United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1995 HQ Rulings > HQ 957424 - HQ 957529 > HQ 957495

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 957495

MAY 30, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:M 957495 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 3924.90.55, 3926.90.98, 9817.00.50

District Director of Customs
1000 2nd. Ave., Rm. 2200
Seattle, Wa. 98104

RE: PRD 3004-94-100167; Plastic Hanging Flower Baskets, Household Articles of plastics, Subheading 3924.90.55; Agricultural Implements, Subheading 9817.00.50, Actual Use; HQ 083829, HQ 955934

Dear District Director:

This is our decision on Protest No. 3004-94-100167, filed against your classification of certain plastic flower pots. The entry under protest was liquidated on May 27, 1994, and this protest timely filed on August 15, 1994.


The articles under protest are described on the commercial invoice as TRI200 HB Terra Roma Green. There are no samples nor pictures or literature on this merchandise, although the designation "HB" apparently refers to hanging basket. The narrative from the local import specialist refers to decorative plastic pots sold individually to consumers for personal use in homes, offices and other places where the purpose is not the growing of plants but the decorative display of individual plants.

The entry was liquidated under a provision of heading 3924 for other household articles of plastics. Protestant maintains the pots are used for horticultural purposes and that the provision in subheading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, machinery, equipment and implements to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes applies.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

3924 Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet article, of plastics:

3924.90 Other:

3924.90.55 Other...1.4 percent from Canada

3926 Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914:

3926.90 Other:

3926.90.98 Other...1.5 percent from Canada

9817.00.50 Machinery, equipment and implements to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes ...Free


Whether flower pots of plastic are goods of heading 3924 or heading 3926; whether they are agricultural or horticultural implements for tariff purposes.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

In HQ 955934, dated July 1, 1994, certain plastic flower pots were held to be classifiable in subheading 3924.90.55, HTSUS, because their size and manner of depiction in brochures led to the conclusion they were to be for residential use. These articles from designated beneficiary developing countries were free of duty under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The tariff status of certain grower pots and plastic hanging baskets with steel hanging wires as other articles of plastics, in subheading 3926.90.90 (now 98), HTSUS, was confirmed in HQ 083829, dated May 31, 1989, a ruling addressed to the shipper of the merchandise under protest here. These articles were sold to growers for use in nurseries and greenhouses to hold plants, shrubs and flowers to protect their roots during transport and display. The grower pots were said to be disposable after the plant or shrub was planted while many of the hanging baskets were used as permanent containers.

It appears that your office is not regarding decorative plastic flower pots and/or hanging baskets of the type used in the home or office as agricultural or horticultural implements; rather, you are restricting the provision in heading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, to such pots and baskets used in commercial nurseries and greenhouses. As we understand it, the distinction sought to be applied in this case is whether the pots or baskets are used to grow plants or to display them.

In our opinion, it is not relevant whether plastic flower pots and hanging baskets are more accurately described in heading 3924 or heading 3926 because the provisions of Chapter 98 are not subject to the rule of relative specificity. Chapter 98, U.S. Note 1, HTSUS. Therefore, notwithstanding the existence of a competing provision or provisions, heading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, applies if the conditions and requirements thereof and any applicable regulations are met. The flower pots and hanging baskets are not precluded from classification in heading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, by any of the exclusions listed in Chapter 98, Subchapter XVII, U.S. Note 2, HTSUS. The issue, then, is whether the flower pots and hanging baskets are actually used in a recognized agricultural or horticultural pursuit. In common meaning, the term horticulture refers to the cultivation i.e., the preparation or working of the earth to promote the growth or development of flowers, fruits, vegetables or ornamental plants. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (Unabridged ed. 1973).

For purposes of heading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, it is an artificial distinction to regard plastic flower pots and hanging baskets as horticultural implements simply based on their use in nurseries and greenhouses, or whether they are used to grow rather than display plants. Certainly, plants and flowers are capable of being developed or grown in homes and offices as well. We note that many of the hanging baskets in HQ 083829 were used as permanent containers. For these reasons, the plastic flower pots and hanging baskets under protest are implements to be used in a recognized horticultural pursuit.


The plastic flower pots and/or hanging baskets designated TRI200 HB Basket Terra Roma Green, are classifiable in subheading 3924.90.55 or subheading 3926.90.98, as appropriate. However, these articles may be eligible for free entry under subheading 9817.00.50, HTSUS.

The protest should be ALLOWED upon compliance with the actual use requirements of sections 10.131 through and including 10.139, Customs Regulations. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this - 4 -
decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: