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HQ 963482

December 28, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963482 SS


TARIFF NO.: 9615.19.6000

Ms. Lana Wang
Success System Services
7740 E. Garvey Avenue, #d
Rosemead, CA 91770

RE: Classification of bridal headpieces; Combs, hair-slides and the like; Heading 9615, HTSUSA

Dear Ms. Wang:

This is in response to your request on behalf of your client, Apex T.K. Corp., dated September 27, 1999, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of three styles of bridal headpieces manufactured in China. Samples of the three bridal headpieces were submitted with your request.


The submitted merchandise consists of three styles of hair ornaments described by the importer as “bridal headpieces.” Bridal headpieces are highly decorative hair ornaments typically worn on top of the head by brides. After the bridal headpieces are imported into the United States, veils are often attached to form bridal veils. However, in their imported condition, the headpieces are not dedicated for use with a veil.

Style C-8782IV is a circular headpiece. The base is made of a textile covered wire and plastic mesh band. The base is covered with a large ivory colored man-made fabric bow, ivory colored textile and wire flower-shaped decorations and ivory colored man-made fabric petal-shaped decorations. The headpiece is also embellished with ten plastic pearls and sixty small plastic rhinestones. The interior of the headpiece features loops on both sides to hold small combs which are used to secure the headpiece to the head. The article is imported with at least one small comb. Style B-8899 is a semi-circular headpiece. The base is made of textile covered wire and plastic mesh material. The base is covered with white man-made fabric. Flowers and other shapes have been formed from identical fabric and are glued to the fabric covering the base. The headpiece is also embellished with fifty plastic pearls. There is a large plastic comb permanently attached to the interior which allows the headpiece to be worn securely on the head.

Style FC-241 is a circular headpiece with a base made of white paper covered wire. The base is decorated with a white polka dot mesh bow, several tufts of white polka dot mesh material, small white artificial flowers made of textile material with plastic pearl centers, and a few green textile and wire leaves. There is a large plastic comb permanently attached to the interior which allows the headpiece to be worn securely on the head.


What is the proper classification of the three styles of bridal headpieces under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification 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 may then be applied. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither binding nor dispositive, the EN 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. 89-90.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 952931, dated January 5, 1993, Customs classified four styles of bridal veils. Although not relevant to the ultimate disposition in that case, Customs stated that, if imported alone, the headpieces covered with plastic pearls and/or beads would be classified under heading 3926, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, articles of plastic, while the headpieces covered with artificial flowers and sequins would be classified under heading 6702, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, articles made up of artificial flowers. Since that time, Customs has issued at least 23 rulings classifying bridal headpieces in at least 16 different subheadings throughout the tariff. There appears to be no clear, consistent method for the classification of these articles. At the urging of the National Commodity Specialist Division, Customs recently reexamined the rulings on bridal headpieces and determined that a more reasoned and simplified approach to the classification of these articles exists as set forth below.

Heading 9615, HTSUSA, provides for, among other things, combs, hair-slides and the like. The Explanatory Notes to heading 9615, HTSUSA, state that the heading covers, inter alia:

(1) Toilet combs of all kinds, including combs for animals.

(2) Dress combs of all kinds, whether for personal adornment or for keeping the hair in place.

(3) Hair-slides and the like for holding the hair in place or for ornamental purposes. These articles are usually made of plastics, ivory, bone, horn, tortoise-shell, metal, etc.

The bridal headpieces are similar to dress combs and hair-slides in that they are worn primarily for personal adornment and for ornamental purposes. The EN also states that textile headbands of Section XI are excluded from heading 9615, HTSUSA. However, in Treasury Decision (T.D.) 96-24, dated February 16, 1996, Customs stated that the EN only excludes headbands made entirely of textile materials.

T.D. 96-24 also addressed the classification of headbands, ponytail holders and similar articles of mixed construction. However, Customs find that bridal headpieces are distinguishable from the types of hair holders covered by the decision. Thus, bridal headpieces are beyond the scope of T.D. 96-24. The heading text to be interpreted is “combs, hairslides and the like.” Those articles similar to, or of the same class or kind as, combs and hairslides are clearly within the scope of the heading. As noted above, the supporting EN states that dress combs and hairslides may have the dual nature of holding the hair in place and adorning the hair. Bridal headpieces fit this dual nature and therefore are classifiable within heading 9615, HTSUSA, as similar to combs and hairslides. See also HQ 087667, dated November 13, 1990.

Further support for the classification of bridal headpieces in heading 9615, HTSUSA, is found in the EN to heading 7113, HTSUSA. Heading 7113, HTSUSA, covers articles of jewellery of precious metal or metal clad with precious metal. The EN to heading 7113, HTSUSA, states that the heading covers, among other things, articles of jewellery wholly or partly of precious metal or metal clad with precious metal that are:

Small objects of personal adornment (gem-set or not) such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, ear-rings, neck chains, watch-chains and other ornamental chains; fobs, pendants, tie pins and clips, cuff-links, dress-studs, buttons, etc.; religious or other crosses; medals and insignia; hat ornaments (pins, buckles, rings, etc.); ornaments for handbags; buckles and slides for belts, shoes, etc.; hair-slides, tiaras, dress combs and similar hair ornaments. (second emphasis added).

Customs believes that the bridal headpieces are similar in nature to tiaras, as well as hair-slides and dress combs. Thus, the fact that tiaras and similar hair ornaments are classified with hair-slides and dress combs when made of precious metal, supports the conclusion that bridal headpieces should be classified with hair-slides and dress combs, in heading 9615, HTSUSA, when made of materials other than precious metal.

Furthermore, Customs has consistently classified a variety of hair ornaments, such as barrettes, hair clips and hair clippees, under heading 9615, HTSUSA. See HQ 733603, dated October 15, 1991; HQ 556608, dated June 24, 1992; HQ 950700, dated August 25, 1993; HQ 950614, dated November 21, 1991; HQ 951234, dated March 11, 1992; HQ 956774, dated November 17, 1994; HQ 559737, dated June 27, 1997; HQ 959187, dated December 9, 1997; HQ 960976, dated June 24, 1998; and HQ 962134, dated October 6, 1998. Accordingly, we find that the bridal headpieces are classifiable pursuant to GRI 1 under heading 9615, HTSUSA.

Next, by application of GRI 6, we must determine classification at the subheading level. Subheadings 9615.11 and 9615.19, HTSUSA, specifically provide for combs, hair-slides and the like. Classification at this six-digit subheading level is divided into two categories: 1) combs, hair-slides and the like of hard rubber or plastics; and 2) combs, hair-slides and the like of other materials. Since the bridal headpieces are composite goods of plastic, textile and wire components, classification is governed by GRI 3(b) which states that such goods are classified as if they consisted of the component or material which gives them their essential character.

Thus, the first step in the analysis is to determine what material or component imparts the essential character to the bridal headpieces. In this particular case, given the highly ornamental nature of the articles, we focus on the exterior decorations rather than the bases. In examining each of the three styles of bridal headpieces, Customs finds that the textile components provide the outstanding visual impact. The textile components cover a majority of the surface area on each of the bridal headpieces. Although plastic pearls and rhinestones are present, they are not in sufficient quantity to stand out as the predominant material or component. Thus, Customs finds that the bridal headpieces are classifiable under subheading 9615.19, HTSUSA, as combs, hair-slides or the like of materials other than hard rubber or plastic.

For classification purposes at the eight-digit level, we must determine whether or not the bridal headpieces are combs or other articles. A “comb” is defined as “a thin, toothed strip for smoothing, arranging or fastening the hair.” Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary 284 (1984). Although each of the styles at issue have at least one comb for attaching the headpiece to the head, Customs believes that they are a different type of hair ornament. The three bridal headpieces are distinguishable from dress combs in terms of shape and size. The large circular and semi-circular decorative portions of the headpieces weigh in favor of finding that the headpieces are hair ornaments other than dress combs. Accordingly, we find that the bridal headpieces are classifiable as other articles under subheading 9615.19.6000, HTSUSA.

As stated earlier, Customs is aware of at least 23 rulings on bridal headpieces. To the extent that those rulings are inconsistent with the reasoning set forth in this ruling, please be advised that the rulings are currently being reviewed for possible modification or revocation.


Bridal headpiece styles C-8782IV, B-8899, and FC-241 are classifiable under subheading 9615.19.6000, HTSUSA, which provides for “Combs, hair-slides and the like; hairpins, curling pins, curling grips, hair-
curlers and the like, other than those of heading 8516, and parts thereof: Combs hair-slides and the like: Other: Other.” The general column one duty rate is eleven percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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