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HQ 957248

March 3, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 957248 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 5808.90.0010

Area Director
U.S. Customs Service
6 World Trade Center
New York Seaport
New York, NY 10048

RE: Internal Advice Request 59/94 concerning the classification of a decorative tassel; Heading 5808; Heading 9505

Dear Madam:

This is in response to the request for internal advice initiated by DJS International Services, Inc., on behalf of Raz Imports Inc., regarding the proper tariff classification of a decorative tassel under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted for examination.


The merchandise at issue is referred to as Style 934083 and is a decorative tassel. This tassel is composed of man-made fiber yarns, measures approximately 8 inches in length, is a beige color, and has a loop for hanging. The fiber yarns are folded over and gold metallic yarn is wrapped around the top of the fiber yarns creating 5 inch long fringe.

The importer contends that Style 934083 is a Christmas article and is classifiable under Heading 9505, HTSUSA, which provides for festive articles.


Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable under Heading 9505, HTSUSA, as a festive article or under Heading 5808, HTSUSA, which provides for tassels?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides for, among other items, festive, carnival, and other entertainment articles. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HTSUSA), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to Heading 9505, HTSUSA, state that the heading covers 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, HTSUSA, 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.

The subject tassel is constructed of man-made fibers. Customs considers articles to be made of non-durable material when they are not designed for sustained wear and tear, and are not purchased for their extreme worth or value (as would be decorative, yet costly pieces of art or crystal). Although, a tassel constructed of man-made fibers is usually not purchased for its extreme worth or value, Customs is not prepared to state that man-made fibers are non-durable. However, the primary function of the tassel at issue is decorative, as opposed to utilitarian. Also, the subject tassel is not traditionally associated with or used for a particular festival. Instead, a tassel has various types of uses throughout the year. Even though the subject tassel contains a loop, while such a loop may permit hanging on a Christmas tree, it also allows for hanging from or on numerous other places and objects. For example, the tassel can be used in the home on furniture, on accessory items such as pocketbooks, and apparel. As the subject tassel does not meet all of the criteria listed for articles classifiable under Heading 9505, HTSUSA, it is classifiable elsewhere in the nomenclature.

The importer contends that a similar tassel at issue in NY 874557 of June 9, 1992, was classified under Heading 9505, HTSUSA, as an article of Christmas festivities. NY 874557 describes the article at issue therein as:

An acrylic tassel Christmas tree ornament. The tassel is approximately 4 inches in length. It is attached to a gold metal ball to which a metallic loop is attached. The loop permits the hanging of the tassel on a Christmas tree.

As Customs does not have access to the cited sample and the cited description differs significantly from the sample article, Customs is not convinced that the two items are classifiable under the same heading.

Heading 5808, HTSUSA, provides for braids in the piece; ornamental trimmings in the piece, without embroidery, other than knitted or crocheted; tassels, pompons and similar articles. The EN to Heading 5808, HTSUSA, states, in pertinent part:

* * * [T]hese are separate individual articles and include tassels of all sizes and shapes and ornamental ends for furnishing cords etc., for example: * * * simple bundles of textile threads folded or bound with the ends hanging loose.

All these articles may be provided with a loop for attachment purposes; they are of general use mainly in furnishing but also to a lesser extent for clothing. They are predominately ornamental in character.

Tassels are explicitly provided for under Heading 5808, HTSUSA. In addition, the subject tassel appears to be a bundle of textile threads bound with loose ends as defined in the EN. Finally, the subject tassel contains a loop for attachment as stated in the EN. Therefore, the subject tassel fits squarely within Heading 5808, HTSUSA.


Based on the foregoing, Style 934083 is classified in subheading 5808.90.0010, HTSUSA, which provides for tassels of man-made fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 7.4 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 229.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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