CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 950400 LPF

Mr. James Bartee
Traffic Manager
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 decoration.


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.



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 this manner.

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 decorative motifs.

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 4602.10.5000.



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