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HQ 957825

September 14, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:F 957825 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9890

Ms. Roxane Pfeiffer
Norman G. Jensen, Inc.
3050 Metro Drive, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55425

RE: Decorative Heads for Soap and Bubble Bath Containers

Dear Ms. Pfeiffer:

This is reference to your letter of March 6, 1995, to our Minneapolis, MN, office requesting a binding ruling as to the subject containers which are in the form of Sesame Street and Snoopy characters. Your request was answered by our NY Seaport Area Office as to all issues you raised except as to classification of the heads of the characters, if imported separately. That portion of your request was forwarded to this office for reply.


The articles under consideration are plastic decorative heads of various Sesame Street and Snoopy characters which are imported separately from the plastic containers, which form the body of the related character, to which they will be attached subsequent to importation. The decorative heads are overcaps, i.e., they fit onto the plastic caps on the containers, and, thereby produce the completed character. The containers, which are imported empty, are filled after importation. The products are only marketed in their completed form.


What is the classification of plastic decorative heads when separately imported from the soap and bubble bath containers to which they will be attached subsequent to importation and prior to marketing?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied taken in order.

The products under consideration are plastic heads of various cartoon-type characters. Subsequent to importation these heads are attached to containers in the shape of the body of the relative characters and fit over plain plastic caps which seal the containers and prevent spillage of its contents which are added subsequent to importation. These heads, which are only marketed with the containers, are sometimes separately imported for inventory purposes in case the same type of heads which are imported with the containers arrive in damaged condition. We understand that the heads do not significantly differ in value from the containers to which they will be attached.

We initially considered whether the heads were being imported as a marketing tool or whether they were being imported for the amusement value and were, therefore, classifiable in subheading 9503.49.0020, HTSUSA. In this regard, we considered Headquarters Rulings Letter (HRL) 951309, dated April 26, 1993, which covered a non-human figure which formed the cap of a plain plastic tube of candy. In that case the cap was more substantial and of significantly greater value than the container. It gave the container its commercial identity. This is not true in the instant case. Although the decorative heads may be a source of amusement to children, we believe that their primary purpose is to make the soap or bubble bath, with which the containers will be filled, more marketable. The decorative heads are not primarily imported for play purpose. We, therefore, concluded that classification in the above subheading was not appropriate.

We next considered whether these decorative heads might be classifiable in subheading 3926.40.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastic...statuettes and other ornamental articles. In considering whether these heads were ornamental we consulted various dictionaries and a number of prior Headquarters rulings. Those sources all seemed to use the term ornamental to refer to items which enhanced the appearance of completed - 3 -
articles to which they were attached. While the instant articles enhance the containers to which they are attached, their primary purposes is to complete the design of the containers. While the heads are not caps, the containers would be incomplete and probably not marketable without the heads.

Since the decorative heads, which do not have a commercial identity aside from the specially shaped containers to which they are attached, do not meet the requirements for classification as toys or other articles provided for more specifically elsewhere in the tariff schedule, we have concluded that they should be classified under the provision for other articles of plastics, other.


Plastic decorative head overcaps in the shape of various non-human cartoon-type characters which are designed to be attached to containers in the shape of the body of the relative cartoon-type character which will be filled with soap or bubble bath subsequent to importation are classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9890, HTSUSA. Articles classifiable in that subheading, which provides for other articles of plastics, other, are subject to a general rate of duty of 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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