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HQ 958238

March 25, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 958238 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 9503.90.6000

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
100 2nd Ave.
Room: 2200
Seattle, WA 98104

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3001-95-100365, concerning the tariff classification of the "Magic Message Phone"

Dear Sir:

This is a decision on a protest filed May 23, 1995, against your decision in the classification of merchandise liquidated in 1995.


The articles at issue were entered in the Seattle, Washington Port on November 1994. The entries for the "Magic Message Phone" were liquidated under subheading 9503.90.6000, HTSUSA, which provides for "Other toys" dutiable at 6.8 percent ad valorem (currently, the classification for this provision is contained at subheading 9503.90.0030).

On May 23, 1995, Toy Biz, Inc., filed this protest disputing Customs classification of the "Magic Message Phone" under subheading 9503.90.6000, HTSUSA. The Protestant asserts that the subject item should be classified in subheading 8520.90.0080, HTSUSA, which provides for "Magnetic tape recorders or other sound recording apparatus, whether or not incorporating a sound reproducing device," dutiable at 3.9 percent ad valorem.


Whether the proper classification for the "Magic Message Phone" is under heading 9503, HTSUSA, as a toy, or heading 8520, HTSUSA, as a sound recording device. - 2 -


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systemic 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 to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN's), 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 article at issue is identified as the "Magic Message Phone" (Item No. 24001), and is marketed for the nine to thirty months age range. It has a colorful bright roller spinner, soft-touch bumpers and easy grasp carry handle, as well as four custom phone button decals. The product is powered by 4 "AA" batteries. According to the promotional literature, the article can be used so that "The whole family can record messages on baby's own special digital phone." Up to four separate messages can be recorded, played back, and re-recorded. As the child presses each button, a different message will play.

Although the item has a sound recording device, its use is extremely limited. The recording device allows the child to summon the voices of the important persons in his or her life by pressing the appropriate buttons. The "Magic Message Phone" has the manipulative play value of a toy phone because it features an "auto ring back and try again busy signal" as well as a vocalized sound track to amuse the child. Thus, regardless of whether or not the sound recording unit is ever operated by the user, the product can easily function as a traditional toy telephone. Further, the colorful bright roller spinner, and "soft-touch" bumpers and easy-grasp carry handle enhance the manipulative play value of this object.

It is our determination that the item functions as a manipulative toy appropriate for the age range for which it is marketed. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission booklet Manufacturers' Abbreviated Guide for Age-Labeling Toys: Matching Toy Characteristics to Children's Ages, sets forth many of the same characteristics for "manipulative toys" that are possessed by the "Magic Message Phone" which are as follows (children ages 19 through 36 months): the toy produces movement and sounds effectuated by the child's actions, the parts are easy for the child to manipulate, and the toy is simple enough for the child to understand how to produce effects.

In view of the foregoing, it is our determination that the "Magic Message Phone" is properly classified as a toy in subheading 9503.90.6000, HTSUSA.


The product,"Magic Message Phone," was properly classified under subheading 9503.90.6000, HTSUSA, a provision for "Other toys; reduced-size ("scale") models not similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; and accessories thereof: Other: Other: Other toys (except models), not having a spring mechanism" dutiable at the column one general rate of 6.8 percent ad valorem. Currently, the classification for this provision is contained at subheading 9503.90.0030, HTSUSA.

The protest should be denied with respect to entries of the "Magic Message Phone." In accordance with Section 3A(11) (b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act, and other public access channels.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director

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