United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1996 NY Rulings > NY 816795 - NY 816892 > NY 816849

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY 816849

December 14, 1995

CLA-2-49:RR:NC:GI:234 816849


TARIFF NO.: 8505.19.0000; 4823.90.6500; 4911.91.2020; 4911.91.4040

Mr. Christopher L. Thayer
Hallmark Cards, Inc.
PO Box 419580 - MD# 376
Kansas City, MO 64141

RE: The tariff classification of printed "mini cards," some with magnets, from China; articles not considered greeting cards, correspondence cards, stationery or envelopes.

Dear Mr. Thayer:

In your letter dated November 13, 1995, you requested a tariff classification ruling. Two samples were submitted and are being returned as requested.

Sample 1 (MCS304)

This item, a "Mother's Day Mini Card Selection" (MCS304) consists of a quantity of small printed, folding cards, matching envelopes and an easel-style retail display board. A more detailed description of the components is as follows:

> Display board ("merchandiser"): a rigid 14" x 16" sheet of 1/4"-thick polyfoam faced with printed paper. Incorporates 12 rigid PVC pockets designed to hold the mini cards and envelopes. Includes two metal S-hooks and plastic fasteners, allowing it to be hung, or it can rest on a counter by means of a fold-out paperboard easel stand. (You advised over the telephone that it is not presently intended that the "merchandiser" will be reused by the retailer once the supply of cards and envelopes included with it is exhausted.)

> Ten mini card designs. As imported, six cards of each specific design will already be placed in a merchandiser pocket, with twelve extra cards of each design in a poly bag. The irregularly-shaped cards, whose faces are all printed with pictures, measure about 2" x 2 1/2". The selection consists of four cards without any wording, three cards whose cover picture is accompanied by a brief saying (e.g., "Mother...your first friend"), and three cards with a similar brief saying, but on the inside panel rather than the cover.

> Each mini card design will come with a small rubber ferrite magnet permanently affixed to the outside of the back panel.

> Specifically designed, printed paper envelopes, about 2" x 3", with adhesive-coated flaps. 200 per merchandiser, 30 each in two pockets and 140 extra in a poly bag.

In its imported condition, the "Mother's Day Mini Card Selection" is not suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. Retail customers will select individual cards and envelopes from it for purchase. Therefore, the imported "Selection" will not be considered "goods put up in sets for retail sale," as that term is set forth and described in General Rule of Interpretation ("GRI") 3(b), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). Consequently, the cards and the envelopes will be classified separately.

Again with reference to GRI 3, the cards themselves are composite articles consisting of printed paper and magnets. Customs' position on similar composite articles incorporating magnets has been that their essential character is imparted by the magnets, and that they are therefore classifiable as such, pursuant to GRI 3(b), HTS.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the magnetic "Mother's Day Mini Cards" will be 8505.19.0000, HTS, which provides for permanent magnets...other than of metal. The rate of duty will be 4.9%.

As you have noted in your letter, the envelopes are too small to be sent through the mail. Customs' longstanding administrative practice dictates that unsuitability for use in the transmission of correspondence through the mail precludes such articles from being classified as "envelopes" within the stationery provisions of the tariff schedule.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the envelopes will be 4823.90.6500, HTS, which provides for other (non-enumerated) articles of coated paper or paperboard. The rate of duty will be 5%.

The "merchandiser" (display) will be treated as packing, meaning that for entry purposes its value should be prorated against the magnetic cards and the envelopes.

Sample 2 (ECS231)

This item, an "Easter Mini Card Selection" (ECS231), is similar to the Mother's Day selection described above, except that in this case the cards do not incorporate magnets, and none of them are printed with sayings or wording. (The sample cards are printed on the front with various cartoon-style bunny figures, and are blank inside.)

For the reasons discussed above, this "Selection" will not be considered "goods put up in sets for retail sale," and again the cards and envelopes will be subject to separate classifications, with the "merchandiser" treated as packing.

We note that the small size of these cards (about 2" x 2 3/4") severely limits their utility as stationery. Thus, for tariff purposes they will not be considered "correspondence cards" or other articles of stationery. In our opinion, they are essentially printed pictures.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the "Easter Mini Cards," if printed by a lithographic process, will be 4911.91.2040, HTS, which provides for printed pictures, designs and photographs: lithographs on paper or paperboard not over 0.51 mm in thickness. (The paper card stock used to make the samples measures approximately 0.26 mm in thickness.) The rate of duty will be 11.9 cents per kilogram.

If the cards are printed by a method other than lithography, the applicable subheading will be 4911.91.4040, HTS, which provides for other (non-enumerated) printed pictures, designs and photographs. The rate of duty will be 2.8%.

The applicable subheading for the small envelopes will again be 4823.90.6500, HTS, which provides for other (non-enumerated) articles of coated paper or paperboard. The rate of duty will be 5%.

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

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Carl Abramowitz at (212) 466-5733.


Roger J. Silvestri

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: