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June 7, 1999

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:SP:225 E80865


TARIFF NO.: 9503.50.0020

Mr. Herbert J. Lynch
Sullivan & Lynch, P.C.
156 State Street
Boston, MA 02109-2508

RE: The tariff classification of a toy guitar from China

Dear Mr. Lynch:

In your letter dated April 15, 1999, received in this office on April 19, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Universal Music, Inc. Additional information was presented on May 6, 1999 in support of your position.

The item under consideration is an acoustic guitar identified by model number MSG-30 and FG-30. The guitar is constructed from wood and steel strings. It features a pick guard screwed into the wood and a strap button for optional strap attachment (strap not included). Measuring 30 inches in length, the guitar is distinctly sized for a child. The instrument is said to be designed for children’s use and will be marketed within the toy department of mass merchandisers and toy retailers.

The classification of merchandise under the HTS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’S). GRI 1 of the HTS, 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 Explanatory Notes to Heading 9503 states:

"Certain toys . . . may be capable of a limited "use"; but they are generally distinguishable by their size and limited capacity . . . "

It was determined that the guitar was incapable of playing an acceptable melody since it could not be properly tuned due to its inferior construction, thereby discouraging a beginner from seriously pursuing the study of music with the instrument. We, therefore, conclude that the item is designed primarily for amusement purposes.

This letter is based upon the facts and sample presented before us. Any modifications or improvements to the tone of the guitar will nullify this ruling letter. With your permission, one sample and retail package is being retained by this office. The remaining sample is being returned as requested.

The applicable subheading for the toy guitars will be 9503.50.0020, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for toy musical instruments and apparatus. 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 Alice J. Wong at 212-637-7028.


Robert B. Swierupski

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