CLA-2 CO:R:C:G: 084758 DPS
Jonathan M. Fee, Esq.
Lebowitz & Silverman
1201 West Peachtree Street, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
RE: Lithographically printed home-sewing patterns and
Dear Mr. Fee:
This is in response to your letter of May 30, 1989, on
behalf of Burda Patterns, Inc. (Burda), requesting a Headquarters
Ruling on the classification of lithographically printed home-
sewing patterns and instructions under the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), and enclosing a
copy of your May 16, 1989 ruling request to our New York office.
A sample of the subject merchandise was included with your ruling
request. Further information supporting your proposed
classification was submitted during a conference with Customs
personnel on October 24, 1989.
The merchandise at issue consists of lithographically
printed home-sewing patterns and instructions. It is intended to
be sold to retail consumers in the non-commercial, home-sewing
Each article includes one or more rectangular pattern
sheets. Printed on the pattern sheets are the shapes of fabric
parts (i.e., patterns), plus extensive illustrations, charts
symbols and general instructions. The patterns are not precut.
Rather, the ultimate consumer must cut them out with a scissors
from the rectangular pattern sheets. Each pattern and
instruction set is packaged in a clear plastic bag which
contains the pattern sheet or sheets, a single cover sheet and
one or more instruction sheets. The cover sheet is visible from
the outside of the package and contains color pictures and other
printed information describing the contents. The instruction
sheets contain detailed written instructions and illustrations.
The pattern and instruction sheets contain information about
how much fabric is needed to complete the garment, and how to
adjust the patterns to meet personal size requirements. The
utilize bold face type, illustrations and warnings to guide the
The pattern and instruction packets are made for all types
of women's garments, including dresses, dress and jacket
ensembles, tops, coordinated outfit, blouses, skirts, pants,
pantsuits, jumpsuits, blazers, jackets, outerwear jackets and
coats, folklore-like garments, evening and bridal gowns,
maternity garments, jogging suits, lingerie and beachwear. They
are also made for a broad range of men's and children's garments,
as well as for sewn-fabric accessories (e.g., bags) and non-
apparel items such as pillows and stuffed animal-type items.
Three Customs Service Notices of Action (Customs Form 29)
concerning recent entries by Burda, dated March 24, 1989,
March 30, 1989 and April 17, 1989, notified the importer that
Customs officials at the port of Atlanta classified the subject
merchandise differently than it was entered. The subject
merchandise was entered under the provision for plans and
drawings for architectural, engineering, industrial, commercial
topographical or similar purposes, subheading 4906.00, HTSUSA.
Subsequently, in the Notices of Action cited above, Customs
classified the merchandise under 4823.90, HTSUSA, the provision
for other paper cut to size or shape. Burda now seeks
classification of the merchandise under subheading 4911.99.6000,
HTSUSA, the provision for other printed matter, other, other,
printed on paper by lithographic process.
Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable under the
provision for other paper cut to size or shape, subheading
4823.90, HTSUSA; the provision for plans and drawings for
architectural, engineering, industrial, commercial or similar
purposes, subheading 4906.00, HTSUSA; the provision for other
printed matter, pictures, designs and photographs, other,
subheading 4911.91.2040, HTSUSA; or the provision for other
printed matter, other, printed on paper by lithographic process,
subheading 4911.99.6000, HTSUSA.
LAW & ANALYSIS:
The General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized
System (GRI's) govern classification under the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule. According to GRI 1, the primary consideration in
determining whether merchandise should be classified in a heading
should be given to the language of the heading and any relevant
chapter or section notes, and, provided such headings or notes to
not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRI's taken in
order. GRI 6 requires that the GRI's be applied at the
subheading level on the understanding that only subheadings at
the same level are comparable. The Rule applies in the same
manner when comparing subheadings within a heading.
In a previous ruling issued by our New York office, New York
Ruling Letter (NYRL) 830179, classified, under the HTSUSA, a
pattern for a fabric bag, designed for use by the home seamstress
or craftsman. The merchandise in NYRL 830179 consisted of one
sheet of paper, lithographically printed with instructions,
diagrams, cut-out markings and a reproduced photograph of some
finished bags. The merchandise was classified under subheading
4911.99.6000, HTSUSA, which provides for other printed matter,
printed on paper, by a lithographic process.
Here, we have similar merchandise except for the fact that
the article at issue contains three distinct items in its
package. It includes: (1) rectangular pattern sheets containing
diagrams, dotted lines and instruction, all in green ink; (2)
instruction sheets in black and white containing step by step
instructions and illustrative diagrams; and (3) a cover sheet
which provides a color illustration of the finished garment the
pattern is intended to create. The question thus arises, whether
the merchandise should be considered a set for tariff purposes.
The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official
interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The
Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b) provide further guidance in
determining what constitutes a "set." The relevant note states,
in pertinent part:
(X) For the purposes of this Rule, the term
"goods put up in sets for retail sale"
shall be taken to mean goods which:
(a) consist of at least two different
articles which are, prima facie,
classifiable in different headings;
(b) consist of products or articles 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
(e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards).
In this case, the above "set" criteria are met. First, the
subject merchandise consists of at least two different articles
which are prima facie classifiable in different subheadings (ie.,
the illustrated color cover page in 4911.91, HTSUSA which covers
other printed matter, pictures, designs and photographs and the
instruction sheet which is classifiable in 4911.99, HTSUSA.
Secondly, the items are put up in a manner suitable for sale
directly to consumers without repacking. The third criterion,
that the goods consist of articles put up together to meet a
particular need or carry out a specific activity, is also
satisfied. Therefore, the subject merchandise qualifies for
treatment as a set.
Certain headings specifically describe goods put up in sets.
Where no single heading accurately describes the set, GRI 3(b)
governs classification based on the item within the set that
gives it its essential character. Pursuant to GRI 3(b), sets are
classified according to the component that imparts the essential
character to the set.
The factor or factors which determine essential character
vary with the merchandise. However, the nature of a component
and its relation to the use of the goods are often factors to be
considered. In this case, the large rectangular green
lithographically printed sheet with pattern cut-outs,
instruction, charts and various markings and warnings, guides the
home-sewing user through the process of creating a garment. In
addition, this sheet's size and bulk clearly exceed that of the
other components. Taking into consideration all of the factors
enumerated in Explanatory Note (VIII) concerning GRI (b), the
essential character of the Burda sets at issue is imparted by the
green pattern sheet or sheets, depending on the model.
The final issue is determining how the green pattern sheet
is classified. Subheading 4906.00, HTSUSA, the provision under
which the importer originally entered the subject merchandise,
which covers plans and drawings for architectural, engineering,
industrial, commercial or similar purposes, is limited by the
Explanatory Notes to plans used by builders and engineers in
industry and construction, and is therefore inapplicable.
subheading 4823.90, HTSUSA, the provision under which Customs
officials at the port of Atlanta classified the merchandise,
covers other paper cut to size or shape. An examination of the
Explanatory Notes thereto, indicates that Heading 4823 does not
properly describe the article at issue. Although according to
the Explanatory Notes, "dress pattern" fall under Heading 4823,
it is Customs' view that the reference in the Explanatory Notes
was intended to cover cut to shape, paperboard patterns with no
or minimal printing, of the sort used in the commercial
manufacturing industry. Accordingly, the subject merchandise is
not classifiable under subheading 4823.90, HTSUSA.
Thus, in classifying the Burda patterns, a determination
between 4911.91.2040, HTSUSA, covering other printed matter,
pictures, designs and photographs, other, and 4911.99.6000,
HTSUSA, which covers other printed matter, other, on paper by
lithographic process, is required. Burda argues that the terms
"pictures, designs and photographs," as used together in
subheading 4911.91.2040 suggest that the "picture" contemplated
by the tariff is one that is intended to be viewed by an
observer, for enjoyment, education or other visual or mental
effects or purposes. According to Burda, a pattern sheet is
unlike any picture because it is meant to be manipulated as a
guide for tracing or cutting.
Burda cites lexicographic authorities in defining the term
"picture." The definitions it cites contemplate a visual
representation of a person, thing or scene. Upon close
examination of the pattern sheets, it appears that the shapes,
lines and symbols on the pattern sheets are primarily
instructional. The shapes on the pattern sheets depict not so
much what the garment looks like, but how it must be cut,
gathered, pleated or stitched. Notches show where pieces are to
be joined; double dots mark the ends of openings; grain arrows
show how to place the pattern on the fabric; an "X" pleats or
tucks; stars indicated where fabric is to be gathered; dots
indicate ese stitching; dotted lines indicate topstitching.
Based on the fact that most of the printing on the pattern
sheet is instructional, to the extent that only shapes, symbols
and textual material are included, we conclude that the subject
pattern sheet is not classifiable under 4911.91.2040, HTSUSA,
the provision for other pictures, designs and photographs, other.
Rather, the pattern sheet is classifiable under the provision for
other printed matter, other, printed on paper in whole or in part
by a lithographic process, subheading 4911.99.6000, HTSUSA.
Because the pattern sheets give the sets their essential
character, the Burda pattern kits are classifiable under
The subject lithographically printed home-sewing pattern
kits by Burda are classifiable in the provision for other printed
matter, other, printed in whole or in part by a lithographic
process, under subheading 4911.99.6000, HTSUSA. Items classified
under this subheading are subject to a duty rate of 0.4 percent
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division
andersoz library / dave wp
6cc: Area Dir. N.Y. Seaport