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HQ 957706

June 21, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:F 957706 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.50

Donald J. Unger, Esquire
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
200 East Randolph Drive, Suite 7920
Chicago, Illinois 60601

RE: "Heritage Village Collection" and "Snow Village Collection;" Festive Articles; Protest No. 3501-90-000048 Distinguished; HRL 088504 Distinguished; Burden of Proof Regarding Traditional Use

Dear Mr. Unger:

This letter is in response to your request of March 6, 1995, that the port of Minneapolis be issued instructions to allow entry of merchandise identified as the "Heritage Village Collection" and the "Snow Village Collection," as festive articles, under heading 9505, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The merchandise comprising the collections is the same as, or similar to, goods which are the subject of: Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088504, issued February 3, 1992 (relating to Protest No. 3501-90-000048); the Stipulated Judgment on Agreed Statement of Facts, entered by the Court of International Trade on August 4, 1994; and various other entries.


In HRL 088504, the merchandise consisted of two groups of ornamental ceramic ware depicting buildings, figurines, and miscellaneous accessories. The first group, composed of porcelain and identified as the "Heritage Village Collection," included the "Dickens Village," "Alpine Village," "New England Village," "Christmas in the City," and the "Little Town of Bethlehem Collection." This merchandise was classified in subheading 6913.10.50, HTSUS, the provision for statuettes and other ornamental ceramic articles, of porcelain, other, other, with an applicable duty rate of 9 percent ad valorem. -2-

The second group, composed of earthenware, was identified as the "Snow Village Collection." This merchandise was classified in subheading 6913.90.50, HTSUS, the provision for statuettes and other ornamental articles, other than of porcelain or china, other, other, with an applicable duty rate of 7 percent ad valorem.

The basis in HRL 088504 for not including the above articles in subheading 9505.10.50, was that they were not traditionally associated with Christmas festivities. Upon further review of the record available at the time HRL 088504 was issued, we find that HRL 088504 was correct. The evidence available to Customs at the time showed the merchandise lacked a traditional association with a particular festival (i.e., Christmas).

On February 8, 1995, a conference was held with Customs and Department of Justice personnel and representatives of your office, at which additional written submissions and oral arguments were presented by you regarding the factual issue of traditional use. Based upon the additional oral and written evidence of traditional use presented at the February 8 meeting, Customs now believes that you have met your burden of proof and established the traditional use of the articles covered by this ruling, with Christmas. It was for this reason that Customs concurred in the stipulated judgment of the case. Accordingly, this decision provides a binding ruling, based on the additional facts provided at the February 8, 1995 meeting, as to the tariff classification of the "Heritage Village Collection" and the "Snow Village Collection."


Whether the porcelain and earthenware items in the "Heritage Village Collection" and the "Snow Village Collection" are classified in heading 6913, HTSUS, as statuettes and other ornamental ceramic articles, or in heading 9505, HTSUS, as festive articles.


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 -3-
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);

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).

Articles classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUS, tend to serve no other function than decoration. Further, the motif of an item is not dispositive of its classification and, consequently, does not transform an item into a festive article.

Although in general, ornamental ceramic articles are not traditionally associated or used with a particular festival, we find that sufficient evidence has been presented to demonstrate that the items which comprise the "Heritage Village Collection" -4-
and the "Snow Village Collection" are traditionally used during the festival of Christmas. It is our determination that the goods meet the criteria for classification as festive articles.


The merchandise identified as the "Heritage Village Collection" and the "Snow Village Collection" is classified in subheading 9505.10.50, HTSUS, the provision for "Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles...parts and accessories thereof: Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other." The applicable duty rate for entries of this merchandise made through December 31, 1994, was 5.8 percent ad valorem. Under the tariff effective January 1, 1995, the rate has been reduced to free.

This ruling should be provided to Customs at the time the entry is filed for this merchandise, along with a copy of HRL 088504.


John Durant, Director

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