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April 30, 1999

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:SP:225 E80640


TARIFF NO.: 9505.90.6000

Mr. Paul A. Barkan
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman, LLP 245 Park Ave. 33rd Floor
New York, N.Y. 10167-3397

RE: The tariff classification of a plastic Seder Matzah Tray from Taiwan

Dear Mr. Barkan:

In your letter dated April 5, 1999 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Rite Lite Ltd.

The item is an plastic Matzah Tray used as part of the Seder. Measuring approximately eight and a quarter inches square, the sides of the tray are one and five eights of an inch high. The tray has the word “Matzah” in English and in Hebrew in gold embossed acrylic. The Matzah Tray is used once a year, as a specific part of the Seder dinner which celebrates the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Household articles of plastic are generally classified in Chapter 39. However, as a result of Midwest of Cannon Falls consideration must be given to the possibility of classification within Heading 9505.

In the Informed Compliance Handbook Classification of Festive Articles, various Holidays and motifs were listed which were identified as accepted holidays and their appropriate symbols. Passover was not on that list. However, in that same handbook it was stated that the listed holidays and symbols were not definitive, and additional holidays and motifs would be added. Since the posting of the Informed Compliance Handbook on the world wide web in November of 1997, Passover has become an accepted holiday. In Midwest the Court considered as Festive Articles certain items which were advertised and sold to consumers before the particular holiday with which they were associated. It was determined that the items must be used in celebration of and for entertainment on a joyous holiday. It would appear that Passover meets the court’s standard of a joyous holiday. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Passover, is a “holiday commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt and the ‘passing over’ of the forces of destruction, or the sparing of the firstborn of the Israelites, when the Lord ‘smote the land of Egypt’ on the eve of the Exodus.”

Matzah is a food specifically associated with the celebration in the home of this joyous occasion. The proper display of the Matzah is part of the celebration. Again citing the Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Passover is often celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, especially on the fist night, when a special family meal, called the Seder is held. At the Seder foods of symbolic significance commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation are eaten, and prayers and traditional recitations are performed.”

“Matzah is unleavened bread eaten by Jews during the holiday of Passover in commemoration of their Exodus from Egypt. The rapid departure from Egypt did not allow for the fermentation of dough, and thus the use of leavening of any kind is proscribed throughout the week-long holiday.”

Like the Seder Plate, the Matzah Tray, is used to entertain in the home during Passover and at no other time.

By classifying the Matzah Tray within Heading 9505, the Matzah Tray is recognized as an accepted article of the Passover holiday.

The applicable subheading for the Matzah Tray will be 9505.90.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles,....: Other: Other. The rate of duty will be free.

The sample is returned as requested.

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 Alice J. Wong at (212) 637-7028.


Robert B. Swierupski
Director National Commodity

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