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 > 2001 HQ Rulings > HQ 964138 - HQ 964267 > HQ 964151

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 964151

October 2, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964151 TF


TARIFF NO.: 9208.10.00

Ms. Laura Fumagalli, Import/Export Manager Dakin, Inc.
7000 Marina Blvd.,
Brisbane, CA 94005

RE: Modification of HQ 082738; other toys and models

Dear Ms. Fumagalli:

This is in regard to HQ 082738 issued to you on February 8, 1990, by this office in reply to your letter of July 19, 1988, in which you requested a tariff classification ruling, of among other items, a Daisy Kingdom musical pillow. We have reviewed this ruling and determined that the classification provided for this merchandise is incorrect. This ruling modifies HQ 082738 by providing the correct classification for the Daisy Kingdom musical pillow.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C 1625(c)), notice of the proposed modification of HQ 082738 was published on August 16, 2000, in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN, Volume 34, Number 33. No comments were received in response to the notice.


The subject good, identified as item #46-3500, is a Daisy Kingdom Musical Pillow, which consists of a small stuffed pillow containing a wind-up music box. This item is designed to be tied onto a baby's crib.

In HQ 082738, Customs found the subject good classifiable as other toys within subheading 9503.90.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.


Whether the subject goods are classifiable as music boxes in subheading 9208.10.00, HTSUS.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1, HTSUS, provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, HTSUS, and if the headings or notes do not require otherwise, the remaining GRIs 2 through 6, HTSUS, may be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitutes the official interpretation of the HTSUS. The ENs, although not dispositive, are used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS by providing a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. See, T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS headings under consideration are as follows:

9208 Music boxes, fairground organs, mechanical street organs, mechanical singing birds, musical saws and other musical instruments not falling within any other heading of this chapter; decoy calls of all kinds; whistles, call horns and other mouth-blown sound signaling instruments:

9208.10.00 Music boxes

9503 Other toys; reduced-size ("scale") models and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; parts and accessories thereof:

9503.90.00 Other
Parts and accessories

In HQ 082738, Customs held the subject goods to be classifiable as toys within subheading 9503.90 which provides for “other toys; reduced-size (“scale”) models and similar recreational models.”

We do not agree that the subject goods are classifiable as toys within heading 9503.90.00, HTSUS. Although the term “toy” is not defined in the HTSUS, the ENs to Chapter 95 provide that toys are intended essentially for the amusement of persons (children and adults). In the instant case, the subject
goods do not amuse. Rather, they play tunes which are intended to soothe and lull a child to sleep. Based on these facts, we do not find the goods to be classifiable as toys within heading 9503, HTSUS.

We must now consider whether the subject goods are classifiable as music boxes within heading 9208, HTSUS. In the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the term “music box” is defined as a container enclosing an apparatus that reproduces music mechanically when activated by clockwork. Id. at 767 (10th Ed.) In the instant case, the subject goods contain a mechanized music box which plays tunes and is incorporated in a case. The HTSUS provides specifically for “music boxes” in heading 9208, HTSUS.

The ENs for heading 9208, HTSUS, categorize music boxes as musical instruments which are precluded from classification in any other heading of this chapter. It states, in pertinent part, that music boxes:

“[c]onsist of small mechanical movements playing tunes automatically, incorporated into boxes or various other containers. The main component is a cylinder set with pins (according to the notes of the tune to be played); on rotating, the pins contact metal tongues arranged like the teeth of a comb, causing them to vibrate and produce the notes. The components are mounted on a plate and the cylinder is rotated either by a spring-operated (clockwork) motor, which is wound with a key, or directly by a handle. In some types, the cylinder may be replaced by a sheet-metal disc made on the hill and dale principle.

Articles which incorporate a musical mechanism but which are essentially utilitarian or ornamental in function (for example, clocks, miniature wooden furniture, glass vases containing artificial flowers, ceramic figurines) are not regarded as musical boxes within the meaning of this heading. These articles are classified in the same headings as the corresponding articles not incorporating a musical mechanism.”

Although it is Customs practice to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the ENs when interpreting the HTSUS, we do not find the ENs to be dispositive regarding the classification of ornamental music box merchandise. EN 92.08 provides where a music box possesses essentially an ornamental or utilitarian function, it is excluded from classification as a music box in heading 9208, HTSUS. However, as set forth in HQ 958543 dated June 17, 1996, (published in the Customs Bulletin on July 3, 1996, Vol. 30, No. 27), Customs follows a more liberal interpretation of the tariff term ‘music box’ as found in Pukel v. U.S., 60 Cust. Ct. 672, C.D. 3497 (1968) and Amico v. U.S., 66 CCPA 5 (1978).

The subject goods are similar to the dancing figurine music box in Amico. Both items serve a purpose for the user. In the case of the subject goods, they provide soothing music in the form of an attractive pillow to an infant. The dancing figurine music box, which played waltz music in Amico, was marketed to teenage girls. It simulated appropriate dance movements related to waltz music. In both cases, the goods are “subordinate and incidental to the function of the music box”. If both were alone, the musical mechanism would be unattractive and of “little consumer appeal”. See Amico at 9.

In Pukel, the court interpreted the term ‘music box’ in item 725.50, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) (the precursor tariff provision to subheading 9208.10.00), as a small mechanical movement playing tunes automatically, which is incorporated into a box, case or cabinet. While the instant pillow contains a music box, the musical mechanism is enclosed and surrounded by polyester fiberfill and fabric. If the term “container” is viewed liberally, the music box definition is satisfied.

Although Pukel is a TSUS case, it has HTSUS implications. The Omnibus Trade Act of 1988 provides that earlier tariff decisions must not be disregarded in applying the HTSUS. Rather, on a “case by case basis, prior decisions should be considered instructive in interpreting the HTSUS, particularly where the nomenclature previously interpreted in those decisions remains unchanged and no dissimilar interpretation is required by the text of the HTSUS. “ H. Rep. No. 100-576, 100th Cong., 2d Sess. 548,550 (1988).

In this instance the ENs are not dispositive. Rather we find the HTSUS and TSUS rulings as well as the court cases to be persuasive. The main purpose of a music box is to entertain by playing music. An ornamental article which otherwise meets the music box requirements remains classifiable under heading 9208, HTSUS.

Because the Daisy Kingdom musical pillow meets the definition of heading 9208, HTSUS, we find it to be classifiable as a music box within subheading 9208.10.00, HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Daisy Kingdom musical pillow is classifiable as a music box within subheading 9208.10.00, HTSUS.

HQ 082738, dated February 8, 1990, is hereby modified. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: