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August 30, 1999

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 E85848

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 9503.49.0025; 7326.20.0050

Cindy Hazlett
Applause , Inc.
6101 Variel Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

RE: The tariff classification of two plastic toys and two key chains from China.

Dear Ms. Hazlett:

In your letter dated August 10, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The sample articles are identified as key chains that represent in different designs the Toy Story figures of Hamm, Alien, Buzz Light Year and Woody. The Hamm and Alien figures are attached to a steel spiral split key loop to hold keys, and a 7 centimeter long plastic, spring-loaded thumb jack is attached to the key loop of each. The toy component representing the Hamm character is a plastic pig filled with plastic pellets which resembles a miniature piggy bank. The pig figure is about 6 centimeters in height. The toy component representing the Alien character is a plastic depiction of an alien creature with three eyes and pointy ears. The Alien figure is about 7 centimeters in height and is filled with plastic pellets. The Buzz Light Year and Woody toy components are attached to a steel spiral key loop by means of a small metal ring attached to each of the toys. Attached to the key loop of each toy component is a 3 centimeter metal hook . The Buzz Light Year and Woody toy components, that measure about 4 centimeters in height each, depict a human character encased in a toy television . The arms, legs and the head of each character move when the toy television is shaken. The samples will be returned, as requested.

Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the Unite 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. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the heading or legal notes do not require otherwise, the remaining GRIs are applied, taken in order. 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 goods are classified under GRI 1, no essential character analysis pursuant to GRI 3 (b) is necessary.

The subject samples are all considered composite goods, each consisting of a toy component 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 these composite goods 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 which component of each article imparts the essential character to that article.

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 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 principal 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 consisted only of the key ring.

The Hamm and Alien key ring articles both consist of a steel spiral key split ring or loop that enables them to hold keys. They are described and commercially referred to as key chains. But, in these two articles at least, the size of the toy component of each taken together with the toy’s humorous cartoon-like features and configuration, promote an amusement that prevails over the commercial value and utility of the key ring component and renders this key ring component a secondary feature of the articles. The principal use of the articles will be to offer play value and amusement whether 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 spring-loaded thumb jack. It is from the toy component that each of the articles takes its essential character. Accordingly, each article here will be classified as if it consisted solely of the toy element, by virtue of GRI 3(b), HTSUS. The key loop is ignored for classification purposes, and the articles are classified as if the key loop on each were not present.

The Woody and Buzz Light Year key ring articles both consist of a steel spiral key split ring or loop that enables them to hold keys. They are also described and commercially referred to as key chains. It is the belief of Customs that these two articles would indeed function as key holders, rather than be principally used as toys. The toy component of each of these articles is lightweight enough and small enough in design so that the key ring is fully functional as a key holder. The toy component of the articles is not the primary component of the articles, but rather the commercial value and utility of the key ring portion renders the toy component the secondary feature of both articles. It is from the key ring component that each of the articles takes its essential character. Accordingly, each article here will be classified as if it consisted solely of the key ring element, by virtue of GRI 3(b), HTSUS. The toy component is ignored for classification purposes, and the articles are classified as if the toy component on each were not present.

The applicable subheading for the Hamm and Alien key ring articles will be 9503.49.0025, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Toys representing animals or non-human creaturesand parts and accessories thereof: OtherToys.” The rate of duty will be free.

The applicable subheading for the Woody and Buzz Light Year key ring articles will be 7326.20.0050, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Articles of iron or steel wireOther.” The rate of duty will be 3.9 percent ad valorem.

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.

Sincerely,

Robert B. Swierupski
Director,

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