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NY E87882

October 29, 1999

CLA-2-67:RR:NC:2:222 E87882


TARIFF NO.: 6702.90.6500

Ms. Lana Wang
Success System Services
7740 East Garvey Avenue, #D
Rosemead, CA 91770

RE: The tariff classification of artificial sprays with natural pine cones from China.

Dear Ms. Wang:

In your letter, dated September 28, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Fortune Silks, Inc., Chino, CA.

A sample of this product (item #89087) consists of five wire stems, wrapped in brown paper tape, twined at the base and in lengths of about 13 to 16 inches. At the base of the spray are three fabric leaves, supported by thin wire centers, about 6 to 6 ½ inches in length. The top 2 ½ to 3 inches of each stem are decorated with small, white plastic buds. Along each stem, extending below the white buds for 8 to 11 inches, are small natural pine cones, about ¼ to 3/8 inch in diameter, pierced by small bare wires off the stem. They provide the primary decoration on the spray. A material breakdown, submitted with the inquiry, indicates that the product components consist of natural dried cones, metal wire and floral tape. The product appears to also include some plastic components (the white buds) and coated textile fabric (the leaves).

The artificial spray with small, natural pine cones is a composite article, consisting of both natural and synthetic materials. The provision in heading 0603, HTS, provides for cut flowers and flower buds of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes, fresh, dried, dyed, bleached, impregnated or otherwise prepared. The Explanatory Notes to this heading state, “The heading covers not only cut flowers and buds as such, but also bouquets, wreaths, floral baskets and similar articles (e.g., posies and buttonholes) incorporating flowers or flower buds. Provided that such bouquets, etc., have the essential character of florists’ wares, they remain in the heading even if they contain accessories of other materials (ribbons, paper trimmings, etc.).”

The instant spray consists of artificial stems, leaves and buds. This is not a “florist’s ware” of heading 0603, HTS, since florists’ wares are, essentially, based on natural vegetable materials. While the Explanatory Notes provide that “florists’ wares” may contain accessories made from other materials (for example, the addition of ribbons for ornamentation, wire frames to support floral wreaths, paper trimmings on a floral basket, etc.), the synthetic materials used in these sprays are integral components of the spray, and not merely accessories. Accordingly, this spray is not a product included in heading 0603, HTS.

Heading 6702, HTS, provides for artificial flowers, foliage and fruit and parts thereof; articles made of artificial flowers, foliage and fruit. The Explanatory Notes to this heading indicate that the goods provided for therein “may be made of textile materials, felt, paper, plastics, rubber, leather, metal foil, feathers, shells, or other materials of animal origin (for example, artificial foliage of marine animal origin, specially prepared and dyed, consisting of the limp remains of the bodies of hydozoa or bryozoa), etc.” Natural vegetable material are not listed as source materials for the artificial flowers, foliage and fruit, etc., of heading 6702, HTS. Accordingly, the heading does not cover composite goods including natural vegetable components.

In HRL 957406, dated April 30, 1996, Headquarters ruled on the tariff classification of sprays or swags constructed from both natural and artificial components. The articles at issue were a blueberry twig with a bird nest, a raspberry twig with a bird nest and a berry or grape swag. The constituent materials consisted of wire, paper, plastics, styrofoam, glue, fabric, natural twigs, branches, and moss.

In its analysis of the classification, Headquarters found that each item was a composite good falling into at least two different headings. Following the application of GRI 2(b) to the respective headings, it was stated that “the proper classification of goods consisting of more than one material or component shall be determined by the application of GRI 3.” Under GRI 3(b), composite goods are classified “as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.” Absent a finding of essential character, composite goods are classifiable under GRI 3(c), “under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.” Regarding the products at issue, Headquarters concluded that it could not classify these goods pursuant to 3(b). It stated, “Neither the natural nor the artificial components impart the essential character to these articles. The articles fully incorporate both components, each contributing equivalent bulk, weight, and value. Accordingly, classification is determined by GRI 3(c).”

In the instant case, the stems, flower buds and leaves are made from artificial materials, the pine cones constituting the natural component. As in the case of the sprigs and swags described in the referenced ruling, the instant spray fully incorporates both the artificial and natural components in a spray of five thin branches with leaves, pine cones and flower buds. The natural and artificial components contribute substantially equivalent bulk, weight, and value to the finished spray. The artificial component provides the branch structure of the spray, along with some of the ornamentation. The natural component, the cones, provides the decorative component 9along with the leaves and buds). In our opinion, while both components are functionally and decoratively complementary, neither can be said to impart the essential character of the spray.

The applicable subheading for the artificial spray with small, natural pine cones (item #89087) be 6702.90.6500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for artificial flowers, foliage and fruit and parts thereof; articles made of artificial flowers, foliage or fruit, of other materials, other, other. The rate of duty will be 17 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 Alice Masterson at 212-637-7090.


Robert B. Swierupski

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