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HQ 958289

November 5, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 958289 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.50

Port Director of Customs
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202

RE: Protest No.1303-95-100026; Regal Theatre and Pub ceramic figurines, Festive Articles; HRLs 088504, 957706, 958240, 958259, 958409, 958410, 958412, 958556, 958747

Dear Sir:

The following is our response to the application for further review of protest 1303-95-100026, concerning your decision to classify ceramic buildings for mini-villages identified as the Regal Theatre and Pub, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Literature containing pictures of the subject articles was submitted for our review.


The articles are ceramic porcelain hand-painted statuettes depicting old English cottages. They are identified as "Regal Theatre"and "Regal Pub" and are part of a series of twelve cottages. Both cottages are adorned with snow and evergreen wreaths. The ultimate consumer may purchase each separately or the entire series together. An optional lighting kit is available for purchase.

Protestant was directed to enter the ceramic statuettes under subheading 6914.10.00, HTSUS, as ceramic statuettes and other ornamental articles . Protestant asserts that the ceramic statuettes are classifiable under subheading 9505.10.50, HTSUS, as "Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles...parts and accessories thereof: Articles for Christmas festivities and other parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other." The entry was liquidated on November 18, 1994, and a protest was timely filed on January 26, 1995.


Whether the lighted porcelain or ceramic houses are classified in heading 6913, HTSUS, as statuettes and other ornamental porcelain or ceramic articles, or in heading 9505, HTSUS, as festive articles.


Classification under the HTSUS 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 GRIs 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 HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Heading 9505, HTSUS, provides for, among other items, festive, carnival, and other entertainment articles. The EN to 9505 indicates that the heading covers:

(A) Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, which in view of their intended use are generally made of non-durable material. They include:

(1) Decorations such as festoons, garlands, Chinese lanterns, etc., as well as various decorative articles made of paper, metal foil, glass fibre, etc., for Christmas trees (e.g., tinsel, stars, icicles), artificial snow, coloured balls, bells, lanterns, etc. Cake and other decorations (e.g., animals, flags) which are traditionally associated with a particular festival are also classified here.

(2) Articles traditionally used at Christmas festivities, e.g., artificial Christmas trees (these are sometimes of the folding type), nativity scenes, Christmas crackers, Christmas stockings, imitation yule logs....

In general, merchandise is classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUS, as a festive article when the article, as a whole:

1. is of non-durable material or, generally, is not purchased because of its extreme worth, or intrinsic value (e.g., paper, cardboard, metal foil, glass fiber, plastic,

2. functions primarily as a decoration (e.g., its primary function is not utilitarian); and

3. is traditionally associated or used with a particular festival (e.g., stockings and tree ornaments for Christmas, decorative eggs for Easter).

Articles classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUS, tend to serve no other function than decoration. Further, the motif of an item is not dispositive of its classification and, consequently, does not transform an item into a festive article.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088504, issued February 3, 1992, we classified two groups of porcelain and earthenware articles which depicted buildings and figurines together with miscellaneous accessories. The porcelain group, was identified as the Heritage Village Collection. It included the Dickens Village, Alpine Village, New England Village, Christmas in the City, and the Little Town of Bethlehem Collection and classified under subheading 6913.10.50, HTSUS, as statuettes and other ornamental ceramic articles, of porcelain. The earthenware group was identified as the Snow Village Collection and classified under subheading 6913.90.50, HTSUS, as other statuettes and other ornamental articles. Heading 9505, HTSUS, which provides, in pertinent part, for festive, carnival and other entertainment articles, was raised as a possible classification but eliminated because no evidence was presented that mini-villages are traditionally associated or used with a particular festival (i.e., Christmas).

In HRL 957706, issued June 21, 1995, Customs revisited the classification of the Heritage and Snow Village Collections. In an effort to demonstrate that certain mini-villages were traditionally associated with Christmas, the importer introduced copious written and oral evidence from independent sources. In addition, Customs conducted its own independent review of the question. All of the evidence indicated that in general, ornamental ceramic articles are not traditionally associated or used with a particular festival, but that there are certain, traditional, "mini-villages" which are displayed as Christmas decorations. The importer then demonstrated how its particular collections conformed to those traditional mini-villages. Based on evidence presented, Customs recognized that certain "mini-villages" were traditionally associated with Christmas and that the importer had successfully demonstrated that the Heritage and Snow Village Collections, were substantially similar to those villages. Customs reclassified the subject collections under subheading 9505.10.50, HTSUS, as festive articles.

Although in general, ornamental poly-resin figurines are not traditionally associated or used with a particular festival, we find, that like the merchandise in HRL 957706, these articles are of the kind traditionally used during the festival of Christmas. This finding is based, in part, on protestant's submission concerning marketing, which included advertisements, limitation with respect to selling season, etc. Accordingly, it is our determination that the protestant has successfully demonstrated that the Regal Theatre and Pub belong to a larger village which is substantially similar to the kind of mini-villages traditionally displayed as Christmas decorations. Therefore, the subject articles meet the criteria for classification as festive articles. For a further discussion on the classification of mini-villages see HRLs 958240 and 958259 dated March 25, 1996, 958409 dated April 19, 1996, 958410 and 958412 dated April 23, 1996, 958556 dated April 29, 1996, and 958747 dated September 20, 1996.


The protest should be ALLOWED. The Regal Theatre and Pub are classifiable under subheading 9505.10.50, HTSUS, as Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof: Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other: Other" with a 1994 column one duty rate of 5.8 percent ad valorem.

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 this decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of this 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 to 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, Notice of Action on the protest, to be returned to the protestant.


John Durant, Director

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