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HQ 960551

September 30, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 960551 RC


TARIFF NO.: 4911.99.8000

Ms. Denise Geihm
International Diversified Products
11755 Wilshire Blvd. (9th floor)
Los Angeles, CA 90025

RE: Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) B81337 concerning printed signs from Taiwan

Dear Ms. Geihm:

This letter is in response to your request for reconsideration of NYRL B81337, issued to you on January 29, 1997, concerning the classification of printed signs under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The signs, at issue in NYRL B81337, were made of sheets of rigid plastic bent to form a base and a face. One item's face, measuring approximately 2-1/8 inches by 5-1/2 inches, has been screen-printed, in large characters, with the word "RESERVED" followed below by the logo of a particular credit card. The other item's face, measuring approximately 4 inches by 5-1/2 inches, has been screen-printed with the logo of a particular credit card followed with the word "WELCOME." In NYRL B81337, Customs classified both signs in subheading 4911.99.8000, HTSUSA, as other printed matter. There, a sample of the "RESERVED" item was submitted and returned per request of the importer. Here, a sample of the "WELCOME" item (to be returned) was submitted for our review.


Whether the signs containing the word "WELCOME" and the signs containing the word "RESERVED" are properly classifiable in the same basket provision for other printed matter under the HTSUSA.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 states, in part, that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . " The general notes to Chapter 49 state that ". . . [n]ewspapers, journals and periodicals which are bound otherwise than in paper, and sets of newspapers, journals or periodicals comprising more than one issue under a single cover are to be classified in heading 4901, whether or not containing advertising material." The general notes to the Explanatory Notes to Chapter 49 state, in part, that "this Chapter covers all printed matter of which the essential nature and use is determined by the fact of its being printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations . . . [with the exception of] . . . goods . . . in which the printing is merely incidental to their primary use .

Heading 4911, HTSUSA, provides for other printed matter. The EN to heading 4911 indicates that the heading covers all printed matter that is not more particularly covered by the preceding headings of the chapter. Subheading 4911.10.0080, HTSUSA, provides for "[o]her printed matter, including printed pictures and photographs: Trade advertising material, commercial catalogs and the like, Other."

We find that the above-described signs are not exclusively "trade advertising material" because they give restaurant patrons additional important information, i.e., greetings ("WELCOME") or directions ("RESERVED"). While we agree that the word "WELCOME" here may be interpreted to mean "the named credit card is welcomed," the word "WELCOME" may just as well mean "the patron is welcomed to the restaurant or to a particular table." More clearly, the word "RESERVED" denotes that a given table where the sign appears has been reserved. If the signs were meant to be exclusively advertising material, they would not even necessarily have to include the word "WELCOME," alternatively, the language may have been printed in no uncertain terms "IS WELCOMED," "WELCOMED," "ACCEPTED," or "IS ACCEPTED," etc.

In any event, these signs contain language that may be interpreted as having both an advertising and informational message, similar to newspapers. However, newspapers are specifically provided for in the HTSUSA. Unlike newspapers, the instant items are not specifically provided for eo nomine in the HTSUSA. Instead, the above-described signs, containing printed advertising and information, are both properly classified under the "basket" provision, subheading 4911.99.8000 as "other printed matter."


The above-described items are classified under subheading 4911.99.8000, HTSUSA, which provides for other (non-enumerated) printed matter, dutiable at the general column one rate of 3.4 percent ad valorem.

NYRL B81337 is affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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