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NY 812625

August 7, 1995

CLA-2-46:S:N:N3:230 812625


TARIFF NO.: 4601.20.9000; 4602.10.1600; 4602.10.1800; 9603.10.9000

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

RE: The tariff classification of baskets, mats and brooms from Venezuela; articles of vegetable plaiting materials.

Dear Ms. Sherman:

In your letter dated June 29, 1995, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You divided the merchandise in question into five categories, as described below:

Category I includes several types of coiled baskets. Some of these, made by the Warao tribe, are identified as "platos," "paneras" and bowls. "Platos Planos," which range from about 4" to 12" in diameter, can function as "hot plates." "Paneras," which are round or oval and slightly bowl-shaped, sometimes have handles and are made to serve bread; they usually range from 9" to 24" in length. The Waraos also make curved bowls, some of which are constructed with integrally coiled bases functioning as stands. All of these Warao items are said to be made of bundled, wrapped fibers of moriche palm (Mauritia flexuosa L.).

The Churripaco tribe makes waste baskets, hot plates and bowl- shaped baskets out of chici-chici (Leopoldinia piassaba, of the Palmae family). The chici-chici is bundled and the coils are stitched in place with chici-chici. Sometimes these are decorated with mamure, a light colored natural fiber which contrasts with the dark brown of the chici-chici.

Also mentioned are moriche palm bowls and paneras made by the Piapoco and Guajibo tribes. These are said to be more colorful, but less finely crafted, than those of the Warao.

The applicable subheading for the "platos planos" or "hot plates," which from your description and drawings are assumed to be completely flat, with no lip, will be 4601.20.9000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other (than certain enumerated) plaited mats, matting and screens of vegetable materials. The rate of duty will be 8%.

The applicable subheading for all of the other Category I items described above will be 4602.10.1600, HTS, which provides for other baskets and bags of vegetable plaiting materials, whether or not lined, of rattan or of palm leaf. The rate of duty will be 7%.

Category II consists of hammocks or "chinchorros." The Warao are said to be famous for their hammocks made of moriche palm fibers woven into various mesh patterns. Other tribes make hammocks from cumare palm leaf (Astrocaryuim tucuma), bejuco (Liana) or corteza (Anaxagorea sp.). The articles range from approximately six to ten feet in length.

Your inquiry does not provide enough information for us to give a classification ruling on these hammocks. Your request should preferably include samples of the mesh used to make them, or clear, close-up photos showing the construction of such mesh, together with a step-by-step description of exactly how the fibers are processed into same. You should also verify our assumption that these hammocks are not equipped with their own stands, and must be hung from trees or the like. Any questions concerning these requirements should be directed to National Import Specialist Paul Garretto, who can be reached at (212) 466-5779.

Category III consists of purses and backpacks. Again, your inquiry does not provide enough information for us to give a classification ruling on these items. Your request should include samples and an English description of material composition. If the items are of textile, a breakdown by weight of component fibers as found in the fabric is necessary. Any questions regarding these requirements should be directed to National Import Specialist Kevin Gorman, who can be reached at (212) 466-5893.

(If you decide to send in the additional information needed for a ruling on categories II and III, it is suggested that you make two separate submissions, since the products will likely be assigned to different National Import Specialists.)

Category IV consists of open-weave plaited clothes baskets made of strips of tirita of the Marantaceae family (Ischnosiphon spp.). You indicate that, because of their design, these baskets are flexible and can be long (and thin) or short (and fat) in shape, according to the amount of clothes they hold. The bottoms are squared and the tops are reinforced. The baskets range from about nine inches to three feet in height.

The applicable subheading for the Category IV plaited clothes baskets will be 4602.10.1800, HTS, which provides for other (than certain enumerated) baskets and bags, whether or not lined, of vegetable plaiting materials. The rate of duty will be 4.5%.

Category V consists of brooms made of chici-chici or mamure fibers. The items in question range from small hand-held brooms (five inches to a foot), used in preparation of yuca flour for cassava bread, to larger, wood-handled brooms for sweeping.

The applicable subheading for the brooms will be 9603.10.9000, HTS, which provides for brooms and brushes, consisting of twigs or other vegetable materials bound together, with or without handles, not of broom corn. The rate of duty will be 10%.

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) expired at midnight, July 31, 1995. If the program is renewed by the Congress, articles classifiable under subheadings 4601.20.9000, 4602.10.1600, 4602.10.1800 and 9603.10.9000, HTS, which are products of Venezuela will be entitled to duty free treatment under the GSP upon compliance with all applicable regulations.

Importation of these products may be subject to regulations administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) and/or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Inquiries concerning applicable regulations may be addressed to those agencies at the following locations:

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

Office of Management Authority
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Rm. 432
Arlington, VA 22203

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.

As a point of information, we note that on page 22 of your submission of February 9, 1995 (answered by our ruling letter NY 806891, of March 13, 1995) you identified the moriche tree as "Mauritania flexuosa L.," whereas in your current submission (at page 8) the moriche tree is referred to as "Mauritia flexuosa L." We would appreciate a clarification as to whether the earlier reference was a typographical error or in fact a reference to a different species.


Jean F. Maguire

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