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HQ W968062

October 5, 2006


TARIFF NO.: 1404.90.0000

Peggy Montonera
Customs and Cost Import Analyst
Sears, Roebuck, and Company
3333 Beverly Road D5-257B
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179

RE: Modification of New York Ruling Letter (NY) L81907, dated January 21 2005; Classification of classification of decorative Styrofoam ball from the Philippines.

Dear Ms. Montonera:

This letter is to inform you that the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reconsidered New York Ruling Letter (NY) L81907, issued to you on January 21, 2005, concerning the classification, in part, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a bromine dyed/painted tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball. The tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball was classified in subheading 3926.40.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for “[o]ther articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: [s]tatuettes and other ornamental articles.” We have reviewed that ruling and found it to be in error as it pertains to the classification of the tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball. Therefore, this ruling modifies NY L81907.


The styrofoam ball, identified as Stock No. 90404, is approximately 5" in diameter and is covered with bromine dyed/painted tapioca seeds. The seeds are arranged in a flower pattern.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103–182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed modification of NY L81907 was published in the Customs Bulletin, Vol. 40, No. 32, on August 2, 2006. No comments were received in response to the notice.


Whether the tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball is classified in heading 3926, HTSUSA, as an other article of plastics or in heading 1404, HTSUSA, as a vegetable product not elsewhere specified or included.


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). 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 (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

The item is not specifically provided for in any one heading. Accordingly, it may not be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1. Further, GRI 2(a) is inapplicable because it applies to incomplete or unfinished articles, and the bean ball is imported in a finished complete condition. GRI 2(b) states that the classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of GRI 3. The subject tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball is a decorative item consisting of a foamed plastic sphere that is covered with tapioca seeds. Thus, for tariff purposes, it constitutes a good consisting of two or more substances or materials. As such, the item is arguably classifiable under heading 3926, HTSUSA, as an other article of plastics or heading 1404, HTSUSA, as vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included.

GRI 3(a) states that when, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, 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. As the subject tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball is a composite good, we must apply rule 3(b), which provides that composite goods are to be classified according to the component that gives the good its essential character. We must determine whether the foamed plastic sphere or the tapioca seeds impart the essential character to the article.

EN VIII to GRI 3(b) explains that "[t]he 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 the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods."

The internal foamed plastic sphere may provide the bulk and shape, however the surface tapioca seeds that cover the ball provide the texture, markings and color. The tapioca seeds impart the visual impact, consumer appeal and nature of the article. The essential character of the tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball is the tapioca seeds. The tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball is accordingly classifiable in heading 1404, HTSUSA. It is specifically provided for in subheading 1404.90.0000, HTSUSA.


The tapioca seed coated Styrofoam ball is classified in subheading 1404.90.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for "Vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included: Other." The general, column one rate of duty is Free.


NY L81907, dated January 21, 2005, is hereby modified. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after publication in the Customs Bulletin.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division

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