United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1999 NY Rulings > NY E82497 - NY E82565 > NY E82558

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

June 17, 1999

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 E82558


TARIFF NO.: 9503.41.0010

Lorianne Aldinger
Import Manager
Rite Aid Corporation
P.O. Box 3165
Harrisburg PA 17105

RE: The tariff classification of a “2000 Happy Face Keychain” from China.

Dear Ms. Aldinger:

In your letter of May 20, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The sample article, identified as the “2000 Happy Face Keychain,” Rite Aid item #991889, (the sample has an attached label that reads “Happy 2000 Key Chain”) and described as a Y2K promotional item, consists of a steel spiral split key loop to hold keys and an 8 centimeter long plastic, spring-loaded thumb jack attached by a short cord to the head of a soft plush toy. This toy component is a representation of a creature and measures 17 centimeters in height. The toy creature consists of a round head, a round torso and dangling arm and leg appendages. It has stitched eyes and mouth and wears a shirt screenprinted with the numerals “2000.”

Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the heading and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6. Pursuant to GRI 3(b), composite goods which are prima facie classified in two or more headings, and are equally specific in relation to one another, shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. As the GRIs must be applied in order, when merchandise is classified under GRI 1, no essential character analysis pursuant to GRI 3(b) is necessary.

The subject “2000 Happy Face Keychain” constitutes a composite good, consisting of the toy creature, that if imported separately would be classified in heading 9503, HTSUS, and the metal key ring loop, itself classifiable in heading 7326, HTSUS. Because each component of this composite good can be classified in separate headings by reference to GRI 1, we must resort to GRI 3 to classify the whole article. GRI 3(a) is inapplicable because the HTSUS provisions under consideration each describes only a single part of the article, and the headings are equally specific in relation to one another. Thus, we must rely on GRI 3(b) and determine from which component the article takes it’s essential character.

There have been numerous Customs tariff classification decisions on key rings with attached toy, game, souvenir and various other novelty objects. In these rulings, Customs looked primarily to the role of the constituent components in relation to the use of the goods to determine essential character. For example, in Customs ruling letter HQ 961020 dated September 25, 1998, an article consisting of a split steel key loop attached by a small steel chain to an 8 centimeter long toy teddy bear was ruled to be an article of steel in subheading 7326.20.00, HTSUS. Customs said that it is the role of the constituent materials (or components) in relation to the use of the good that imparts the essential character of an item and determines the classification. There, it was the key loop/chain component that comprised the utilitarian feature of the article and the element that contributed chiefly to the principle use of the article, that is, to hold keys. Thus, the key ring imparted the essential character to the whole article and the article was classified as if it insisted only of the key ring.

In HQ 961965 dated September 23, 1998, Customs ruled that several “Keychain Toyz” items, despite having amusing components attached, were principally designed for the function of carrying and organizing keys and were principally used this way. We noted the durability and quality of the key rings and chains, their commercial recognition as key chains, the expectations of the purchasers and the environment of sale of the items. The function of the subject items was to carry keys. The metal key loops played the primary role in this function and were the components, which gave the composite “Keychain Toyz” items their essential character. Accordingly, they were classified as key loops or key chains in subheading 7326.20.00, HTSUS.

The instant “2000 Happy Face Keychain” article consists of the steel spiral key split ring or loop that enables the article to hold keys. It is described and commercially referred to as a key chain. But, in this case at least, the size of the toy component taken together with the toy’s humorous cartoon-like features and configuration, promote an amusement that overwhelms the commercial value and utility of the key ring component and renders this key ring component a secondary feature of the article. The principle use of the article will be to offer play value and amusement whether it be a manipulated plaything, placed on a surface to be viewed, or clipped to a pant belt loop, a child’s backpack or a carry bag by means of the attached spring-loaded thumb jack. It is from the toy component that the article takes its essential character. Accordingly, the article will be classified as if it consisted solely of the toy element, by virtue of GRI 3(b), HTSUS.

The applicable subheading for the “2000 Happy Face Keychain” will be 9503.41.0010, HTSUS, which provides for stuffed toys representing animals or non-human creatures. The duty rate 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) 637-7015.


Robert B. Swierupski Director,
National Commodity Specialist Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: