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HQ 958440

March 4, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 958440 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 9505.10.50

Mr. Steven J. Diver, Import Analyst
May Merchandising Co.
615 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63101

RE: Poly-Resin Figurines, Festive Articles; HRLs 088504, 957706, 958240, 958259, 958409, 958410, 958412, 958556, 958747

Dear Mr. Diver:

This is in response to your initial inquiry dated June 2, 1995, with respect to a binding classification ruling for 3 styles of poly-resin figurines depicitng a building and various Santas and subsequent submission dated August 10, 1995, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). On February 26, 1996, we sent a letter to your office requesting further information regarding the traditional use, during the Christmas season, of the subject articles with statuette villages. Your letter dated April 9, 1996, supplied the information we requested. Samples of the subject articles were submitted with the initial request.


The articles, subject of this ruling request, are 3 cold cast statuettes composed of 40 percent calcium carbonate, 40 percent polyester resin, 14 percent titanium dioxide, 3 percent clear catalyst and 3 percent mekpo. Style #485634 depicts a "first Community Church" decorated with snow, an evergreen wreath and trees and 2 small figurines. It measures 3"x3"x3". Style #484622 and 485617 both depict Santa Claus, complete with red hat and robe with white fringe, fat belly , white beard, and sack of toys. The styles differ in the types of articles the figures carry and the clothing adoring the outside of the robe. Both measure 3"x3"x5". All 3 figurines belong to a larger collection known as the "Crystal Falls Village". The subject articles are sold in the seasonal "Trim-A-Home" section of department stores.


What is the proper classification of the poly-resin figurines.


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 statuettes which depicted buildings and figurines together with miscellaneous accessories. The porcelain group, was identified as the Heritage Village Collection, ( which included 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, 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 "villages" were 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 "statuette 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 evidence indicated that in general, ornamental ceramic articles are not traditionally associated or used with a particular festival, but that there are certain, traditional, "statuette villages" which are displayed as Christmas decorations. The importer then demonstrated how its particular collections conformed to those traditional statuette villages. Based on evidence presented, Customs recognized that certain "statuette 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, like the merchandise in HRL 957706, these figurines depicting a building and various Santas are of the kind traditionally used during the festival of Christmas. This finding is based, in part, on the information you have provided regarding marketing, which included advertisements, method of display in your stores, limitation with respect to selling season, etc. Accordingly, it is our determination that the subject articles belong to a larger statuette village which is substantially similar to the kind of statuette 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 statuette 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 poly-resin figurines are classified in subheading 9505.10.5020, HTSUSA, the provision for "Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles . . . parts and accessories thereof: Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other, Other." The applicable rate of duty is free.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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