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HQ 967741

June 9, 2006



TARIFF NO.: 3924.90.5500

Mr. Dennis Morse
BDP International, Inc.
2721 Walker Avenue N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

RE: Reconsideration of NY K86410; Plastic Revolving Musical Christmas Tree Stand

Dear Mr. Morse:

This is in response to your request dated May 6, 2005, on behalf of your client, Meijer Distribution, Inc., seeking reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) K86410, dated June 18, 2004. NY K86410 concerns a prospective tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of a certain plastic revolving musical Christmas tree stand.


In NY K86410, your client provided a sample of the classified merchandise, which Customs and Border Protection (CBP) described as a plastic Christmas tree stand. The Christmas tree stand has four detachable legs and is capable of holding an artificial tree that measures up to 7.5 feet high. Inside the Christmas tree stand there is an electric motor that enables an artificial tree placed in the stand to revolve. Also inside the Christmas tree stand is a sound device that plays Christmas music when activated. On the side of the Christmas tree stand is an outlet designed for plug-in Christmas tree lights.

Included with the Christmas tree stand is a Santa Claus shaped remote control with three buttons. The remote functions with an infrared receiver that plugs into the side of the Christmas tree stand. Pressing the buttons on the remote causes the tree to rotate, light up, or play up to twelve Christmas songs. The remote has a hook on the back of it, which allows it to hang from a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree stand and the Santa Claus shaped remote are packaged and sold in a single box for retail sale.

Based on this information, CBP classified the merchandise under subheading 3924.90.5500, HTSUS, as a household article made of plastic. With respect to reconsideration, you indicate that CBP should reclassify the revolving Christmas tree stand under the applicable heading for “Christmas decorations.”


What is the proper classification under the HTSUS for the revolving musical Christmas tree stand?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 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, and if the headings and legal notes do not require otherwise, then CBP may apply the remaining GRIs.

In interpreting the headings and subheadings, CBP looks to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs), which constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding or dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and, generally, indicate the proper interpretation of headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

3924 Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles of plastics: 3924.90 Other
3924.90.55 Other

9505 Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof: 9505.10 Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof: Christmas ornaments

The subject merchandise consists of two components: (1) the Santa Claus shaped remote; and (2) the Christmas tree stand. When used together these two components activate the various functions stated above. Notwithstanding the related uses of the two components, each component is classifiable under a separate heading. As a result, the merchandise cannot be classified under GRI 1, and CBP must apply the remaining GRIs. When “goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, then classification” shall be made pursuant to GRI 3, which states the following:

(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.

In the instant case, the respective headings for each of the separate components is equally specific and, therefore, not classifiable by GRI 3(a). Proceeding to GRI 3(b), the first issue CBP considers is whether the subject merchandise are goods put up in sets. EN X for GRI 3(b) defines "goods put up in sets for retail sale” as such goods that: (a) consist of at least two different articles that are prima facie classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of products put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

The subject merchandise is a set of goods for retail sale within the definition provided by the EN X to 3(b). The merchandise consists of two articles, the Santa Claus shaped remote and the Christmas tree stand, which are prima facie classifiable in two different headings. The merchandise carries out the specific activity of holding a Christmas tree while playing Christmas music and rotating. Finally, the merchandise is directly sold in a single package that is not intended for repackaging by the user.

Since the subject merchandise consists of goods put up in sets, the essential character of the item determines its ultimate classification. According to EN VIII to GRI 3(b), the factor, which establishes the essential character, will vary between different goods. Common factors used to decide the essential character may include the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

The component that provides your client’s merchandise with its essential character is the tree stand because that is the merchandise’s primary function. For instance, a consumer is more likely to use this merchandise to hold a Christmas tree, then to only play Christmas music. As you stated in your reconsideration letter, your client designed this merchandise specifically “to be used with an artificial Christmas tree.” Accordingly, the merchandise is classifiable as a Christmas tree stand.

In your letter, you contend that the proper classification is subheading 9509.10.2500, HTSUS, for Christmas decorations. However, heading 9509, HTSUS, does not exist. CBP presumes you meant the merchandise should be classified in subheading 9505.10.2500, HTSUS, as a Christmas ornament. In support of reconsideration, you state that your client designed this merchandise for use only during Christmas with an artificial Christmas tree. Also, you note that the remote is shaped like Santa Claus and that the stand plays only Christmas songs. Finally, you state that subheading 3924.90.5500, HTSUS, is inapplicable because it is a “basket classification” with no specific descriptions.

In regards to the classification of Christmas tree stands, the ENs for heading 9505, HTSUS, provide clear guidance. The ENs specifically state that the scope of heading 9505, HTSUS, does not include Christmas tree stands. Instead of classification in heading 9505, HTSUS, the ENs instruct Christmas tree stands to be classified “according to constituent material.”

CBP has consistently adhered to the ENs’ interpretation. In HQ 965126, dated May 9, 2002, CBP ruled on a protest concerning the classification of a cast iron Christmas tree stand that came in three different holiday themed designs. CBP declared in dicta that in light of the ENs to heading 9505, HTSUS, “Christmas tree stands are classifiable according to their constituent material as a household article.” See NY 884461, dated April 26, 1993; NY 892044, dated Nov. 12, 1993.

Following the previous CBP rulings and the guidance provided by the ENs, CBP should classify this Christmas tree stand according to its constituent material. The base of the Christmas tree stand is made primarily of plastic and the principal use occurs within the household. As a result, the subject merchandise comports with the terms of heading 3924, HTSUS, which provides for household articles of plastic.


By applying, GRI 3(b), the tree stand and remote are a set of goods whose essential character is that of a Christmas tree stand classifiable under heading 3924, HTSUS, and, specifically, in subheading 3924.90.5500, HTSUS, which provides for: tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles of plastics: other: other. The general, column one rate of duty is 3.4 % percent ad valorem.


NY K86410, dated June 18, 2004, is affirmed.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial & Trade Facilitation Division

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