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HQ 958694

March 7, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 958694 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 4420.10.00

Ms. Jennifer Lorentz
Midwest of Cannon Falls
32057 64th Avenue
Post Office Box 20
Cannon Falls, Minnesota 55009-0020

RE: Reconsideration of Pembina District (now Port) Ruling Letter (DD) 815380 (10/17/95); "Wood Santa with Gifts Display;" Statuettes and Other Ornaments of Wood; Not Festive Articles

Dear Ms. Lorentz:

This letter is in response to your request, dated November 2, 1995, for reconsideration of Pembina District (now Port) Ruling Letter (DD) 815380, issued October 17, 1995, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of an article identified as a wooden Santa Claus, imported from China. In DD 815380, Customs classified the merchandise in subheading 4420.10.00, HTSUS, the provision for "Wood...statuettes and other ornaments, of wood." A sample article was submitted with the request.


The sample submitted is a flat, wooden cutout measuring approximately 15 inches in height by 8 inches in width by 1/2 inch in thickness. The back of the cutout is painted gray, and the remainder is painted to resemble Santa bearing a stack of 3 gifts. Two pegs protrude from the bottom of the cutout, allowing for insertion of the item into a flat, wooden base measuring -2-
approximately 9 inches in length by 4 inches in width. Two additional wooden gifts (one of which is connected by spring to a wooden star) may be inserted into the top of the gift stack by means of attached pegs. When all elements are joined, the article measures approximately 23 inches in height. The item is marketed as a Christmas display and intended for use as a decoration during the holiday season.


Whether the article is classified in heading 9505, HTSUS, as a festive article, or in heading 4420, HTSUS, which covers statuettes and other ornaments, of wood.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all 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 may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

Heading 9505, HTSUS, provides for, among other items, festive, carnival or other entertainment articles. The EN to heading 9505 state, in part, that the heading covers:

(A) 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. -3-

In general, merchandise is classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUS, as a festive article when the article, as a whole:

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).

An article's satisfaction of these three criteria is indicative of classification as a festive article. The motif of an item is not dispositive of its classification and, consequently, does not transform an item into a festive article.

Although we find that the cutout is made of durable material, it is not likely to be purchased for its extreme worth or value (as would be a decorative, yet costly, piece of art or crystal). In addition, its primary function is decorative, as opposed to utilitarian.

Upon examination of the third criterion, however, we find that wooden cutouts or signboards, even though decorative, are not traditionally associated with a particular festival. We do not find the article to be of the type of items traditionally associated with a particular festival such as Christmas. Although Santa Claus is a unique form that traditionally has been associated, particularly and exclusively, with Christmas, only three dimensional forms of Santa Claus, identifiable as such upon importation, are classifiable within 9505 as festive articles. In light of the above, the flat, wooden cutout of Santa is not classified as a festive article under heading 9505, HTSUS, and must be classified elsewhere.

Among other goods, heading 4420, HTSUS, covers statuettes and other ornaments, of wood. Note 1(p) to chapter 44 states that "[t]his chapter does not cover: Articles of chapter 95." The EN to heading 4420 indicate that the heading covers a wide variety of articles of wood, including decorative articles such -4-
as statuettes, animals, figures and other ornaments. We thus find that the two dimensional, wooden cutout figure of Santa is properly classified in subheading 4420.10.00, HTSUS.


The item identified as a "Wood Santa with Gifts Display" is properly classified in subheading 4420.10.00, HTSUS, the provision for "Wood marquetry and inlaid wood...statuettes and other ornaments, of wood...: Statuettes and other ornaments, of wood." The applicable rate of duty is 4.3 percent ad valorem.

DD 815380, issued October 17, 1995, is hereby affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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