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HQ 958167

August 30, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:T 958167 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6217.10.9030

Joel K. Simon, Esquire
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center, Suite 3371
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Classification of a textile shamrock pin; holiday motif is not dispositive of classification as a festive article in heading 9505, HTSUSA; other made up article in heading 6307, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Simon:

This is in response to your letter, dated April 18, 1995, on behalf of your client, Papel Freelance, requesting a ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a textile shamrock pin. A sample was provided to this office for examination.


The subject merchandise consists of a trifoliate floral emblem, made up of woven man-made fabric stuffed with textile to shape, and bearing the words "Happy St. Patrick's Day." The back of the merchandise has a bar pin approximately two and one half inches in diameter to facilitate pinning the item onto clothing.

In your opinion the merchandise is classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA, as a festive article. In support of this claim you refer to HQ 083788, dated March 30, 1989, which classified virtually identical merchandise in heading 9505, HTSUSA.


What is the proper classification for the merchandise at issue?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the rules of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, festive, carnival and other entertainment articles. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (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.

In general, merchandise is classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA, as a festive article when the article as a whole, meets the following criteria:

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).

As was stated in HQ 951137, dated February 17, 1993, discussing the classification of pop-up pins claimed to be "Valentine's Day" pins, "the motif of an article is not dispositive of its classification and, consequently, does not transform an item into a festive article". Furthermore, as was stated in HQ 087960, dated January 4, 1991, addressing the classification of a pin claimed to be a "Christmas Corsage" pin, "although an article may have the design or ornamentation appropriate for use during a specific holiday, it may still not qualify for classification in the festive article provision". Consequently, in both those cases the pins were not classified in the festive article provision of heading 9505, HTSUSA. See also HQ 087109, dated August 16, 1990, which classified a "Dancing Halloween Skeleton" pin in heading 7117, HTSUSA, as imitation jewelry, and not as a festive article in heading 9505, HTSUSA.

The subject merchandise does not meet the requisite criteria for classification as a festive article in heading 9505, HTSUSA. Although Customs may consider the merchandise to be made of non-durable material because it is not designed for sustained wear and tear, nor is it purchased because of its extreme worth or value, the article primarily functions as personal adornment rather than as a decoration. The motif on the shamrock which reads "Happy St. Valentine's Day" is not dispositive of classification in heading 9505, HTSUSA. In the instant case, although the shamrock pin by its design and ornamentation is intended to be used during St. Patrick's Day, it functions per se, as a pin. Pins, as a class of merchandise, are used all year long, and may have a wide variety of motifs, many of which would not be considered festive. Consequently, the instant merchandise does not satisfy the requirements for classification of an article under the "festive article" provision in heading 9505, HTSUSA.

Chapter 71, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, imitation jewelry. The legal notes to chapter 71, HTSUSA state that this chapter does not cover goods of section XI (textile and textile articles). As the subject merchandise is a textile article, it is similarly excluded from classification in chapter 71, HTSUSA. The only plausible remaining classification is in heading 6217, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, other made up clothing accessories. The EN to heading 6217, HTSUSA, state, in pertinent part:

This heading covers made up textile clothing accessories, other than knitted or crocheted, not specified or included in other headings of this Chapter or elsewhere in the Nomenclature. The heading also covers parts of garments or of clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted, other than parts of articles of heading 62.12.

The heading covers, inter alia:

(8) Labels, badges, emblems, "flashes" and the like (excluding embroidered motifs of heading 58.10) made up otherwise than by cutting to shape or size. (When made up only by cutting to shape or size these articles are excluded- heading 58.07.)

Customs has classified similar textile pins in the past. Textile pins have consistently been classified in the appropriate provisions in heading 6217, HTSUSA, as other made up clothing accessories. Similar to the idea of "badges" which are affixed to clothing by a bar pin, the metal bar pins on the textile pins enable them to be affixed to garments and are thus considered accessories to garments. See also NY 896869, dated April 22, 1994; NY 894714, dated March 15, 1994; NY 887094, dated June 15, 1993; NY 875408, dated July 14, 1992; and NY 846609, dated November 14, 1989, classifying similar merchandise in heading 6217, HTSUSA.

HQ 083788, which classified virtually identical merchandise in heading 9505, HTSUSA, has been reviewed by this office and found to be in error. Customs is in the process of revoking that ruling to reflect proper classification in the appropriate provision in heading 6217, HTSUSA.


The subject textile shamrock pin is classified in subheading 6217.10.9030, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up clothing accessories; parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other than those of heading 6212: accessories: other; of man-made fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 15.4 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 659.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 your client check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available at the 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, your client should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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