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NY 806978

March 17, 1995

CLA-2-69:S:N:N3:227 806978


TARIFF NO.: 6913.90.50

Mr. Joseph P. Cox
Stein Shostak Shostak & O'Hara
515 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071-3329

RE: The tariff classification of an ornamental ceramic bowl in a brass plated holder from China.

Dear Mr. Cox:

In your letter dated February 15, 1995, on behalf of Teleflora, you requested a tariff classification ruling. The sample is being returned as requested.

The merchandise in question is an ornamental ceramic bowl that is inserted into a filigreed leaf design brass plated holder. The item is sold by the importer to florists who use the articles as containers for floral arrangements. The subject article will be advertised as having a subsequent use as a potpourri holder after its initial use as a floral container. The holder is round, measures 6 and 1/2 inches in diameter and costs $1.65. The bowl is also round, measures 6 and 1/4 inches in diameter and costs $0.87.

Your position is that the subject item is classified in subheading 7323.99.9060, HTS, which provides for table, kitchen, or other household articles and parts thereof, of iron or steel...; other; other; not coated or plated with precious metal; other; other. It is your contention that, pursuant to General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(b), the metal holder represents the essential character of the article; not the ceramic bowl. To support this claim, you state that the metal holder makes up the greatest cost of the item and serves as the most distinguishing characteristic to the consumer. You maintain it is the metal holder which gives the article its greatest degree of decorative value.

In the alternative, you maintain that even if neither the metal nor the ceramic components impart the essential character, by virtue of GRI 3(c) subheading 7323.99.9060, HTS, would still apply because heading 7323 occurs after any applicable ceramic provision in chapter 69.

Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 086166, dated April 9, 1990, dealt with the classification of glass curio and trinket boxes with brass feet and brass on the side or edges. The importer argued that the essential character of the boxes was represented by the brass, since the value of the brass was much greater than the value of the glass and the quality of workmanship applied to the brass was greater. Though the brass represented a greater portion of the product's value than the glass, the body of the article, (the top, bottom and sides) consisted of glass. Furthermore, the function of the box, to hold articles, was represented by the glass, not the brass. Therefore, HRL 086166 held that the essential character of the boxes was found in the glass body, not the brass feet and edges, as the function of the box and the greatest portion of the product's surface area were represented by the glass.

It is our position that the essential character of the subject article is represented by the ceramic container, not the metal holder. Though the value of the metal part is greater than the ceramic part, the function and use of this merchandise as a container for floral arrangements is clearly represented by the ceramic bowl. The portion of the product which is known as the container for floral arrangements consists exclusively of ceramic. The item would be a floral container whether it had the metal holder or not.

The applicable subheading for the ceramic bowl with the metal holder will be 6913.90.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for ornamental ceramic articles of other than porcelain or china. The rate of duty will be 6.8 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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