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HQ 956822

December 8, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 956822 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.20

Ms. Kristi Gladding
Fritz Companies, Inc.
Post Office Box 280367
San Francisco, California 94128

RE: Reconsideration of DD 896890; "Santa Puffcheek" doll; Stuffed Figure Not Identifiable as Santa, Not Marketed as Christmas Tree Ornament

Dear Ms. Gladding:

This letter is in response to your request of June 6, 1994, on behalf of your client, Institutional Financing Services, Inc., for reconsideration of Seattle District Ruling Letter (DD) 896890, issued May 9, 1994, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of a stuffed figure to be imported from China. A sample was submitted with your original ruling request.


In DD 896890, Customs classified the article in subheading 9502.10.40 (emphasis added), HTSUS, a provision for dolls that are not stuffed. Since the ruling describes the figure as being "stuffed with fiberfill material," the apparent intent was to classify the item in subheading 9502.10.20 (emphasis added), HTSUS, the provision for "Dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof: Dolls, whether or not dressed: Stuffed."

The sample article, item no. 895, resembles a hooded elf or chubby child, with facial features that include mischievous eyes, a stuffed nose, and puffy cheeks. The torso, head, and -2-
extremities are stuffed and covered in a soft skin of mostly red fabric, with furry white trim around the wrists, ankles, and face. The trim is longer at the bottom of the face, perhaps to represent a beard. A mouth is not visible. The figure appears to be wearing white mittens, black boots, and a red hood with a white furry ball at the top. The item measures approximately 7 inches in height in a seated position, and 9-1/2 inches in height when suspended from a loop on the top of the figure's head.

A catalog page containing a picture of the article was submitted. It includes the following marketing information: "Santa's cuter than ever...soft, plush and huggable! Buy one for your family and another for a gift!"


Whether the stuffed figure is classified in heading 9505 as a festive article, or in heading 9502 as a doll.


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 -3-

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.

"Santa Puffcheek" is made of non-durable material. Customs considers an article such as this to be made of non-durable material since it is not designed for sustained wear and tear, nor is it 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.

With respect to the third criterion, we note that, 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). Although Santa Claus is a unique -4-
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 "Santa Puffcheek" appears to be dressed in mittens, black boots, and red winter garb with white trim, we find that the article is not identifiable as the three dimensional form of Santa Claus. As noted above, the item more closely resembles an elf or small child. Mindful that the article has a loop for hanging, and that ornaments for Christmas trees are cited in the EN to heading 9505 as examples of traditional festive articles, we next look to whether "Santa Puffcheek" qualifies as a Christmas tree ornament.

To be classified as a Christmas ornament, Customs requires that an article meet the following three criteria:

1. that the item is advertised and sold as a Christmas tree ornament;

2. that there is some method, generally a loop attached to the top, to hang the item on a tree; and

3. that the item is not too big or too heavy to be hung or attached to a tree.

As previously noted, the marketing information of record consists of a catalog page on which "Santa Puffcheek" is pictured and described as being "cuter than ever...soft, plush and huggable." We therefore find that the article is not advertised to be sold as a Christmas tree ornament, but as a doll.

Heading 9502, HTSUS, provides for "Dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof." The ENs to heading 9502 indicate that the heading includes not only dolls designed for the amusement of children, but also dolls intended for decorative purposes, for use in Punch and Judy or marionette shows, or dolls of a caricature type. The proper subheading for "Santa Puffcheek" doll is 9502.10.20, HTSUS.


The "Santa Puffcheek" doll, item no. 895, is properly classified in subheading 9502.10.20, HTSUS, the provision for "Dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories -5-
thereof: Dolls, whether or not dressed: Stuffed." The applicable duty rate is 12 percent ad valorem.

DD 896890, dated May 9, 1994, is hereby affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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