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HQ 957095

February 1, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 957095 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.0040

Mr. Paul Liang
St. Argos Co., Inc.
11040 West Hondo Parkway
Temple City, California 91780

RE: Four "Santa" Dolls; Figures Not Identifiable as Santa

Dear Mr. Liang:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of September 27, 1994, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of four separate figures named "Santa," to be imported. One sample figure, and catalog photographs of all four figures, were submitted with your request.


The sample "Santa" figure submitted, item no. 9476 (item nos. 9474, 9475,and 9478 are pictured), resembles a hooded old man, with white hair, eyebrows, beard, and moustache covering most of the face. The figure is dressed in a burgundy and brown felt fabric coat, green felt trousers, and brown felt boots. Strands of twine (with bells on their ends) encircle the abdomen as a belt, and one of the gloveless hands holds a long walking stick. Thrown over the figure's shoulder is a burlap bag containing twigs, green leaves, red berries, and a non-stuffed, toy animal representing a woodland creature. The figure stands mounted on a wooden base and measures approximately 16 inches in height. -2-


Whether the figures are classified in heading 9505 as festive articles, or in heading 9502 as dolls.


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); -3-

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 figures named "Santa" are made of non-durable material. Customs considers articles such as these to be made of non- durable material since they are not designed for sustained wear and tear, nor are they purchased for their extreme worth or value (as would be decorative, yet costly pieces of art or crystal). Further, the primary function of the items 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 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 the four figures named "Santa" have large white beards and carry sacks, we find that none of the figures is identifiable as the three dimensional form of Santa Claus. The decorative figures more closely resemble unfortunate, forest- dwelling eccentrics, more likely to share curious stories than Christmas gifts. We thus find that the articles are not classifiable as festive articles within heading 9505, HTSUS.

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 the four figures named "Santa" is 9502.10.0040, HTSUSA.


The four figures named "Santa," item nos. 9474, 9475, 9476, and 9478, are properly classified in subheading 9502.10.0040, -4-

HTSUSA, the provision for "Dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof: Dolls, whether or not dressed, Other: Other: Other." The applicable duty rate is free.


John Durant, Director

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