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HQ 955112

February 14, 1994
CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955112 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 8306.21.00

Bettie Jo Shearer
Wholesale Supply Company, Inc.
P.O.Box 24600
Nashville, Tennessee 37202

RE: Silver-plated candlelabra and table-bowl centerpieces; PC 874018, 886859; EN 83.06

Dear Ms. Shearer:

This is in response to your letter of August 20, 1993, requesting review of pre-classification (PC) determinations 886859 and 874018 concerning the classification of two silver-plated centerpieces under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The articles in question are silver-plated centerpiece models 5089GYE Lotus Baroque and 69RB Lotus. They have a silver-plated candelabra attached to a table-bowl which is used to hold flower arrangements. According to your letter, PC 886859 dated June 9, 1993, classified model 5089GYE under subheading 8306.21.00, HTSUS, which provides, in pertinent part, for statuettes and other ornaments of base metal plated with precious metal. In PC 874018 dated May 15, 1993, model 69RB was classified under subheading 9405.50.40, HTSUS, which provides, in pertinent part, for non- electrical lamps and lighting fittings.


Are the subject centerpieces classifiable as non-electrical lamps and lighting fittings or as statuettes and other ornaments of base metal plated with precious metal?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), taken in order. GRI 1, HTSUS, 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. The subheadings at issue are as follows:

9405.50.40 [l]amps and lighting fittings including searchlights and spotlights and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated signs, illuminated nameplates and the like, having a permanently fixed light source, and parts thereof not elsewhere specified or included: [n]on-electric lamps and lighting fittings..............3.9%

8306.21.00 [b]ells, gongs, and the like, nonelectric, of base metal; statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal; photograph, picture or similar frames, of base metal; mirrors of base metal; and base metal parts thereof: [s]tatuettes and other ornaments, and parts thereof: [p]lated with precious metal, and parts thereof.......................6.9%

Because the subject centerpieces are described by both of these headings, they cannot be classified according to GRI 1. When goods cannot be classified by applying GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs are applied in descending order. GRI 2 (a) is inapplicable because it applies to unfinished articles, and the centerpieces are imported in a finished condition.

GRI 2 (b) states, in pertinent part, that any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule GRI 3.

GRI 3 states that when, by application of rule 2 (b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

The centerpieces cannot be classified according to the relative specificity provision of GRI 3 (a) because each of the applicable subheadings describe only part of the article and are thus considered equally specific. Therefore, GRI 3 (b) must be applied.

GRI 3 (b) states, in pertinent part, that:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3 (a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be consulted. The Explanatory Notes (EN), although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN IX, pg. 4, states, in pertinent part, that:

(IX) [f]or the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean...those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components,...

The article in question qualifies as a composite good because the candelabra and table-bowl are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole.

EN VIII to GRI 3 (b), pg. 4, states that:

[t]he factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

It is our opinion that the table-bowl portion of the centerpiece imparts the essential character of the subject merchandise. It is likely that the table-bowl portion will continually contain arrangements, while it is not likely that the candles in the candelabra will be continually lit.

Additionally, EN 83.06, p. 1122, states, in pertinent part:


...[t]his group comprises a wide range of ornaments of base metal (...) of a kind designed essentially for decoration, e.g., in homes, offices, assembly rooms, churches, gardens.

...[t]he group covers articles which have no utility value but are wholly ornamental, and articles whose only usefulness is to contain or support other decorative articles or to add to their decorative effect, for example:...

(3) [t]able-bowls,...

...[t]he group also includes, in the circumstances explained below, certain goods of the two following categories even though they have a utility value:

(A) [h]ousehold or domestic articles whether they are potentially covered by specific headings for such goods (...) or by the "other articles" headings. (...) These household or domestic articles are generally designed essentially to serve useful purposes, and any decoration is usually secondary so as not to impair the usefulness. If, therefore, such decorated articles serve a useful purpose no less efficiently than their plainer counterparts, they are classified as domestic goods rather than in this group. On the other hand, if the usefulness of the article is clearly subordinate to its ornamental or fancy character, it should be classified in this group, for example, trays so heavily embossed that their usefulness is virtually nullified; ornaments incorporating a purely incidental tray or container usable as a trinket dish or ash-tray; and miniatures having no genuine utility value (miniature kitchen utensils).

Both components of the subject centerpieces have limited usefulness. The table-bowl will be used to support other decorative articles, namely flowers. The candelabra portion may be used with candles to provide light, but the light created will most likely be for decorative effect. We are of the opinion that these uses are clearly subordinate to the ornamental character of the centerpieces. When the articles are examined as a whole, it is clear that they will be used to decorate the center of a table. Because the centerpiece's essential character is emparted by the table-bowl portion and the entire article's usefulness is subordinate to its decorative effect, they are classifiable in subheading 8306.21.00, HTSUS.


The centerpieces, models 5089GYE and 69RB, are classifiable under subheading 8306.21.00, HTSUS, which provides for [b]ells, gongs, and the like, nonelectric, of base metal; statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal; photograph, picture or similar frames, of base metal; mirrors of base metal; and base metal parts thereof: [s]tatuettes and other ornaments, and parts thereof: [p]lated with precious metal, and parts thereof. They have a column one rate of duty of 6.9 percent ad valorem.

Pursuant to section 177.9(d)(1), Customs Regulations [19 CFR 177.9 (d)(1)], PC 874018 is modified regarding model 69RB.


John Durant, Director

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