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HQ 965164

August 6, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 965164 GOB


TARIFF NO.: 6810.99.00

Barbara Y. Wierbicki
Tompkins & Davidson, LLP
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10036-8901

RE: Angel Fountain

Dear Ms. Wierbicki:

This letter is with respect to your letter of May 8, 2001 to the Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, on behalf of Avon Products, Inc., requesting a binding ruling with respect to the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), of a tabletop water fountain known as an “Angel Fountain” (# PP221113).


You describe the Angel Fountain as follows:

... a finely detailed decorative, battery-operated figurine measuring approximately 7” high by 5.5” wide by 4” deep. The ornamental figure is constructed of a polyresin material composed of 58% polyester resin agglomerated with 42% calcium carbonate powder. The article depicts a nature scene with an angel, two squirrels and a rabbit sitting amidst patches of grass and flowers by a pool at the base of a rock waterfall. A battery-operated water pipe, when activated, causes water in the pool to circulate, creating a “waterfall” effect.


What is the tariff classification of the Angel Fountain?


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRI’s”). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI’s may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“EN’s”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN’s provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

6810 Articles of cement, of concrete or of artificial stone, whether or not reinforced:

Other articles:

6810.99.00 Other

8413 Pumps for liquids, whether or not fitted with a measuring device ...

8413.70 Other centrifugal pumps:

8413.70.20 Other.

EN 68.10 provides in pertinent part as follows:

This heading covers moulded, pressed or centrifuged articles (e.g., certain pipes) of cement (including slag cement), of concrete or of artificial stone, other than those of heading 68.06 or 68.08 (in which cement is merely a binder), or heading 68.11 (articles of asbestos-cement). ...
Artificial stone is an imitation of natural stone obtained by agglomerating pieces of natural stone or crushed or powdered natural stone (limestone, marble, granite, porphyry, serpentine, etc.) with lime or cement or other binders (e.g., plastics) ... ...
The heading includes, inter alia, ... statues, statuettes, animal figures; ornamental goods. [All emphasis in original.]

Customs Laboratory Report #NY20010655 dated June 4, 2001, provides as follows:

The sample is a representation of an angel seated near a waterfall in a field of flowers and small animals. The composition of the sample is approximately 41.5% plastic resin and approximately 58.5% calcium carbonate, an inorganic substance.

We are unable to resolve the classification of the Angel Fountain at GRI 1 because it is a composite good classifiable under two or more headings, i.e., the polyresin material composed of 58% polyester resin agglomerated with 42% calcium carbonate powder (heading 6810) and the water pipe (heading 8413). GRI 2 is not applicable here except insofar as it provides that “[t]he classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.”

GRI 3 provides as follows:

When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

EN (IX) to GRI 3(b) provides:

For purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. [Emphasis in original.]

EN (VIII) to GRI 3(b) provides:

The factor which determines the essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

We are not able to classify the Angel Fountain at GRI 3(a) because headings 6810 and 8413 are regarded as equally specific in relation to the good. Pursuant to GRI 3(b), we find that the essential character of the Angel Fountain is imparted by the artificial stone. Essential character has frequently been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is. After a careful consideration of this issue, we determine that the Angel Fountain is essentially a decorative article of artificial stone. Accordingly, based upon our determination that the essential character of the Angel Fountain is as an article of artificial stone, we find that it is provided for in heading 6810, HTSUS, and is classified in subheading 6810.99.00, HTSUS, as: “Articles of cement, of concrete or of artificial stone, whether or not reinforced: ... Other articles: ... Other.”

Our determination is consistent with the following rulings on similar articles where Customs has consistently classified articles of this type based upon the constituent material.

In HQ 958866 dated April 16, 1996, Customs found a copper tabletop water garden to be classified in subheading 8306.29.00, HTSUS, as: “... statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal ...” The article there was described as follows: “... a four leaf shaped copper fountain unit connected through copper ‘stems’ to a plastic water reservoir and pump powered by an electric cord and 3-pronged plug, a copper planter and a decorative rock package. The literature included with the sample describes the article as an ‘indoor fountain’.” In HQ 958866, we stated:

Customs is of the opinion that the tabletop garden is a base metal decorative article. It has no utility value but is wholly ornamental. Its only usefulness is to contain or support other decorative articles, specifically a fountain and silk flowers.

This finding is consistent with New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 815143 dated October 16, 1995, in which Customs determined that an indoor wooden planter and fountain was classifiable under subheading 4421.90.98, HTSUS, as an other article of wood.

In HQ 956353 dated May 26, 1994, Customs found a “village animated skating pond” to be classified in subheading 3926.40.00, HTSUS, as: “Other articles of plastics ... : ... Statuettes and other ornamental articles.” The good therein consisted of a large plastic base which gave the appearance of a skating pond, a synchronous motor and cord located in the base, and six plastic figures. In classifying the good pursuant to GRI 3(b), we stated:

In our opinion the plastic skating pond, as compared to the motor and other plastic components, distinguishes the article. Although the motor allows the figures to move around the pond, it is the skating pond which essentially provides the article’s ornamental and decorative appeal in addition to constituting the greatest bulk and weight. A consumer is likely to purchase the article for the specific scene it depicts. Furthermore, it is apparent that even when the motor is turned off, the skating pond will continue to be displayed in one’s home for ornamental purposes. The motor primarily serves to embellish the overall ornamental effect of the Village Animated Skating Pond.

In NY E84043 dated July 27, 1999, Customs classified a decorative calming pool in subheading 3926.40.00, HTSUS, as: “Other articles of plastics ... : ... Statuettes and other ornamental articles.” The good therein consisted of a submersible pump, a resin plate containing slate rocks and stones, natural looking driftwood with a painted orchid, and a wrought iron stand.

In NY D85475 dated January 22, 1999, Customs classified an “angelic musical water fountain” in subheading 6810.99.00, HTSUS, as: “Articles of ... artificial stone ...” The good therein was a decorative, three-dimensional agglomerated stone water fountain figurine with a self-contained, battery-operated pump and sound chip.

In A89712 dated December 19, 1996, Customs classified a plastic house waterfall in subheading 3926.40.00, HTSUS, as: “Other articles of plastics ... : ... Statuettes and other ornamental articles.” The article consisted of a plastic house with trees, flowers, and waterfall (all of plastic), a rock wall setting, a plastic water reservoir, and an electric-powered pump.

In NY G84772 dated February 14, 2001, Customs classified a water fountain, described as “a decorative tabletop agglomerated stone article that operates with the use of a UL adjustable water pump,” in subheading 6810.99.00, HTSUS.


The Angel Fountain is classified in subheading 6810.99.00, HTSUS, as: “Articles of cement, of concrete or of artificial stone, whether or not reinforced: ... Other articles: ... Other.”


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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