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HQ 955802

April 14, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 955802 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.50

Mr. Dan Meylor
Tower Group International, Inc.
Castelazo & Associates
5420 West 104th Street
Los Angeles, California 90045-6069

RE: Singing Santa; Festive Article

Dear Mr. Meylor:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of December 20, 1993, on behalf of your client, Caffco, International, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of an item identified as a "Singing Santa," imported from China. A sample was submitted with your inquiry.


The sample figure, identified by item no. XN65209, is a decorated head and neck, measuring approximately seven inches in height, comprised of molded plastic, with painted features, a furry white beard and moustache, and spectacles. Glued to the head is a red, cone-shaped, felt hat, trimmed with white imitation fur, two green leaves, and two red berries. There is a metal ring on the hat for suspending the item. Within the hat is a battery-powered sound device with a sensor. When the switch is turned on, changes in light activate the device, which "sings" a portion of the song "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."


Whether the decorative item is classified in subheading 9505.10.50, HTSUS, as a festive article.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all 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. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied. 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.

Heading 9505, HTSUS, provides for, among other items, festive, carnival, and other entertainment articles. The EN to 9505 indicates 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, HTSUS, 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 item is not dispositive of its classification and, consequently, does not transform an item into a festive article.

The "Singing Santa" is made of non-durable material. Customs considers articles such as this to be made of non-durable material since it is not designed for sustained wear and tear, and is not purchased for its extreme worth or value (as would be a decorative, yet costly piece of art or crystal). Further, the primary function of the item is decorative, as opposed to utilitarian.

Although in general, figurines and dolls are not traditionally associated or used with a particular festival (i.e., they are not of the same type of articles cited in the ENs to heading 9505 as examples of traditional festive articles), Santa Claus is a unique form that traditionally has been associated, particularly and exclusively, with Christmas. Only three dimensional forms of Santa Claus, identifiable as such upon importation, are classifiable within 9505 as festive articles. Although lacking a torso and extremities, the "Singing Santa" is in three dimensional form. It is our determination that the article would be identified as the form of Santa Claus upon importation, and that it meets the criteria for classification as a festive article.


The "Singing Santa," identified by item no. XN65209, is classified in subheading 9505.10.50, HTSUS, the provision for "Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles...parts and accessories thereof: Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other." The applicable rate of duty is 5.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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