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NY 806891

March 13, 1995

CLA-2-44:S:N:N8:230 806891


TARIFF NO.: 4602.10.1800, 4602.10.0900, 4602.10.4500

Ms. Barbara Sherman
120 E. McKellips Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85281

RE: The tariff classification of baskets, trays, and boxes from Venezuela (Plaiting materials; Chapter 46, Note 1; EN 46.02; Wickerwork)

Dear Ms. Sherman:

In your letter dated February 9, 1995, you requested a tariff classification ruling on handmade baskets, trays, and boxes made of vegetable materials and to be imported from Venezuela.

The subject merchandise can be divided into three categories: baskets from three different Indian tribes, the Makiritare, the Warao, and the Yanomami; trays or plates (guapas or wapas); and boxes. You state that each item is tagged with the country of origin as Venezuela and a brief description as to tribal or cultural use. The merchandise pending shipment was purchased in Indian markets and stores in Venezuela. You claim that these items are used by collectors of Indian art, collectors of baskets, and for home decoration. Photographs and literature have been submitted.

The merchandise as described in your letter and shown in your photographs and literature is as follows:

1. "Wiwa" or burden baskets which range in height from less than a foot to two feet. These baskets are made by the Makiritare tribes.

2. Round baskets with lids made by the Makiritare tribes range in size from 6 inches to 12 inches in height and diameter.

3. Round baskets with lids and straps made by the Warao tribe are constructed with coiled moriche palm. The sizes of these baskets range from 2 inches in height and diameter to a foot in height and diameter. Some of these baskets do not have lids or straps.

4."Wue" or burden baskets made by the Yanomami are approximately a foot to one and a half feet in height. They have a tumpline which is made of plant material.

5. "Platos" or plates made by the Yanomami are shaped like bowls. They range in size from about 8 inches to about 15 inches.

6. Boxes made by the Makiritare, Warao, and other Indian tribes consist of a top which fits over the bottom to form the box. The boxes are of a double wall construction, that is, an inside plait and an outside plait. These boxes range in size from 8 to 12 inches long by 4 to 5 high by 4 to 6 inches wide.

7. "Guapas" or "Wapas" are made by many Indian tribes. Some of these articles are flat plates with a low lip, approximately ¬ to « high. They range in size from 5 to 24 inches in diameter.

"Guapas" made by the Arawok, Guahibo, and Piaroa tribes appear to be concave, similar to bowl, with a high lip.

The literature that you submitted lists the following vegetable materials as being used in the construction of the articles in question:

Common Name Species
bamboo Bambusa Vulgaris/Sehrad
mamure Heteropsis spruceana/Schott
moriche Mauritania flexuosa L.
onoto Bixa orellana L.
tirita Ischnosiphon spp.
voladora Geocarpus americanus/Jacq.

According to the literature, it appears that the "guapas" and the boxes are made of woven bamboo. The other items are made of mamure, moriche, onoto, tirita, and voladora. None of the item in question are made from twine or cord of vegetable material. In addition, the vegetable material has been split or cut prior to making the articles. The above information was verified and discussed with you on March 9, 1995 by National Import Specialist Paul Garretto.

The materials and construction of the subject articles meet the definition of the expression "plaiting materials" under Chapter 46, Note 1, of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). Note 1 states as follows:

In this chapter the expression "plaiting materials" means materials in a state or form suitable for plaiting, interlacing or similar processes;

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTS constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to heading 4602 which covers basketwork, wickerwork and other articles made directly to shape from plaiting materials or made up from goods of heading No. 4601 state as follows:

Subject to the exclusions specified in the General Explanatory Note to this Chapter, the heading covers:...

Such articles include:

(1) Baskets, panniers, hampers and basketware of all kinds...

(6) Trays, bottlehoders, carpet-beaters, tableware, kitchenware and other household articles.

The "platos", the boxes, and concave "guapas" described above under numerals 5, 6 and 7 are considered baskets for tariff classification purposes.

In addition, since the plaiting materials used on all the articles in question have been obtained by splitting or cutting the plant, they are not in a twig or rod form. Therefore, the articles do not qualify as wickerwork.

The applicable subheading for the baskets described above under numerals 1 to 5 and made of mamure, moriche, onoto, tirita, and voladora will be 4602.10.1800, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for other baskets and bags, whether or not lined. The duty rate will be 4.5 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the baskets described above under numerals 6 and 7 and made of bamboo will be 4602.10.0900, HTSUSA, which provides other baskets and bags, whether or not lined: of bamboo. The duty rate will be 10 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the "guapas" or "wapas" described under number 7 which are flat plates or trays with a low lip and made of bamboo will be 4602.10.4500, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles made directly to shape from plaiting materials or made up from articles of heading 4601, of bamboo. The duty rate will be 6.6 percent ad valorem.

Articles classifiable under subheadings 4602.10.1800, 4602.10.0900, and 4602.10.4500, HTSUSA, which are products of Venezuela are entitled to duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) upon compliance with all applicable regulations.

Importation of these products may be subject to import regulations administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.). Information regarding applicable regulations administered by the U.S.D.A. may be addressed to that Agency at the following location:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Federal Building, Rm. 628
6505 Bellecrest Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.

You have also inquired on the applicability of heading 9705, HTS, which provides for articles having a bearing on the study of the activities, manners, customs and characteristics of contemporary primitive peoples. If you wish to pursue a claim under the above heading, you should submit detailed information and documentation on the subject Indian tribes. If you have any questions on this issue, you may call National Import Specialist Larry Mushinske at (212) 466-5779.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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