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NY B85852

May 30, 1997

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 B85852


TARIFF NO.: 9504.90.6000; 9503.70.0030

Michael Franco
Franco Manufacturing Co., Inc.
555 Prospect Street
Metuchen NJ 08840-2293

RE: The tariff classification of "game towels" and a "road map" towel from China.

Dear Mr. Franco:

In your letter dated May 7, 1997, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

Two of the submitted samples each consist of a towel (called a "game towel"), game play pieces and a plastic carry bag. One sample contains a towel featuring a 24 x 24 inch square screen-printed "board" design which constitutes the traditional playing surface for the game of checkers. The towel is supplied with 12 black and 12 red plastic playing discs designed for use in the play of this checkers game. The second sample is composed of a towel with a screen-printed "tic tac toe" playing surface measuring approximately 26 x 23 inches in size, and 10 large "x" and "o" playing pieces. The towels are 100% cotton and measure 30 x 60 inches in size. We are satisfied that the sample articles can be used as a towel and as a game.

The third sample, identified as a "road map" set, consists of paper artwork that represents the design of a children's road map that will be printed on a cotton towel. The towel will packaged with a miniature die-cast truck.

Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. There can be no tariff classification of the two sample "game towel" products by reference to GRI 1 because the game parts and the towel are classifiable in different headings of the tariff. The towel is provided for in heading 6302, HTSUSA. Heading 9504, HTSUSA, provides for articles for arcade, table or parlor games...parts and accessories thereof. No single heading describes the products in issue. We must now determine if the "game towel" articles are classified as a set or a composite good of GRI 3, the next applicable GRI.

GRI 3 provides for goods that are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings. Since the "game towel" is classifiable under one heading and the game pieces under another, GRI 3 is pertinent to our analysis.

GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods made up of different components shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. In general, "essential character" has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish the article.

In this case, the essential character of the two novelty "game towel" sample products is not readily apparent. It is our belief that the essential character of the products is not distinguished by either the game play activity or by the towel function; the two are mutually complementary. Neither the "game towel" nor the game pieces imparts the essential character of the products in issue.

When the component which gives the product its essential character cannot be determined, classification is ascertained by way of GRI 3(c). If classified separately, the game surface with game pieces would fall under the provision for ...other games played on boards of special design...poker chips and dice, in subheading 9504.90.6000, HTSUSA. The cotton towel would be classified in subheading 6302.60.0020, HTSUSA. Applying GRI 3(c), the merchandise is classifiable under subheading 9504.90.6000 since it occurs last in numerical order of the two competing subheadings.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the tic tac toe "game towel" and the checkers "game towel" will be 9504.90.6000, HTSUSA, which provides for "articles for arcade, table or parlor games...other games played on boards of special design...poker chips and dice." The rate of duty will be free.

The third sample, representing the concept of a toy truck packaged with a cotton towel that is printed with a toy road map surface, meets the criteria of a toy set contained in the Explanatory Notes to subheading 9503.70, HTSUSA. That note reads, in part, "for the purposes of this subheading: (i) Sets' are two or more different types of articles (principally for amusement)."

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the "road map" towel will be 9503.70.0030, HTSUSA, which provides for "Other toys:...put up in sets or outfits, and parts and accessories thereof, other." The rate of duty will be free.

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

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Tom McKenna at 212-466-5475.


Gwenn Klein Kirschner
Chief, Special Products Branch
National Commodity

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