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HQ 953188

May 18, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 953188 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 9505.90.20

Ms. Karin M. Burke
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center, Suite 3371
New York, New York 10048

RE: "Squirts;" Rubber Roto-molded Figures that Squirt when Squeezed

Dear Ms. Burke:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of January 4, 1993, on behalf of your client, Russ Berrie and Co., Inc., concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of articles identified as "squirts," to be imported from China. Samples were submitted with your request.


The samples are identified by three separate item numbers. Item no. 18002 is a monster-like figure which measures approximately 4 inches in height and has bulging eyes and a wide grin. Item no. 26808 is a smiling bear figure which measures approximately 4-1/2 inches in height, carries a bat and ball, and has a major league baseball team shirt and cap painted on. Item no. 30348 is a smiling bear figure which measures approximately 4-1/2 inches in height, carries a football, and has a national football league jersey and helmet painted on. Each item is hollow, with a removable plug on the bottom allowing it to be filled with water. When the filled article is picked up and squeezed, water squirts from the figure's mouth surprising an unsuspecting person.


Whether the article should be classified as a toy or as a practical joke article.


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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's may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) 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 GRIs.

Heading 9503, HTSUSA, applies to "other toys," i.e., all toys not specifically provided for in the other headings of chapter 95. Although the term "toy" is not defined in the tariff, the EN to chapter 95 indicates that a toy is an article designed for the amusement of children or adults. The ENs to heading 9503 indicate that, among other toys, the heading covers toys representing animals or non-human creatures even if possessing predominantly human physical characteristics (e.g., angels, robots, devils, monsters). Although it is apparent that these animal/monster figures were designed for amusement, they also function to trick or surprise unsuspecting individuals. As noted above, classification in heading 9503, HTSUSA, may be inapplicable to items that are specifically provided for in other headings of chapter 95.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides, in part, for "entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles;...." The EN to heading 9505 states, in part, that the heading includes novelty jokes such as sneezing powder, surprise sweets, water-jet button-holes and "Japanese flowers." We further note that in Parksmith Corporation v. United States, 67 Cust. Ct. 405, 408, C.D. 4304 (1970), the court reviewed several dictionary and court case definitions of the term "practical joke," determining that a practical joke article is one which causes humor by "somehow placing an individual at a disadvantage through a trick or prank."

Although not specifically listed in the EN, the squirts figures appear to possess the same squirting capability of water- jet button-holes and "Japanese flowers." The figures are tempting to handle - which makes the surprise squirt likely to occur - and they are easily refilled with water to the disadvantage of the next individual to be tricked. It is our determination that the "squirts" figures identified as item nos. 18002, 26808, and 30348, are properly classified as practical joke articles.


The "squirts" articles identified as item nos. 18002, 26808, and 30348, are properly classified in subheading 9505.90.20, HTSUSA, the provision for festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, other, magic tricks and practical joke articles. The general column one duty rate applicable to this merchandise is 5.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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