CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086897 ALS

Mr. Niels Jespersen
Bonnier Publications A/S
Strandboulevarden 130
2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

RE: Lithographed home-sewing patterns with instructions

Dear Mr. Jespersen:

This is in response to your letter of March 29, 1990, requesting information as to the Customs duties on printed home-sewing patterns which are to be printed in the Federal Republic of Germany, shipped to the United States and inserted into a magazine to be published and distributed in this country. A sample of the merchandise was included with your request.


The sample article is a large sheet of tissue paper with home-sewing patterns and instructions, apparently printed by the lithographic process. The sample is entitled "Fashion and Crafts", "Step-by-Step", "Doll Pattern", "Blazer Pattern" and Number 1.1989.

Printed on the pattern sheet are the shapes of fabric parts, instructions for selecting the proper size, marking patterns on fabric and tracing the patterns. The patterns are not precut. The ultimate consumer may cut them out and use them directly on fabric or trace them onto tissue paper.

The sample provided does not specify the types of garments which will be the subject of the future patterns nor the gender of the intended wearer of the garments.

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What is the proper classification of lithographically printed home-sewing patterns?


The classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

In reviewing the headings which might be applicable to your article, we noted two possible headings; heading 4823 and heading 4911, in Chapter 48 and 49, HTSUSA, respectively. Heading 4823 covers paper, paperboard or cellulose wadding, or articles thereof. Heading 4911 covers printed matter, including printed pictures and photographs.

Although the opinion of the international tariff classification experts, which is not legally binding, expressed in the Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized System, is that dress patterns, models and templates are classifiable under heading 4823, we have concluded that that heading is not applicable to merchandise such as yours.

Customs Headquarters Ruling Letter 084758, dated March 2, 1990, concluded that the above Explanatory Notes reference was only meant to cover cut to shape, paperboard patterns with no printing or minimal printing of the sort used in the commercial manufacturing industry. That conclusion was at least partially based on Legal Note 11 to Chapter 48, HTSUSA, which is legally binding, and provides that paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding and articles thereof, printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations, which are not merely incidental to the primary use of the goods, fall into Chapter 49, HTSUSA. Accordingly, we have concluded that the articles which are the subject of your inquiry are not classifiable in Chapter 48, HTSUSA.

We next considered the provisions of Chapter 49, HTSUSA, which generally provides that virtually all printed matter, - 3 -

illustrated or not, is classifiable thereunder. This chapter includes such diverse goods as books, periodicals, sheet music, signs, engineering plans, etc. Because of the instructional nature of your articles and since the shapes on the pattern sheet depict how the garment is to be cut and shaped rather than how it looks, we have concluded that it should be classified under the provision for other printed matter, other, printed on paper in whole or in part by a lithographic process.


The home-sewing patterns you intend to import for and insertion into and distribution with a United States produced magazine are classifiable under 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 general duty rate of 0.4 per cent ad valorem.

This rate of duty will usually be assessed on the transaction value of the merchandise; the price actually paid or payable for the merchandise when sold for exportation to the United States. Packing costs, selling commissions, assists, royalty or license fees, and proceeds of a subsequent resale are specific items which are added to the price paid by the buyer to the seller to determine transaction value.

The United States does not presently have a value added tax.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division