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HQ 952915

April 14, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952915 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 8505.19.00; 9602.00.50

Mr. Greg J. Grasher
Border Brokerage Company
P.O. Box B
Blaine, WA 98230

RE: Classification of doughcraft figurines; Heading 9602, HTSUSA; Molded or carved articles not elsewhere specified or included; Heading 8505, HTSUSA; Permanent magnets and articles intended to become permanent magnets after magnetization; HRLs 089333, 082060, 083195

Dear Mr. Grasher:

This is in response to your letter dated September 18, 1992, submitted on behalf of Kitras and Newton, regarding the proper classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of doughcraft figurines. You submitted samples with your request for a binding ruling. We note that two doughcraft articles, a brooch in the shape of a teddy bear and a Christmas tree ornament consisting of a teddy bear, were classified in New York Ruling Letter 878883, issued October 28, 1992. We regret the delay in responding to your inquiry.


The doughcraft articles, manufactured in Canada, are constructed of dough. The dough is made by mixing flour, water, salt and sometimes tempera paint for coloring. It is then shaped by hand or with very simple tools and baked in a conventional oven. After the article is painted, it is dipped into a liquid plastic coating for sealing and finishing. The final stage is the addition of magnets, bows, artificial flowers, etc. The magnets are manufactured in the U.S. The articles at issue include:

1) a teddy bear magnet measuring approximately 2-1/2 inches by 1-3/4 inches, the magnet portion composed of barium, iron, lead, and strontium oxide compounds as well as synthetic rubber (Hypalon);

2) a wall decoration approximately 5 inches by 5-1/2 inches, consisting of a figurine in the shape of a teddy bear, wearing an apron and a hat, including the words "Grandma's Kitchen," written across a ribbon placed behind the bear's head, and a hook to facilitate its hanging; and

3) a figurine 3 inches in height in the shape of a sitting teddy bear wearing a pink bow and holding a bouquet of artificial flowers in its arm.


Whether the doughcraft articles are classifiable in heading 9602 as molded or carved articles not elsewhere specified or included, in 8505 as permanent magnets, or elsewhere in the HTSUSA.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) taken in their appropriate order provide a framework for classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA. 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 HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Heading 9602 provides, inter alia, for molded or carved articles, not elsewhere specified or included. The ENs to 9602 state that:

[f]or the purposes of these materials, the expression "moulded articles" means articles which have been moulded to a shape appropriate to their intended use. On the other hand, materials moulded in the shape of blocks, cubes, plates, bars, sticks, etc., whether or not impressed during moulding, are not included.

Subject to the exclusions mentioned below, this group includes:...

(7) Moulded or carved articles with a basis of flour or starch, agglomerated with gum and lacquered (imitation flowers or fruit, moulded in one piece, statuettes, etc.). The term "mold" is defined as, "1:... to knead (dough) into a desired consistency or shape 2: to give shape to... 3: to form in a mold...." while the term "carve" is defined as, "1: to cut with care or precision...." See Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary 211, 764 (1990). Based on the language included in the ENs to 9602 and the definitions of the terms "mold" and "carve," it is our position that heading 9602 was intended to include articles "shaped by hand or with very simple tools." As the ENs to 9602 indicate that the heading includes those articles not specified or included in other headings of the Nomenclature, it appears the provision was intended to be construed in an inclusive, as opposed to exclusive, manner. The wall decoration and sitting teddy bear doughcraft articles are classifiable therein. The appropriate subheading is 9602.00.50.

In regard to the teddy bear magnet, since no HTSUSA heading provides for the article, as a whole, it is not classifiable at the GRI 1 level. Thus, we turn to GRI 3(a) to classify the article in the HTSUSA heading providing for one of its components: either the magnet in heading 8505, or the teddy bear figure in heading 9602. Since each of the possible headings, in this case, refers to only part of the good, the headings are regarded as equally specific, and we do not classify the article by GRI 3(a) but rather by GRI 3(b).

GRI 3(b) provides that articles made up of different components, that is, composite goods, shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. "Essential character" is the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is. EN VIII to GRI 3(b) explains that bulk, quantity, weight, value or the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the article are indicia of essential character.

The ENs to 8505, providing for permanent magnets, indicate that:

...permanent magnets consist of pieces of hard steel, special alloys or other materials (e.g., barium ferrite agglomerated with plastics or synthetic rubber) which have been rendered permanently magnetic. Their shape varies according to the use for which they are designed.... Permanent magnets remain classified here whatever their use, including small magnets used, inter alia, as toys.

In the past, Customs has not classified merchandise similar to the subject articles within 8505 because the ENs state that:

...the heading d oes not cover:...[e]lectro-magnets, permanent magnets or magnetic devices of this heading, when presented with machines, apparatus, toys, games, etc., of which they are designed to form part (classified with those machines, apparatus, etc.).

In Headquarters Ruling Letters 089333, issued August 26, 1991, 083195, issued April 28, 1989, and 082060, issued April 29, 1991, it was determined, pursuant to GRI 3(b), that the essential character of various refrigerator magnets incorporating decorative fronts or figures was imparted by the magnet. However, because the, "magnets [were] designed to form part of the article...[and were] presented with and incorporated into a textile [or plastic] caricature," they were not classified within 8505, but rather in the heading providing for each magnet's component material (e.g., iron, steel, or ceramic).

It is our current position that articles which primarily serve as magnets are classifiable as permanent magnets in heading 8505. Whereas this decorative magnet still, as a whole, functions as a magnet and likely is purchased for its magnetic capabilities, this article is appropriately described as a "permanent magnet."

This decorative magnet is not presented with any other article, nor is it designed to form part of another article. Instead, when viewed in its entirety, it is presented alone and functions distinctly as a permanent magnet. The fact that the article includes a decorative front does not preclude it from classification in 8505 as a permanent magnet. It also is composed of material, inter alia, barium ferrite agglomerated with synthetic rubber, which according to the ENs is characteristic of permanent magnets.

The article is distinguished by the magnet component which allows the article to function as a magnet. Accordingly, the magnet imparts the essential character, and the entire article is classifiable in heading 8505. The appropriate subheading is 8505.19.00.


The doughcraft articles of a sitting teddy bear, and a teddy bear wall decoration are classifiable in subheading 9602.00.50, HTSUSA, as "Worked vegetable or mineral carving material...and other molded or carved articles, not elsewhere specified or included;...: Other." From the information provided, it appears that these articles are "originating goods" as defined by General Note 3(c)(vii)(B), HTSUSA, and will enjoy certain tariff preferences under the United States - Canada Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), if entered before January 1, 1994. The special rate of duty, for Canadian articles, is 1.8 percent ad valorem.

The doughcraft teddy bear magnet is classifiable in subheading 8505.19.00, HTSUSA, as "Electromagnets; permanent magnets and articles intended to become permanent magnets after magnetization...: Permanent magnets and articles intended to become permanent magnets after magnetization: Other." From the information provided, it does not appear that this article would have qualified for preferential tariff treatment under the CFTA, if entered before January 1, 1994. The applicable rate of duty is 4.9 percent ad valorem.

In accordance with Presidential Proclamation 6641, on January 1, 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) became effective thereby suspending the CFTA. Advance rulings specifically may be requested with respect to prospective, current, and ongoing NAFTA transactions from the Office of Regulations and Rulings or the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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