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HQ 956368

July 7, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 956368 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 2208.30.3030; 2208.30.6065

John B. Pellegrini, Esq.
Ross & Hardies
Park Avenue Tower
65 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022-3219

RE: Classification of Scotch and Canadian Whiskies with Cradles; Heading 2208, spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages; GRI 3 set put up for retail sale; HRLs 954579, 950845

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This is in response to your letter of April 20, 1994, submitted on behalf of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc. regarding the proper classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of Scotch and Canadian whiskies packaged with cradles. Customs received samples of the cradles, but not the whiskies.


The merchandise at issue consists of two different gift boxes. One gift box will contain a 1.75 liter bottle of Scotch whisky with a cradle composed of metal, plastic, and wood. The other gift box will contain a 1.75 liter bottle of Canadian whisky with a cradle composed of metal and plastic. The cradles are designed and used to assist in pouring the spirits contained in the accompanying bottles and are labelled with the "Chivas Regal" and "Crown Royal" insignias. The spirits will originate in either Canada or the United Kingdom, while the cradles are produced in Taiwan. The spirits and cradles will be packaged as a unit in a foreign trade zone.


Whether the whiskies and cradles, when withdrawn from the foreign trade zone, qualify as sets put up for retail sale and are classifiable within heading 2208 as spirits or elsewhere in the HTSUS.


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. 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.

The merchandise consists of several articles classifiable as follows: the Scotch and Canadian whiskies in heading 2208 as spirits and the cradles in the appropriate heading providing for their constituent material. Because the HTSUS provides for these articles in separate headings, classification is determined by applying GRI 3(a), that is, under the heading which provides the most specific description of the good. However, when each heading refers to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, the headings are regarded as equally specific and we are directed to GRI 3(b).

In accordance with EN X to GRI 3(b), we determine whether the merchandise qualifies as a set. It is apparent that the whiskies and cradles meet the criteria requiring that the merchandise consist of at least two different articles classifiable in different headings and be put up in a manner suitable for direct sale without repacking. However, we must examine whether the merchandise meets the final criterion, that it consists of articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity.

In this regard, Headquarters Rulings Letters (HRLs) 954579, issued October 6, 1993, and 950845, issued June 26, 1992, are most instructive. In HRL 954579 spirits packaged with two glasses in a gift box were found to qualify as a set. The glasses were relatively inexpensive, representing approximately 25 percent or less of the total value of each set. See also HRLs 082954, issued December 20, 1989, and 085326, issued September 22, 1989, where champagne packaged with inexpensive champagne flutes and liqueurs packaged with small, inexpensive glasses were found to constitute a set. On the other hand, in HRL 950845 bowls made of Chilean wood filled with raisin and nut mixtures were found not to qualify as a set. The value of the reusable bowl was considerably greater than the value of the raisin and nut mixtures and accounted for a significant amount of the bulk and weight of the product.

We find the instant merchandise to be most analogous to the the liquor or champagne packaged with the glasses. In both the instant case and HRL 954579 the low value and relative insignificance of the cradles and glasses indicates that those articles primarily are packaged for use with the accompanying spirits, as opposed to distinctively being used as household articles or tableware. Not only is it questionable whether the cradles will be retained for an extended period of time (e.g., after the accompanying spirits are consumed), but the size, shape, and design of the cradles as well as the labelling of "Chivas Regal" and "Crown Royal" on the cradles indicate that they are put up and packaged with the accompanying spirits to carry out the specific activity of imbibing those spirits. In contrast, the wooden bowl of HRL 950845 was designed to be used in divergent situations long after the raisin and nut mixtures had been consumed. Nothing about the bowl indicated, in particular, that it would carry out the specific activity of eating those food mixtures.

Because the merchandise qualifies as sets, according to GRI 3(b) the set is classified by the article which imparts its essential character. EN VIII to GRI 3(b) explains that essential character may 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 article. The spirits account for approximately 85 percent of the product's value. A consumer will purchase this merchandise because of the particular spirits. In contrast, the cradles are designed to be used specifically with the accompanying spirits and facilitate the consumer's drinking of the spirits. As the spirits impart the essential character, the merchandise is classifiable within heading 2208. The appropriate subheadings for the Scotch and Canadian whiskies are 2208.30.3030 and 2208.30.6065, respectively.


The set including the Scotch whiskey is classifiable in subheading 2208.30.3030, HTSUS, as "Undenatured ethyl alcohol...; spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages...: Whiskies: Irish and Scotch, In containers each holding not over 4 liters." The general column one rate of duty is 5.3 cents per proof liter.

The set including the Canadian whiskey is classifiable in subheading 2208.30.6065, HTSUS, as "Undenatured ethyl alcohol...; spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages...: Whiskies: Other, Other: In containers each holding not over 4 liters:

Other." The general column one rate of duty is 6.6 cents per proof liter. Imports under these subheadings may be subject to a Federal Excise Tax (26 U.S.C. 5001) of $13.50 per proof gallon and a proportionate tax at the like rate on all fractional parts of a proof gallon.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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