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HQ 957829

July 3, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 957829 RC


TARIFF NO.: 9503.70.80

Mr. Timothy F. Buntel
Hasbro, Inc.
1027 Newport Avenue
P.O. Box 1059
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02862-1059

RE: Classification of Fantastic Fingernails Nail Decorating Set

Dear Mr. Buntel:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of March 7, 1996, on behalf of Hasbro, Inc., requesting a binding classification ruling for a "Fantastic Fingernails Nail Decorating Set" under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The "Fantastic Fingernails Nail Decorating Set," item number 9922, allows girls to paint, decorate, and wear artificial fingernails. It consists of a plastic "decorating machine," approximately 12 inches by 12 inches by 4 inches, with a flip top lid. The artificial fingernails are held to the decorating machine's simulated fingers while the child paints and decorates them with adhesive stickers. When the child is finished, she closes the lid and pulls the slide lever. This releases the decorated nails and dispenses a new set. Up to ten sets of nails can be loaded into the machine through a panel in the bottom of the unit. There is one nail designated for each finger without regard to variant finger sizes from child to child. The finished nails are applied to the child's fingers with a small adhesive dot. These items are packaged together for sale at retail. The suggested age for use is four years and over.


What is the classification of a collection of items consisting of "Fantastic Fingernails Nail Decorating Set" under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in their appropriate order provide a framework for classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA. Most imported 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 GRI's may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN's) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's.

The primary question this ruling addresses is whether the subject articles are classifiable in the various headings providing for their components, including heading 3926 as other articles of plastics, or are classifiable in their entirety within heading 9503 as other toys. Although the provision for toys put up in sets, 9503.70, is found at the six-digit subheading level, Customs has utilized the toys put up in sets concept to determine, from the outset, whether certain articles normally classified elsewhere in the HTSUSA may fall within the toy provision based on the manner they are put up.

Although the term "toy," in general, is not specifically defined in the tariff, the EN's to Chapter 95, HTSUSA, indicate that, "this Chapter covers toys of all kinds whether designed for the amusement of children or adults." It has been Customs position that the amusement requirement means that toys should be designed and used principally for amusement. See, Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUSA.

However, the merchandise in this case does not consist of merely one article, but contains several distinct articles that potentially may be classified as toys. The EN's to 9503 provide that, "collections of articles, the individual items of which if presented separately would be classified in other headings in the Nomenclature, are classified in this Chapter when they are put up in a form clearly indicating their use as toys (e.g., instructional toys such as chemistry, sewing, etc., sets)."

Customs, in general, classifies merchandise fitting this description in 9503.70, as toys put up in sets or outfits and still maintains that the criteria applicable to a GRI 3 set put up for retail sale (e.g., at least two items classifiable in different headings, items put up to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and items put up in a manner suitable for sale without repacking) are not applicable to toys put up in sets.

In this regard, we note that some of the exemplars of toy sets found in the EN's (e.g., toy arms, tin soldiers) do not fit the criteria for a GRI 3 set because they are not classifiable in different headings. In addition, we find no indication that toys put up in sets must meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity. If 9503.70 were not considered distinct from a GRI 3 analysis, all such merchandise would be classified, pursuant to GRI 3(b) or 3(c), by its essential character which would vitiate the need for the provision altogether.

The application of the toy set provision is relatively straightforward when each article within the set individually is classified as a toy. However, a greater challenge arises when classifying merchandise consisting entirely or partly of articles which individually are classified elsewhere in the HTSUSA. Whereas the EN's to 9503 indicate that in the latter situation articles are classified within 9503 when put up in a form indicating their use as toys, it is our position that articles which normally would be classified elsewhere in the HTSUSA may be classified as toys when put up together so that they are designed and used principally for amusement. In contrast to GRI 3 sets, the articles need not meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity.

It is this office's position that merchandise classified in 9503.70 should contain complementary articles generally used together as a combination, and not individually, to provide amusement (e.g., the components possess some nexus and work together to amuse). However, not all the articles are required to be used at the same time to be considered a toy put up in a set.

In addition, no individual article should predominate over any in the combination. When merchandise consists entirely or partly of articles which individually are classified elsewhere in the HTSUSA, the manner in which the articles are put up together (e.g., packaged and sold as a combination of articles) should convert the articles from their design and use as articles classifiable elsewhere in the HTSUSA to toys. If no "conversion" results from the manner in which the articles are put up together (e.g., the articles are designed and used the same as when put up individually), this may indicate that the articles should be classified individually in their appropriate HTSUSA headings.

We find that this assortment is designed and used principally for amusement. One can envision little girls playing with the instant "machine" painting the fake nails and decorating them with the decals, then applying them on their real fingernails for show in a more temporary and playful manner than would be the case merely with grown-up nail extensions. We note that the latter would be worn regularly and for an extended period of time. The former come only in one size per finger unlike the adult versions that supply many different sizes to accommodate all hand-size variations. We also note that, here, the nail polish supplied is water-based. In sum, the articles are of limited use and designed to provide amusement for girls, to pretend they are adorning themselves like grown-up women.

The articles comprising these combinations are complementary insofar as no individual article predominates over any in the set. They are used as a combination and work together to amuse. Although the articles individually may not possess much play value, when put up together with other articles in this manner they have been "converted" from articles for adornment or grooming to playthings or toys.

In HRL 085020, issued October 30, 1989, merchandise packed together for retail sale and consisting of a pink plastic bead necklace, bracelet, ring, comb, and mirror was classified in 9503.70.80 as toys put up in sets.

Other similar decisions include HRL 088663, issued June 3, 1991, involving a "Wrestling Champion Medallion and Headband Set," and HRL's 082974 and 082991, issued February 7, 1990 and February 9, 1990, respectively, involving various jewelry, make up and grooming kits. These rulings all held that the merchandise was classifiable as toys put up in sets. Those items, some of which included imitation cosmetic products, provided amusement by promoting make believe play or imitation of grown up activity when put up together. The individual articles were no longer used for adornment and for grooming but, when put up together, were used as toys.

The items in the "Fantastic Fingernails Nail Decorating Set," although classifiable in different chapters other than Chapter 95, are put up in a manner indicating their use as toys. The "machine," nail polish, nails, decals, emery boards, etc. are designed primarily for amusement as a play activity to make grown-up style nails and allow for dress-up by wearing the nails. Although the nails may be used as objects of personal adornment, the combination of the "machine" and the water-based nail polish suggests play. In other words, the use of the nail decorating set as an object of personal adornment is secondary to the play value of the items.


The "Fantastic Fingernails Nail Decorating Set" is classified under subheading 9503.80.70, HTSUSA, as other toys, put up in sets. The applicable rate of duty is free.


John Durant, Director

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