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NY 808909

April 28, 1995

CLA-2-62:S:N:N5:353 808909


TARIFF NO.: 6117.80.9040

Joan Shindledecker
C J International, Inc.
P.O. Box 2017
Baltimore, MD 21117

RE: The tariff classification of Novelty Earmuffs from Taiwan

Dear Ms. Shindledecker:

In your letter dated March 29, 1995, received in our office on April 3, 1995 you requested a classification ruling on behalf of your client Matscot International. A sample was submitted for examination.

The submitted sample consists of earmuffs made from knit man-made fibers that are attached to each other by an adjustable plastic headband. Attached to each ear muff is a plastic representation of a women's bare breast and this feature serves as the marketing vehicle for the article as "Boob Muffs -"The Breast Way To Keep Your Ears Warm". A sample of the retail package was also submitted with the article. You state that the item is clearly marketed as an article for adult entertainment as a practical joke and although is constructed mechanically as an ear muff, cannot be so used on a practical basis because of its use as a practical joke item.

As defined in Parksmith Corp. vs. United States, 67 Customs Court 405, C.D. 4304, a practical joke is a joke whose humor arises from placing an individual at a humorous disadvantage through a trick or a prank. For example, articles such as exploding golf balls and birthday candles whose flame do not go out once lit, will surprise a person and will evoke humor from others at their expense. The individual will be as surprised as everyone else.

The instant item may evoke some laughter from others, but there is no question that the person wearing the earmuffs is quite aware of their unique appearance. They are not taken by surprise when individuals stare at them in the street. If the wearer is an object of laughter, they have brought it upon themselves.

Thus, while the instant article has a novelty aspect about it, it cannot be classified as a joke item in HTS 9505. Its essential character is imparted by its functional use as earmuffs.

The applicable subheading for the novelty earmuffs will be 6117.80.9040, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Other made up clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted; knitted or crocheted parts of garments or of clothing accessories: Other accessories: Other....Of man-made fibers: Other. The duty rate will be 15.4 percent ad valorem.

The earmuffs fall within textile category designation 659. As a product of Taiwan this merchandise may be subject to visa requirements and quota restraints based upon international textile trade agreements.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

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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