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HQ 958283

November 7, 1995


TARIFF NO.: 8306.29.0000

Mr. Mike Prado
Heirloom Galvanoplastics
2546 Hodges Bend
Sugarland, TX 77479

RE: Tariff classification of copper-plated baby shoe display from Mexico or Honduras; wood frame and wood base; headings 4414, 4420, 6309 and 8306; Chapter 64; Explanatory Notes to heading 6309 and 8306; GRI 3(b)

Dear Mr. Prado:

This is in response to your letter of June 13, 1995, in which you requested the tariff classification of a baby shoe display under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The article will be imported from Mexico or Honduras. You submitted a photograph of the item at issue.


The item at issue consists of a pair of baby shoes (submitted in advance by the retail customer in the U.S.) which have been copper-plated and permanently mounted on a wooden base. Also mounted on the base, directly behind the shoes, is a wooden picture frame, in which the user would display a photo of the child. The item is an ornamental article intended to preserve an object of sentimental value.


What is the tariff classification of the copper-plated baby shoes with a wooden picture frame permanently mounted on a wooden base?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

The article at issue is a composite good made up of different components - a wooden base and frame and copper-plated baby shoes. Therefore, the article is prima facie classifiable under different HTSUS headings and it cannot be classified pursuant to GRI 1. GRI 3 is applicable in this instance and states, in pertinent part, the following:

When by application by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to
3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) may be consulted. The ENs although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128, (August 23, 1989). EN VIII to GRI 3(b), pg. 4, provides an interpretation of the term "essential character" stating that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

We find that the copper-plated baby shoes impart the essential character to this article. From examination, it appears that the copper-plated shoes provide the main decorative value to this item and is the main impetus for the purchase of this item. The customer is placing an order primarily for the copper-plated baby shoes. Therefore, it is our position that this article is classifiable based on the copper-plated baby shoes.

The next issue to be determined is the proper classification of the copper-plated baby shoes. There are three possible headings/chapters in which this article is potentially classifiable and they are the following:

Heading 6309 Worn clothing and worn textile articles; rags

Chapter 64 Footwear, gaiter and the like: the specific four digit heading would be determined by the composition of the baby shoes

Heading 8306 Bells, gongs...statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal

The first possible classification for the copper-plated baby shoes is in heading 6309, HTSUS. According to the ENs to heading 6309, page 870, to be classifiable in this heading the article must meet two requirements: 1) they must show signs of appreciable wear and 2) they must be presented in bulk or in bales, sacks or similar bulk packings. As the baby shoes are not presented in bulk, they are not classifiable in heading 6309, HTSUS. The copper-plated baby shoes are also not classifiable as footwear in Chapter 64, HTSUS, as, in their condition on importation, they are not usable as footwear.

The third alternative classification for the copper-plated baby shoes is in heading 8306, HTSUS. The ENs to heading 8306 state the following:

This group comprises a wide range of ornaments of base metal (whether or not incorporating subsidiary non-metallic parts) of a kind designed essentially for decoration, e.g., in homes, offices, assembly rooms, churches. gardens.

It should be noted that the group does not include articles of more specific headings of the Nomenclature, even if those articles are suited by their nature or finish as ornaments.

This group covers articles which have no utility value but are wholly ornamental, and articles whose only usefulness is to contain or support other decorative articles or to add to their decorative effect....

The article at issue has no utility value and is wholly ornamental. Moreover, as discussed in the preceding paragraph, there is no other heading that more specifically describes these articles. Therefore, given the composition and use of the baby shoes, they are properly classifiable as ornaments of base metal in heading 8306, HTSUS.


Pursuant to GRI 3(b), the instant copper-plated baby shoe display is classifiable in subheading 8306.29.0000, HTSUS, which provides for "Bells, gongs...statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal...; Statuettes and other ornaments, and parts thereof: Other." The rate of duty is 4%.

Pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 2465(a), as amended by section 601 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, 19 U.S.C. 2465 note, Pub.L. 103-465, 108 Stat. 4990 (1994), duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) expired on July 31, 1995. At the present moment, GSP has not been renewed. Enclosed for your information is a copy of a Federal Register notice that discusses the procedures to be followed in the event the GSP was not renewed. In addition, we suggest that you contact your local Customs office before importing the merchandise to find out the status of the GSP.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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