CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 088004 STB

Mr. M. Barry Levy
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C.
Sixty-seven Broad Street
New York, N.Y. 10004

RE: Bouncin' Babies Sets

Dear Mr. Levy:

This is in response to your inquiry of October 1, 1990, regarding the classification of two "Bouncin' Babies" sets under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The merchandise is to be manufactured in the People's Republic of China. Samples were submitted with your request.


The two sets in question are from Galoob's "Bouncin' Babies" subseries "Big Sister 'N Baby." One of the sets includes two dolls, a battery-operated "Big Sister" doll that is 13 inches in height, and a soft vinyl baby doll that is 5 inches in height. These dolls are packaged for retail with a three-wheeled plastic shopping cart measuring approximately 4 by 5 by 6 inches, a miniature plastic comb, and four cardboard boxes decorated to represent various grocery items - cereal, milk, diapers, and laundry detergent. The larger doll features a battery-powered mechanism which enables it to walk forward with the shopping cart, holding the handlebar of the cart. The smaller baby doll fits into the seat of the shopping cart. This merchandise, marketed as "Big Sister 'N Baby and Their Shopping Cart" is item number 3332.

The other set, also item number 3332, is marketed as "Big Sister 'N Baby and Their Stroller." This merchandise consists of two dolls similar to those described above, a miniature plastic comb, and a three-wheeled plastic stroller in which the baby doll can be seated.


What is the proper tariff classification of the subject merchandise?


Classification under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 3(b) determines classification of items in a set put up for retail sale. The rule states in pertinent part:

[G]oods 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.

The Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, state in Note X to Rule 3(b) that the phrase "goods put up in sets for retail sale" means 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... -

The instant merchandise satisfies the above criteria of a set for the following reasons:

(1) The dolls and the items sold with them in both sets are classifiable under different headings. The dolls are properly classifiable under Heading 9592, HTSUSA, as "dolls representing only human beings." The items included with the figures, when sold separately, are clearly not classifiable as dolls.

(2) The items are packaged together to provide the dolls with the accessories necessary to allow the user to engage in specific activities. ;n the case of the "Big Sister 'N Baby and Their Shopping Cart" set the user is provided with items necessary to pretend that the larger doll is taking the baby doll to the grocery store. The set entitled "Big sister 'N Baby and Their Stroller" allows the user to pretend that the larger doll is pushing a baby in a stroller.

(3) The items are packaged together in a manner suitable for sale without the need for repacking.

The instant merchandise thus meets all the requirements of a set. Once the existence of a set is established, GRI 3(b) indicates that the goods are to be classified according to the material or component which gives them their essential character. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) provides the following guidance for determining essential character:

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.

In both of the sets under discussion, the Big Sister dolls provide the essential character. These dolls are the central items used in conjunction with all the other items. One indication of this is the marketing and packaging of the merchandise. The name of the series is "Bouncin' Babies." On both packages, directly under the words "Bouncin' Babies", appears the words "The Dolls That Really Move!". The name of the subseries "Big Sister 'N Baby", appears in much larger print on the packaging than do the additional words "And Their Stroller" and "And Their Shopping Cart." The packaging of both items emphasize that "She really pushes her Stroller!" and "She really pushes her cart!". The play value of the stroller and shopping cart, without the baby dolls to sit in them, or the larger dolls to push them, is substantially diminished. Additionally, the big sister doll is the most important component that ties the items of each set together, since she can actually walk, pushing the stroller and cart. She also provides the most play activity because not only can she walk, but her hair can be combed and she can be dressed and undressed, etc.

No breakdown of the set by value or weight was submitted, and, consequently, these factors were not primary determinative factors in this ruling. We do note, however, that in both instances the large battery-operated does provide a substantial portion of the bulk and weight of the set, and we suspect, much of the value.


The articles submitted for examination form two sets, the "Big Sister 'N Baby and Their Shopping Cart" set and the "Big sister 'N Baby and Their Stroller" set. In both cases, the large "Big Sister" dolls impart the essential character of the set. Both sets, therefore, are properly classified under subheading 9502.10.4000, HTSUSA, as dolls, not stuffed, and not over 33 centimeters in height. The applicable duty rate is 12% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division