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March 11, 1999

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 D88879


TARIFF NO.: 9503.49.0025

Crispin N. Flores
Corrigan Dispatch Company
P.O. Box 1072
Hidalgo TX 78557-1072

RE: The tariff classification of bath hand puppets from China.

Dear Mr. Flores:

In your letter of March 01, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Treat Entertainment, Inc.

The merchandise at issue are hand puppets which comically depict various animals. The puppets measure 10½ inches long by 6½ inches wide and are made of 100% cotton terry material. The puppets provided to us have a bar of soap fastened to them. It is said that the U.S.- made soap will be combined with the China manufactured bath puppet in Mexico whereupon the completed product will be imported into the United States. The samples will be returned at your request.

Although you and your client repeat several times in your correspondence that the bath hand puppet is clearly a toy, that is, something principally used for frivolous amusement and play, we wonder why you or your client took no effort to explain why tags attached to the puppets indicate that this line of puppets with attached bars of soap are called “Baby Scrubs™” and that each character puppet bears a character name ending in “scrubs.” The term “scrub” means the functional task of rubbing with a cloth while washing. By using this term, your client seems to suggest to the user that the “Baby Scrubs™” bath hand puppets are suitable for performing a cleaning or scrubbing function. This then begs the question of whether the primary use of these articles is as a toy or a wash cloth.

In the end, it is our position that the principle use of these bath hand puppets is to amuse the child. Consequently, it is a toy for tariff purposes. The applicable subheading for the bath hand puppets will be 9503.49.0025, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for toys representing animals or non-human creatures , not stuffed. The duty rate will be free.

Regarding the soap bars that are manufactured and packaged in the U.S. and shipped to Mexico for joinder with the puppets, subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS, provides for the free entry of products of the U.S. that have been exported and returned without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means while abroad, provided the documentary requirements of section 10.1, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.1), are met. Consult Customs oficers at your port of entry for further information.

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) 637-7015.


Robert B. Swierupski Director, National Commodity Specialist Division

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