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HQ 959692

September 12, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959692 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 9503.49.0020

Ms. Rose Althoff
Midwest of Cannon Falls, Inc.
Post Office Box 20
Cannon Falls, Minnesota 55009-0020

RE: "Provincial Rabbit Doll;" Other Toy Representing Animal

Dear Ms. Althoff:

This letter is in response to your request of August 7, 1996, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of an article identified as "Provincial Rabbit Doll," to be imported from China. A sample was submitted with your request.


The sample article consists of a toy representing a rabbit, and measures approximately 17 inches in height. The figure's upper torso and head are composed of hardened paper pulp. The lower quarter of the torso appears to be stuffed with gravel or pellets and the upper and lower extremities are stuffed with textile materials. The toy animal is dressed in a 100 percent cotton shirt and a skirt composed of 70 percent cotton and 30 percent polyester. The figure also wears a straw hat and carries a small wicker basket of artificial foliage. The item is said to be intended for decoration or display purposes, similar to ceramic or porcelain dolls.


Whether the toy animal is classified as a stuffed toy, or as a toy that is not stuffed. -2-


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined 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.

Since the article is clearly a toy animal, it is classifiable in heading 9503, which essentially covers other toys. The subheadings at issue differentiate between toy animals that are stuffed, and those which are not stuffed.

In determining whether an article classifiable within heading 9503 is stuffed for tariff purposes, it is Customs position that the stuffing materials must impart the shape and form of the torso of the animal or creature. Customs has also held that the "feel" of an article may be relevant to the determination as stuffed or non-stuffed. This long-standing position is based, in part, on the dictionary definition of the verb "stuff," which was adopted in Customs Information Exchange Ruling (C.I.E.) 449/46, issued August 7, 1946. The cited definition is as follows:

Stuff, v. I.t. 1. To fill to distention by crowding something into; cram; pack full; as, to stuff a trunk full of clothes; to stuff the head with knowledge. 2. Specif., to fill with material specially prepared for such use; as, to stuff a cushion, to stuff a fowl for cooking. 3. In taxidermy, to fill out with suitable material (the skin of a bird or beast), and arranged so as to make a life-like form. 4. To cram into a small space; crowd; as, to stuff a newspaper into one's pocket. 5. To fill full or distend by crowding or being crowded into; often with out; as the strangers stuffed the gallery; the sawdust stuffs out the doll's

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 089334, issued August 26, 1991, Customs, after citing this definition, stated that:

It is apparent that the emphasis of the above definition is upon the filling and/or distending of the article that is "stuffed." There is a generous use of words and phrases such as "cram," "crowd," and "pack full." Customs has reiterated its acceptance of the above definition on many occasions since the C.I.E. ruling was published, and has not altered its rather strict standards concerning the "stuffed" classification of articles similar to the item at issue.

In this case, although the toy animal's extremities are stuffed, only the very lowest portion of the item's torso contains any stuffing material. The presence of a gravel-like material in this area enhances stability when the article is placed in a seated position. The remainder of the item's torso is hard to the touch. In light of the fact that the stuffing materials do not impart the shape and form of the toy animal's torso, we find that the article is classified in heading 9503.49.0020, HTSUSA.

You have asked that, in the event Customs considers the subject item to be an article of textiles as opposed to merchandise classified under Chapter 95, HTSUS, Customs provide advice as to the item's country of origin. Since the article is covered under Chapter 95, it is not subject to the rules of origin for textiles and apparel entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after July 1, 1996. However, to provide guidance to the importing community concerning the country of origin of such textiles and apparel, Customs has: (1) published in the Federal Register on September 5, 1995, Section 102.21, Customs Regulations, implementing Section 334 (60 FR 46188) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, which the President signed into law on December 8, 1994; (2) given "priority" status to requests for rulings on the country of origin of textile goods; (3) provided speakers for a number of trade association meetings and conferences on the subject of the textile rules of origin; (4) produced for distribution to the public a two-hour video in which the textile rules of origin are explained in detail; and (5) placed, within days of issuance, each textile origin ruling on Customs Electronic Bulletin Board and Customs Internet Home Page (http://www.customs.ustreas.gov), both of which are freely available to the general public. -4-


The item identified as "Provincial Rabbit Doll" is properly classified in subheading 9503.49.0020, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other toys...and accessories thereof: Toys representing animals or non-human creatures (for example, robots and monsters) and parts and accessories thereof: Other, Toys not having a spring mechanism: Other." The applicable duty rate is free.


John Durant, Director

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