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HQ 968019

February 28, 2006

CLA-2 RR:TCM:CTF 968019 tmf


TARIFF NO.: 7117.19.7500

Arthur Bodek, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP. 399 Park Avenue, 25th Floor
New York, NY 10022-4877

RE: tariff classification of a necklace

Dear Mr. Bodek:

This letter is in reply to your correspondence of November 1, 2005 in which you requested a binding ruling on behalf of your client, Liz Claiborne, Inc., regarding the classification of a necklace. One sample was received.


Style TJRU1932 is described as a necklace comprised primarily of 55 plastic beads and 11 metal beads with embedded glass stones. Each plastic bead has a thin copper coating and a base metal plate. All of the plastic beads are covered in a silk textile fabric. The necklace also features brass toggle and bar closure hardware. The value and weight of the various parts and materials were provided.

The metal beads with embedded glass stones cost twice as much as the plastic beads with copper coating. However, the weight of the metal beads is described as de minimis while the plastic beads weigh more than any of the other necklace components.


What is the classification of the subject merchandise?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS 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 at the international level. While neither legally 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 the headings. The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Imitation jewelry:
Of base metal, whether or not plated with precious metal: 7117.19 Other:
7117.19.9000 Other

7117.90 Other:

Valued over 20 cents per dozen pieces or parts: Other:
7117.90.7500 Of plastics
7117.90.9000 Other

The subject necklace is composed of 4 materials: plastic beads with copper coating; silk fabric; metal beads with embedded glass stones and brass toggle and bar hardware. You state that as the necklace is composed primarily of plastic beads, these plastic beads provide the essential character that results in classification pursuant to GRI 3(b) in subheading 7117.90.7500, which provides for imitation jewelry of plastic.

You assert that to classify the instant article, CBP has traditionally focused on the material comprising the core of the article to determine the essential character for classification of the instant merchandise. To support your classification as imitation jewelry of plastic, you cite to several rulings (HQ 088126, dated January 10, 1991; NY L83542, dated April 4, 2005; NY K81048, dated November 13, 2003; NY 885871, dated May 21, 1993) in which various bracelets that were composed of a metal core covered with either plastic or textile were classified based on their constituent core.

However, we find this analysis is misapplied when classifying the instant merchandise because in each of these cited rulings, various bracelets’ form, shape and function were derived by their constituent metal or plastic core, which determined the essential character. See also HQ 964475, dated May 7, 2001, which references HQ 088126, supra and HQ 088222, dated February 15, 1991. You also cite to NY 807435, dated March 22, 1995, which we find is also inapplicable since the beads were imported in loose condition in a variety of shapes and sizes, not as necklaces comprised of various materials, like the instant article.

GRI 3(b) states:

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:

(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.

General Explanatory Note (VII) to GRI 3(b) states:

The factor which determines 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.

Although the necklace is composed primarily of the plastic beads that weigh more than the other parts, they do not provide the essential character of the entire necklace, but only the essential character of the silk textile covered plastic beads. Further, although the metal beads with glass stones have the most value than any other part, they do not provide the essential character of the necklace. If we look at the necklace in its entirety to ascertain which component would provide the necklace’s essential character, no one component would be able to do this. Therefore, we consider GRI 3(c), which provides:

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.

In this case, subheadings 7117.90.7500 and 7117.19.9000, HTSUS, merit equal consideration for the reasons stated above. Thus, the subject necklace is classified according to the subheading that occurs last in numerical order, which is subheading 7117.90.7500, HTSUS.


The subject necklace is classifiable in subheading 7117.90.7500, HTSUS, which provides for imitation jewelry of plastic, with a duty rate of FREE.


Gail A. Hamill, Chief
Tariff Classification and Marking Branch

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