified in this Chapter when they are put up in a form clearly indicating their use as toys (e.g., instructional toys such as chemistry, sewing, etc., sets)." Customs, in general, classifies merchandise fitting this description in 9503.70, as toys put up in sets or outfits.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 950700, issued August 25, 1993, Customs explained in which cases certain articles normally classified elsewhere in the HTSUS may fall within 9503.70 as toys put up in sets, based on the manner they were put up. In that decision, Customs stressed that the criteria applicable to a GRI 3 set put up for retail sale are not applicable to toys put up in sets. Articles which normally would be classified elsewhere in the HTSUS may be classified as toys when put up together so that they are designed and used principally for amusement, but in the case of GRI 3(a) sets, the articles must meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity.

When determining which articles qualify as toys put up in sets, that ruling notes, in general, that:

[Subheading]...9503.70 encompasses a combination of two or more mutually complementary complete articles in a retail package, the essential character of which is established by the combination of the articles and not by any individual article in the combination.

Customs will not classify as a toy set any retail package sold to children which merely contains more than one item. Instead, it is our position that merchandise classified in 9503.70 should contain complementary articles generally used together as a combination, and not individually, to provide amusement (e.g., some nexus exists between the components which work together to amuse). However, not all the articles are required to be used at the same time to be considered toys put up in sets. In addition, no individual article should predominate over any in the combination.

Finally, when merchandise consists entirely or partly of articles which individually are classified elsewhere in the HTSUS, the manner in which the articles are put up together (e.g., packaged and sold as a combination of articles) should convert the articles from their design and use as articles classifiable elsewhere in the HTSUS to toys. If no "conversion" results from the manner in which the articles are put up together (e.g., the articles are designed and used the same as when put up individually), this may indicate that the articles should be classified individually in their appropriate HTSUS headings.

We believe these sets are designed and used principally for amusement. It is apparent that little girls will play with the instant merchandise, pretending to be a bride or a fancy, dressed- up lady. When presented in this manner, it is unlikely that the individual items would be worn or used regularly and for an extended period of time.

The items comprising these sets are complementary insofar as no individual article predominates over any in the set. They are used as a combination and some nexus exists between the components which work together to amuse. Although the articles individually do not possess much play value, and actually have somewhat practical and utilitarian functions, when put up together with other articles in this manner, they have been "converted" from articles for adornment to playthings or toys.

This decision is in accord with HRLs 556382, issued November 25, 1991 (Doctor/Nurse Play Sets); HRL 088663, issued June 3, 1991 (Wrestling Champion Dress-Up Set); HRL 082991, issued February 9, 1990 (Beauty Pageant Dress-Up Sets); HRL 082974, issued February 7, 1990 (American Girl Heart Jewelry and Make Up Sets); and HRL 084930, issued October 6, 1989 (My Pretty Purse Set). In these rulings the merchandise also was designed, put up, and used in a manner enabling children to role play or play make-believe (e.g., pretend to be a doctor, nurse, wrestler, beauty queen, princess, bride, or grown-up lady).

The subject merchandise is distinguishable, however, from HRL 954886, issued November 16, 1993, revoking HRL 083229, issued

January 24, 1989, wherein Getting Pretty Sets originally were classified as toys put up in sets. One set contained an, "extremely short knit strapless dress, of sorts, with iridescent ruffles, two elasticized iridescent sleeve puffs, a string of beads, a pair of clip-on earrings, and a toy plastic microphone." In 954886, wherein that set was classified as either a knit dress or an other garment, Customs explained that:

[w]hen a dress up set...contains fancy dress of textile and has the completeness of a costume, it will be considered a costume regardless of how it is packaged. In other words, dress up sets which consist of fancy dress of textile (such as a short knit strapless dress or tunic or a skirt) and other items which taken together as a whole create a costume will be classified in the same manner and following the same analysis as costumes previously ruled upon by Customs.

Most dress up sets consist principally of toy items packaged on occasion with an item of textile, such as a piece of fabric. These sets do not form costumes nor is the textile item generally recognizable as fancy dress.

In the instant case, although the sets do contain some textile articles (e.g., a pair of lacy cuffs, a choker with a satin ribbon, and a textile parasol), these are not considered "fancy dress of textiles, of chapter 61 or 62" precluded from classification within Chapter 95 by virtue of Note 1(e) to Chapter 95. The sets do not form costumes and, for the reasons discussed above, are classifiable within subheading 9503.70, as toys put up in sets.


The Pretty Bride dress up sets are classifiable in subheading 9503.70.80, HTSUSA, as "Other toys;...: Other toys, put up in sets or outfits,...: Other: Other." The general column one rate of duty is 6.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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