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HQ 965446

July 10, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 965446 JGB


TARIFF NO.: 9503.90.0000

Mr. Ronald Shapiro
Oceana Traders, Inc.
P.O. Box 3152
Kingston, NY 12402-3152

RE: Reconsideration of NY G88006; Model Ships

Dear Mr. Shapiro:

This is in response to your letter of December 21, 2001, on behalf of Oceana Traders, Inc., in which you request reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) G88006, issued March 28, 2001, to PBB Global Logistics, acting on behalf of Oceana Traders, Inc., concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a variety of model ships assembled in Vietnam. We regret the delay in responding to your letter.


NY G88006 classified the model ships in subheading 9503.90. in the provision for "Other toys: Other, Other."

You contend that the model ships are not classifiable in the provision for "Other toys; reduced-size ("scale") models, and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; parts and accessories thereof" in heading 9503, HTSUS.

The model ships are primarily constructed of wood and contain brass details. They are hand-made to exacting specifications and certified for authenticity. They are sold with a complete history of the vessel they replicate. The catalog supplied shows that models of the Santa Maria, H.M.S. Titanic, the U.S.S. Constitution, and the Normandie are available for purchase. The Normandie, for example, stands about 2 feet high and is about 4 feet in length. It will be displayed in a glass case for its protection and will be used to complement office and residential interiors, as well as being a conversation piece. Because of the hand crafting of the ships and the attention to intricate detail, the listed delivered price of each model ranges from $1800 to $4200.


Whether the model ships are classified as toys of heading 9503, HTSUS, or elsewhere.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Heading 9023, HTSUS, covers models that are designed for demonstrational purposes, but are unsuitable for other uses.

Heading 9503, HTSUS, provides, in pertinent part, for "reduced-size ("scale") models and similar recreational models, working or not;." The ENs to heading 9503, HTSUS, indicate that the heading includes "models of a kind mainly used for recreational purposes, for example, working or scale models of boats, aircraft, trains, vehicles, etc., and kits of materials and parts for making such models."

Customs has ruled that reduced-size hand-built model cars which cost as much as $15,000, are classified in the model provision of heading 9503. In that decision, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 957097, dated January 12, 1995, Customs noted that the EN's for heading 9023 ("demonstrational models") exclude articles that are designed for demonstrational and recreational purposes (e.g. certain model sets of mechanical parts; e.g., mechanical or electrical toy locomotives, aircraft, etc.). In addition, Customs noted that the American College Dictionary (1970) defines "recreation" in pertinent part as "a pastime, diversion, exercise, or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment."

You argue that the articles should be not be considered toys because they are not marketed in stores that sell toys and are not in competition with the unassembled model kits produced by such companies as Revell and Heller. Customs does not dispute that there are inexpensive models for both children and adults and that the instant model ships are not inexpensive. The ones that are to be assembled are classified in subheading 9503.20, HTSUS, as "reduced-size ("scale") model assembly kits, whether or not working models." The other models that are pre-assembled are classified in the "Other" residual provision in heading 9503. There are no restrictions in the tariff as to the value of the articles to be classified in heading 9503, and the value of the ship models might be compared against the model cars, mentioned, supra, or very expensive hand-assembled doll houses that would be classified in this heading. The doll houses may cost thousands of dollars and would never be intended to be "played with" by little girls in the way that inexpensive doll houses would be. Nevertheless, they would be "recreational" in the sense that they provide a pleasant diversion and are the source of enjoyment. Likewise, the ship models considered in NY G88006, provide a recreational, pleasant diversion to adults who enjoy seeing what a famous ship actually looked like. They would not qualify for classification in heading 9023, HTSUS, because they are not used exclusively for demonstrational purposes, if at all.

Therefore, the model ships are classifiable in subheading 9503.90.0000, HTSUS. This decision is in accord with HQ 957057, supra.


NY G88006 is AFFIRMED.

Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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