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NY G82280

October 13, 2000

CLA-2-39:RR:NC:SP:221 G82280


TARIFF NO.: 3926.10.0000; 9023.00.0000

Mr. John M. Colomaio
Trans-Border Customs Services, Inc.
625 Delaware Avenue
Suite 210
Buffalo, NY 14202

RE: The tariff classification of gram centimeter cubes, blank number cubes and algebra tiles from China.

Dear Mr. Colomaio:

In your letter dated September 14, 2000, on behalf of Instructional Materials Group LLC, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

Three samples were included with your request. The gram centimeter cubes consist of 100 cubes, in a total of 10 colors, each measuring one cubic centimeter and weighing approximately one gram. Each cube has a projection on one side and a hole on each of the other 5 sides, allowing them to interlock on all 6 sides. You state that the set is used by elementary school teachers to demonstrate volume units or to use in weighing exercises.

The blank number cubes consist of a set of 2 blank white cubes and 18 round white paper stickers with self-adhesive backing. The cubes and stickers are packed together in a plastic bag with integral extruded closure. The number cube set is intended to be used by teachers and students as an alternative to traditional number cubes in probability exercises. Rather than standard dice which have the numbers 1 through 6 printed on each cube side, the user writes numerals of their choice on the round stickers and affixes them to the cube sides so as to vary the distributive outcome of random rolls of the cubes.

The algebra tiles consist of 32 flat plastic pieces in different shapes and sizes. The articles are made by gluing together two different colored tiles, one side screen printed with a “+” sign and the other side screen printed with a “-” sign. You state that the tiles are intended to be used in conjunction with a flat axial mat representing the “x” and “y” axis of a common algebra coordinate grid to model the spatial concept of algebraic properties.

You suggest classification in heading 9023, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for instruments, apparatus and models, designed for demonstrational purposes (for example, in education or exhibitions), unsuitable for other uses, and parts and accessories thereof. The Explanatory Notes to the HTS constitute the official interpretation of the tariff schedule at the international level. The Explanatory Notes covering heading 9023, HTS, list articles such as demonstrational machines, anatomical models, training dummies, relief maps and military tank simulators. Those Notes also exclude articles designed for both recreational and demonstrational purposes.

This office agrees that the blank number cubes with self-adhesive stickers are unsuitable for uses other than demonstrating probability. However, the interconnecting gram centimeter cubes, while useful in a teacher’s explanation of simple concepts such as measurement, weight and volume, may also be used by children both by themselves and with others to put together different shapes and configurations, a traditional childhood activity. While a teacher can use them to explain simple concepts, they are not suitable only for that use, as required by heading 9023. Compared to the Explanatory Note examples, the cubes are much less sophisticated. Also, although the cubes may be used in conjunction with other materials as part of a lesson, they themselves do not illustrate or demonstrate any particular concept, theory or principle.

The applicable subheading for the gram centimeter cubes will be 3926.10.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of plasticsoffice or school supplies. The rate of duty will be 5.3 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the set of blank number cubes with stickers will be 9023.00.0000, HTS, which provides for instruments, apparatus and models, designed for demonstrational purposes (for example, in education or exhibitions), unsuitable for other uses, and parts and accessories thereof. The rate of duty will be free.

Your inquiry does not provide enough information for us to give a classification ruling on the algebra tiles. Your request for a classification ruling should include complete information on how the tiles are used in teaching the lesson. Are the size and shape of the tiles utilized in the demonstration of the concepts in the lesson, or are these features insignificant in comparison to the printed positive or negative signs on the tiles? When this information is available, you may wish to consider resubmission of your request. We are returning the sample of the algebra tiles. If you decide to resubmit your request, please include the sample and other material that we have returned to you.

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 Joan Mazzola at 212-637-7034.


Robert B. Swierupski

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