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HQ 955545

March 21, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955545 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 7117.90.50

Arlen T. Epstein, Esq.
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Jewelry, Imitation; Necklace, Halloween choker; Composite goods; Essential character; NYRL 856669

Dear Mr. Epstein:

In a letter dated December 15, 1993, on behalf of Russ Berrie & Company, Inc., you inquired as to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a Halloween choker necklace produced in China. A sample was submitted for examination.

The sample, article number 19609, is a choker necklace made of 100% woven nylon. It measures approximately 14-1/2 inches in length by approximately 1 inch in width. A plastic skeleton head with cracks in the skull, blackened or missing teeth and yellow eyes is attached to the middle of the black colored necklace. You state that the necklace is valued at $3.075 per dozen.


Does the necklace qualify as a "composite good" within the purview of GRI 3(b), HTSUS?

What material imparts the essential character to the necklace?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]." In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

GRI 2(b), HTSUS, provides in part that "[t]he classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of Rule 3."

GRI 3, HTSUS, reads in pertinent part, as follows:

3. 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 . . . 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.

(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.

The "Halloween choker necklace" is prima facie classifiable under heading 7117, HTSUS, which provides for imitation jewelry or under heading 6217, HTSUS, which provides for other made up clothing accessories.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUS, although not dispositive should be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See 54 FR 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN (IX) to GRI 3(b), at page 4, reads as follows:

(IX) For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other
and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

The "Halloween choker necklace" qualifies as a composite good within the purview of GRI 3(b), HTSUS, because the plastic skeleton head is attached to the textile choker in such a manner as "to form a practically inseparable whole."

Composite goods are classifiable as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. EN VIII to GRI 3(b), at page 4, reads as follows:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may for example, be determined by the nature of the materials 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 plastic skeleton head imparts the essential character to the necklace because of the role it plays in relation to the use of the necklace. Specifically, the necklace is designed to be used at Halloween and the distinguishing feature of the necklace is the plastic skeleton head which is designed to "scare" people.

In view of the foregoing, it is our position that the "Halloween choker necklace" is classifiable under subheading 7117.90.50, HTSUS, which provides for imitation jewelry, other, other, valued over 20 cents per dozen pieces or parts. See New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 856669 dated October 4, 1990, in which a necklace consisting of a plastic photo-holder pendant attached to a textile neckcord was classified under subheading 7117.90.50, HTSUS.


The "Halloween choker necklace" qualifies as a "composite good" within the purview of GRI 3(b), HTSUS.

The plastic skeleton head imparts the essential character to the "Halloween choker necklace."

The "Halloween choker necklace" is dutiable at the rate of 11% ad valorem under subheading 7117.90.50, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director

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