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NY 894475

February 14, 1994

CLA-2-95:S:N:N8:224 894475


TARIFF NO.: 9503.70.8000

E. Neuhaus
Life-Like Products, Inc.
1600 Union Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21211-1998

RE: The tariff classification of a slot car racing set from China.

Dear Mr. Neuhaus:

In your letter dated February 2, 1994, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The racing set, identified as item 9512 Electric Daytona Race Set, consists of the following:

2 racing cars for use with electric slot racing set; 2 hand controllers;
1 power pack;
1 9" power track; 1 15" skid track; 2 crossover tracks; 8 9" radius curved tracks; 4 super high banked curves; 2 15" straight tracks; 3 6" straight tracks; 28 NASCAR flags with poles;
8 guardrails;
7 bridges and 28 bridge supports;
1 Fast Tracker tune-up kit;
8 advertising signs with poles; poster and booklet

The racing set contains about 20 feet of track incorporating dual track systems, and two independently operated hand controllers which contain rheostat devices that allow players to control the velocity of the race cars.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represents the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States (HTSUSA) by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings. EN 95.04 to Chapter 95 states in pertinent part that "[t]his heading includes: (9) sets comprising slot-racing motor cars with their track layouts, having the character of competitive games."

For tariff purposes, the term "game" has come to refer to a competition or contest for recreation or amusement between two or more players or between one person and the game itself. A game should involve skill, chance, or endurance, or any combination of these elements and be played according to rules. Based on this and on judicial authorities, the Customs Service has consistently maintained that an article will only qualify for inclusion within the scope of the game provisions if it possesses the necessary attributes of a game including challenge, ingenuity, skill, and competition or a contest with the objective of winning.

In a Customs Headquarters ruling Letter (HRL) 087976, dated December 13, 1990, it was stated as follows:

In order to meet the "game" definition, and to possess the "...character of competitive games," slot road sets should incorporate certain elements that demand skill and endurance, and that promote competition or a contest. These elements include a start/finish line, a lap timer, a lap counter where the number of laps completed are recorded, and two independently operated hand controllers which contain rheostat devices (as opposed to an on/off switch) that allow players to control the velocity of the race cars. A competitive game situation would then exist as the players are challenged to adequately regulate vehicle speed against derailment while attempting to complete the greater number of laps within a certain time period. This is the ideal game situation in which skill and endurance are required to achieve an objective or winning result.

It is not necessary that a slot road race set contain all of the foregoing features to be considered a game for the purposes of classification under Heading 9504, HTSUSA. However, the subject road race set, while containing rheostat hand controllers and a somewhat challenging track configuration, lacks a start/finish line, a lap timer and a lap counter, significant game features that measure and challenge a player's skill and endurance, and promote a contest or competition with a game winning objective. Therefore, we see this slot racing set as a challenging action toy but have difficulty seeing it as similar to the slot racing sets envisioned under the Harmonized System as "having the character of competitive games."

The applicable subheading for the item 9512 Electric Daytona Race Set will be 9503.70.8000, HTSUSA, which provides for other toys, put up in sets or outfits, and parts and accessories thereof: other: other. The rate of duty will be 6.8 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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