CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089218 ALS

3924.90, 4909.00

Mr. Bruce R. Lang
Specialties Sales Inc.
8940 N.W. 2nd Street
Coral Springs, Florida 33071

RE: "Greeting" Cards Imported from Holland

Dear Mr. Lang:

This is in response to your letter of March 18, 1991, to our New York Seaport Area Office requesting a binding ruling on "greeting" cards from Holland which, in addition to the card, consists of a plastic flower pot approximately 1 1/2 inches high, a seed or bulb packet, a peat pellet and two clear plastic blisters which hold the pot to the card. Our New York office referred your request to us for consideration. Various samples of the article were provided.


The article under consideration consists of a card which is folded over on itself and glued. There is a seed or bulb packet in between the glued sides of the card. The plastic blister, which holds a flower pot and a peat pellet, fits into a notch in the card, with the ears of both the front and back halves of the plastic blister fitting between the glued halves of the card. The card is illustrated, as appropriate to the seed/bulb, and may contain a two word greeting on the front. The illustration may be a snow covered fir tree in the case of the card which accompanies the fir tree seeds. Other illustrations appear on other cards. These cards may be imported with all the components

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fully assembled ready for retail sale. These cards may be imported with all its components present in an unassembled condition. Such cards with unassembled components will be assembled prior to being marketed for retail sale. Some of the cards may be imported incomplete with components to be added subsequent to importation and assembled before the "card" is put up for retail sale. One or more components, e.g. seed and/or peat pellet, may be imported together or separately and assembled with other components or groups of components subsequent to importation and before the "card" is ready for retail sale.


1. What is the classification of "greeting" cards composed of a card, seeds/bulbs, a small flower pot, a peat pellet and plasters blisters which serve to hold the pot in place and attached to the card?

2. Does the fact that the cards are fully assembled or unassembled when imported or that only some of the components are present affect the classification?


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 the 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 heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied taken in order.

In reviewing the headings eligible for classification of these goods, we noted that the components are classifiable in 6 different headings. The card in Heading 4909, HTSUSA, the plastic flower pot in Heading 3924, HTSUSA, the plastic blister in Heading 3923, HTSUSA, the seeds in Heading 1209, HTSUSA, the bulbs in Heading 0601, HTSUSA, and the peat in Heading 2703, HTSUSA. There is no specific heading that refers to the article in its completed form even when considering GRI 2(a) which provides that articles which are incomplete or unfinished and articles which are presented unassembled or disassembled are generally classified the same as the completed article. We next considered GRI 2(b) which provides that goods classifiable under 2 or more headings shall be classified according to the - 3 -

provisions of GRI 3. Although GRI 3(a) provides that the heading with the most specific description shall be preferred to other headings, when 2 or more headings refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods, the headings are to be considered as equally specific. We found that to be the case with this article so it could not be classified under that GRI.

We next referred to GRI 3(b) which covers mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a). GRI 3(b) further provides that such goods are to be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. While the article is a composite insofar as it is made up of different materials and components, we have been unable to conclude that any one material/component gives the article its essential character. Although some of the cards contain a short greeting, that is not a uniform characteristic of the cards. It is noted that most of the printing on the card is related to growing a tree/plant. While the cards do hold the small flower pot, it does not appear that they were primarily designed for that purposes. Also, while the pot, seed and peat pellet will, by following the directions, produce a live tree/plant, it is not clear that this is the primary purpose of the article.

We considered the information supplied by the inquirer, as later supplemented by telephone, the value of the components materials is as follows:

Card- With silver foil printing - - - .1655 with colored in printing - - - .0993 Blisters - - - - - - - - - - - - - - .0867 Seeds/bulbs- - - - - - - - - - - - - .0818 Small pot - - - - - - - - - - - - - -.0576 Peat pellet - - - - - - - - - - - - -.0364

There is some slight variance, less than 1/10 of one cent, for components separately imported.

This information shows that the various components were of comparable value and none was predominant. Thus, as previously noted, one material/component did not the product its essential character.

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In considering whether the subject articles are sets for retail sale in accord with GRI 3(b), we evaluated the article against the specified requirements which a product must meet to qualify for classification thereunder. The assembled articles must:

(a) consist of at least 2 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 retail sale directly to user without repacking.

In considering whether the article would qualify as goods put up in sets for retail sale, we noted that the article does consist of components classifiable in different headings. We, however, were unable to confirm that the articles were put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity. Also, since some of the items must be completed after importation, they are not suitable for retail sale at the time of importation and do not meet the requirements of GRI 3(b).

We also concluded that GRI 3(c) did not apply since the headings each referred to only part of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods. We found that to be the case with this article so it could not be classified under that GRI.

We have concluded that the article under consideration is merely a group of separate components which are packaged together as a novelty item. Based thereon, we have concluded that the components are separately dutiable in accordance with GRI 1 whether they are fully or partially assembled, unassembled, whether or not imported together and regardless of the effort subsequent to importation needed to place them in condition ready for retail sale. In this regard, we noted Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 084135 of July 14, 1989, where we held that the components of an article composed of a greeting card with a baby bib attached thereto, were separately dutiable


The cards, which are illustrated and may or may not have a greeting are classifiable under subheading 4909.00, HTSUSA, and - 5 -

are dutiable at a general rate of 4.9 per cent ad valorem.

The plastic blisters are classifiable under the provision for boxes, cases, crates and similar articles, of plastic, for the packing of goods, under subheading 3923.20, HTSUSA, and are dutiable at a general rate of 3 per cent ad valorem.

The flower pot is classifiable under the provision for other articles of plastic under subheading 3924.90, HTSUSA, and is dutiable at a general rate of 3.4 per cent ad valorem.

The peat pellet is classifiable under subheading 2703.00, HTSUSA, which covers peat, whether or not agglomerated. It is subject to a free general rate of duty.

The seeds are classifiable under Chapter 12 of the HTSUSA with the exact classification depending on the type of seed being imported. If the seeds are for fir or spruce trees (picea pungens), they are classifiable under subheading 1209.99, HTSUSA, and subject to a free general rate of duty. Egg plant seeds (solanum melongena) are classifiable under subheading 1209.91, HTSUSA, and subject to a free general rate of duty. Clover seeds (oxalis deppia) of an unspecified type would be classifiable under subheading 1209.22, HTSUSA, and subject to a free general rate of duty. Radish seeds are classifiable under subheading 1209.91, HTSUSA, and subject to a general rate of duty of 3.3/kg.

Bulbs are general classifiable under subheading 0601,10, HTSUSA. Bulbs for which there is no specific provision would be classifiable under the provision for other bulbs in subheading 0601.10, HTSUSA, and would be dutiable at a general rate of duty of 5.5 per cent ad valorem


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division