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HQ 968198

July 14, 2006



TARIFF No. 7616.99.5090

Peter Jay Baskin, Esq.
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt
75 Broad Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Classification of Covers for Scent Sprayers that are in the Shape of a Letter “G” Logo

Dear Mr. Baskin:

This is in response to your letter on behalf of Fiampack Corporation, dated March 16, 2006, requesting a ruling concerning the classification of metallic covers for scent sprayers that are in the shape of the letter “G” under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter addressed to the National Commodity Specialist Division was forwarded to our office for a response. Enclosed with your letter were samples of the pieces of the metallic covers for scent sprayers. This sample will be returned to you via another correspondence. On June 21, 2006, a meeting was held at our office with you, a representative from Fiampack, and members of my staff to discuss this matter.


The merchandise under consideration consists of metal parts that will be used to hold the glass of a scent sprayer. They consist of four groups of custom-designed decorative pieces that when properly positioned with one another form a stylized letter “G”. Each letter “G” is used to decorate a specific scent sprayer that is intended to hold a particular fragrance sold by “Guess?”, Inc. The “G” decoration is similar to the logo “G” that decorates “Guess?” Inc.’s line of handbags, jewelry, shoes, and so forth. The logo “G” is non-functional, and serves only to enhance the appearance of their respective scent sprayers.

Each “G” logo is comprised of three metal pieces that consist primarily of aluminum and features a shiny polished exterior. One piece, that forms the bottom portion of the letter “G” is lined with plastic and has tabs that grip the bottom of the scent container for which it is designed. Another piece, shaped to form the top of the letter “G” logo, sits on the top of the scent container. This piece fits inside the first piece and has a hole on top of it to accommodate the sprayer’s pump. Finally, the third piece, which is also shaped to form the top of the “G” logo is weighted, lined with plastic, and is made to fit completely over the exposed portion of the second piece so as to conceal it.

The metal pieces are imported into the United States unassembled. Without a glass scent sprayer bottle to give them support, the metal pieces will not fit and stay together. The metal pieces are not imported with the glass scent sprayer bottle. This means, as imported, the metal pieces cannot be assembled together to form the “G” logo of the scent sprayer cover.

You contend that the metal pieces of the scent sprayer covers that are used to form the decorative letter “G” logo should be classified in heading 8306, HTSUS, as statuettes and other ornaments of base metal.


What is the proper tariff classification of the metal pieces that are fitted together after importation to form covers for scent sprayers that are in the shape of a decorative letter “G” logo under the HTSUS?


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 GRIs may then be applied. GRI 2(a) states in part that any reference in a heading to an article includes that article incomplete or unfinished provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

7616 Other articles of aluminum:




8306 Bells, gongs and the like, nonelectric, of base metal; statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal; photograph, picture or similar frames, of base metal; mirrors of base metal; and base metal parts thereof:

Statuettes and other ornaments, and parts, thereof:

8306.29.00 Other.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN’s) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the EN’s provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the Harmonized System. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) believes the EN’s should always be consulted. See T.D. 8980, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

EN 83.06 states in relevant part:

This group comprises a wide range of ornaments of base metal (whether or not incorporating subsidiary non-metallic parts) of a kind designed essentially for decoration, e.g., in homes, offices, assembly rooms, places of religious worship, gardens.

It should be noted that the group does not include articles of more specific headings of the Nomenclature, even if those articles are suited by their nature or finish as ornaments.

The group covers articles which have no utility value but are wholly ornamental, and articles whose only usefulness is to contain or support other decorative articles or to add to their decorative effect, for example:

Busts, statuettes and other decorative figures; ornaments (including those forming parts of clock sets) for mantelpieces, shelves, etc. (animals symbolic or allegorical figures etc.); sporting or art trophies (cups, etc.); wall ornaments incorporating fittings for hanging (plaques, trays, plates, medallions other than those for personal adornment); artificial flowers, rosettes and similar ornamental goods of cast or forged metal (usually of wrought iron); knick-knacks for shelves or domestic display cabinets.

You point out that in several prior rulings CBP determined that articles used for decorative purposes were classified in heading 8306, HTSUS. For example, in NY K81341, dated December 11, 2003, CBP considered the classification of certain jar candle toppers, described as circular objects resembling large bottle caps that would be placed on top of jar-like candleholders for a decorative effect. CBP ruled that the jar candle toppers were properly classified in subheading 8306.29.00, HTSUS.

In NY J89460, dated October 10, 2003, CBP was asked to rule on the classification of an ornamental strip of base metal measuring 1½ inches wide that would be used to decorate an incense burner bottle. CBP determined that the ornamental metal strip was also classifiable as an ornament in subheading 8306.29.00, HTSUS.

In HQ 957413, dated March 31, 1995, CBP considered the classification of a separately imported wrought iron pedestal that was designed to support a glass vessel that was incapable of standing alone. CBP concluded that the iron pedestal was classifiable as an ornament of subheading 8306.29.00, HTSUS, because the pedestal was principally a decorative article designed to hold other decorative articles. The items involved in the three rulings cited above were all clearly ornamental and decorative articles. They were articles primarily intended for display, and they had very limited utilitarian use.

At our meeting, you pointed out that CBP had recently published a series of proposed rulings revoking earlier rulings concerning the classification of several different types of medallions. In HQ 968022, HQ 968146, HQ 968147 and 968148 all dated June 13, 2006, we ruled that the medallions were classified in heading 8306, HTSUS as “statuettes and other ornaments, of base metal.” We explained that the subject articles were described with greater specificity in heading 8306, HTSUS, as ornaments of base metal, than in headings 7419 and 7907. This was because the medals were designed essentially for decoration, were wholly ornamental, and had no utility value. However, the articles that were classified in those rulings appear to be very distinguishable from the metal pieces that are the subject of this case.

As a general rule, merchandise is classified in its condition as imported. See United States v. Citroen, 223 U.S. 407 (1911). In HQ 968022, HQ 968146, HQ 968147 and HQ 968148, the articles in their imported condition were readily recognizable as medallions. They clearly had no other function, but to serve as decorative articles. In contrast, in the case at hand, the articles under consideration in their imported condition appear to be simply pieces of aluminum. Consequently, at the time of their importation, it cannot be discerned how these metal pieces will eventually be used.

Although the imported metal pieces may be intended for use to decorate a retail package of perfume, we do not believe as imported that these metal pieces can be considered as an ornament, a statuette or other decorative item of base metal. As already pointed out, by themselves, the aluminum pieces do not resemble the ornamental “G” logo that will be used to decorate the scent sprayer. Significantly, we believe that the aluminum pieces are not merely an unfinished article that has the essential character of a finished article nor are they parts that only need to be assembled together to form the finished article. This is because the aluminum pieces lack a key component, which allows them to be assembled together, the glass scent sprayer bottle. The aluminum pieces are imported without a glass scent sprayer bottle. The glass scent sprayer bottle is necessary to make the metal pieces of the decorative “G” logo fit and stay together. Without the glass scent sprayer bottle, the aluminum pieces cannot be used to form the decorative “G” logo of the scent spray covers because they will not have the support to fit and stay together. In other words, without the glass scent sprayer bottle, the imported articles appear to be just pieces of aluminum, rather than being the decorative “G” logo for the scent spray covers. Therefore, because aluminum pieces are imported without the glass scent sprayer bottle, we believe that they do not have the essential character of the finished decorative scent spray covers that are in the shape of the letter “G” logo. Accordingly, for these reasons, we find that the aluminum pieces for the scent sprayer covers that are put together to form the decorative letter “G” logo cannot be classified in heading 8306, HTSUS. Instead, we find that the aluminum pieces of the scent sprayer covers are classified in the alternative proposed classification of heading 7616, HTSUS, as other articles of aluminum.


The aluminum pieces for scent sprayer covers that are put together to form the letter “G” logos for decorating retail packages of fragrances sold by Guess Inc., are classified in heading 7616, HTSUS. They are specifically provided for in subheading 7616.99.5090, HTSUS, as: “Other articles of aluminum: Other: Other Other: Other.” The 2006 column one, general rate of duty is 2.5 percent ad valorum. Duty rates are provided for your convenience
and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUSA and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov/tata/hts.


Gail A. Hamill, Chief

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