CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 950400 LPF
Mr. James Bartee
House of Lloyd, Inc.
11901 Grandview Road
Grandview, MO 64030
RE: "Romantic Swag" garland; article made directly to shape from
plaiting materials in heading 4602, HTSUSA
Dear Mr. Bartee:
This is in response to your letter of September 17, 1991
submitted on behalf of House of Lloyd, Inc., regarding the proper
classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the
United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of a "Romantic Swag" garland,
item #291396, imported from Taiwan. You submitted a sample with
your request for a binding ruling.
The "Romantic Swag" is a garland consisting of natural
preserved raffia, wrinkled paper, dried, bleached and preserved
gypsophila and a 100% polyester artificial flower. The item is
designed for use in the home as a wall, door or window
Whether the "Romantic Swag" garland is classified as a plait
or similar product of plaiting materials in heading 4601, HTSUSA;
as an article made directly to shape from plaiting materials in
heading 4602, HTSUSA; as (wrinkled) paper in heading 4823,
HTSUSA; as dried, bleached, cut (gypsophila) flowers and flower
buds for ornamental purposes in heading 0603, HTSUSA; or as
artificial flowers in heading 6702, HTSUSA.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in their
appropriate order provide a framework for classification of
merchandise under the HTSUSA. The majority of imported goods are
classified by application of GRI 1, that is, 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's may
then be applied.
The "Romantic Swag" garland consists of several components.
One may classify these components as follows: the raffia in
either heading 4601 or 4602, HTSUSA; the wrinkled paper in
heading 4823, HTSUSA; the gypsophila flowers in heading 0603,
HTSUSA; and the artificial flowers in heading 6702, HTSUSA.
Since the HTSUSA provides for each of these components in
separate headings, classification is determined by applying GRI
3(a) which explains, in pertinent part, that when goods are,
prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, the
articles are to be classified under the heading which provides
the most specific description of the good in question. All
headings are regarded as equally specific, however, when each
refers to part only of the goods.
Each of the possible headings refer to only part of the
subject merchandise. Since the headings are, thus, regarded as
equally specific, we do not classify the item by GRI 3(a) but
rather by GRI 3(b).
GRI 3(b) provides that articles made up of different
components, that is, composite goods, shall be classified as if
they consisted of the component which gives them their essential
character. "Essential character" has been construed to mean: the
attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an
article is. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity
Description and Coding System represent the official
interpretation of the tariff at the international level and offer
guidance in understanding the scope of the heading and the GRI's.
Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) explains that bulk, quantity,
weight, value or the role of the constituent material in relation
to the use of the item are indicia of essential character.
The raffia imparts the essential character of the item. The
weight of the raffia far exceeds that of the other components
combined. In addition, the raffia provides the bulk of the item
giving it its shape and form while distinguishing the "Romantic
Swag" as a decorative garland. It allows the item to function as
a door or wall hanging. The other components all serve to
enhance the appearance of the hanging raffia. Thus, we must turn
our focus to the headings providing for articles of raffia rather
than those providing for the other components.
The Explanatory Notes to Chapter 46, HTSUSA, Manufactures of
Straw, of Esparto or of other Plaiting Materials: Basketware and
Wickerwork, explain that the chapter covers articles made by
interlacing, weaving or by similar methods of assembling unspun
materials, including vegetable material such as raffia, provided
it is in a state or form suitable for plaiting, interlacing or
similar processes. The raffia at issue has been intertwined in
Heading 4601 covers the most simplistic, including non-
finished, articles of plaited materials. These articles may be
made by merely twisting, braiding or joining together strands of
these materials. Chapter 46, Note 3, provides that "plaiting
materials" as covered in heading 4601, HTSUSA, include plaits
and similar products of plaiting materials, placed side by side
and bound together, in the form of sheets.
The Explanatory Notes confirm the simplicity of these
articles by including semi-manufactured products and only the
most basic finished articles in heading 4601, HTSUSA. In
addition, the heading excludes products incorporating more than
incidental decorative motifs.
Heading 4602 covers made up, or more complex, articles of
plaited materials. These articles may be made directly to shape
from plaiting materials or from articles covered in heading 4601.
In addition, the heading includes products incorporating
The raffia of the "Romantic Swag" is joined with various
decorative items. Thus, the item incorporates more than an
incidental decorative motif and is more elaborately constructed
than the items characteristic of heading 4601, HTSUSA. For these
reasons, the "Romantic Swag" is classifiable in heading 4602,
HTSUSA. Turning our focus to the appropriate subheading for the
"Romantic Swag," we find it classifiable in subheading
The "Romantic Swag" is properly classifiable in subheading
4602.10.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for,"[b]asketwork,
wickerwork and other articles, made directly to shape from
plaiting materials or made up from articles of heading 4601;
articles of loofah: of vegetable materials: other: other...."
The general column one rate of duty is 3 percent ad valorem.
However, the article is subject to a temporary duty reduction
under subheading 9903.10.38, HTSUSA, where the general column one
rate of duty is 2.3 percent ad valorem. At the present time, the
duty reduction is scheduled to expire on December 31, 1992.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division