Mr. Harold W. Stewart
The I.C.E. Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 610583
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, TX 75261-0583
RE: The tariff classification of musical instruments from China and Korea
Dear Mr. Stewart:
In your letter dated August 3, 1999 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Rhythm Band, Inc. At our request, you had submitted additional marketing literature, received in this office on August 23, 1999. Our response to you was delayed due to necessary research on the subject articles.
The items submitted include a Guiro Tone Block – RB756AP, Single Jingles – RB803P, Harmonica – RB977P, Jingle Stick - RB950P, and Castanets – RB810P. The “Guiro Tone Block” consists of a hollow wooden instrument measuring approximately 6 ½” in length and an 8” stick with a wooden ball attached to one end. Sounds are produced by striking the two articles together. The “Single Jingles” are packaged two on a blister card. Each “Single Jingle” is made up of a base metal bell attached to a wooden stick. The “Harmonica” is of a classic design, having a metal housing with a textile cord that enables one to carry the item around the neck. A specially designed plastic case is included for storage. The “Jingle Stick” consists of a series of metal disks attached to a plastic handheld staff. The “Castanets” are made of plastic and measure 2 ½” in diameter. The described items will be imported packaged on individual blister cards for retail sale to homes and schools.
The classification of merchandise under the HTS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’S). GRI 1 of the HTS, states in part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ” The Explanatory Notes to Heading 9503 states:
"Certain toys . . . may be capable of a limited "use"; but they are generally
distinguishable by their size and limited capacity . . . "
In the case of the “Guiro Tone Block,” “Jingle Stick” and “Castanets” we have determined that these items do not possess the quality of construction required of genuine musical instruments. They are recognized as having a “limited use” that is distinguished by their tone and overall design. These products are viewed as toys for children’s amusement.
In accordance with GRI 1, the “Harmonica” is specifically provided for within the provision for mouth organs and the like of Chapter 92.
The “Single Jingles” are essentially made up of bells on a stick and are excluded from classification as toys by Chapter 95 Note 1(l) which excludes “bells, gongs or the like of heading 8306.”
The applicable subheading for the Guiro Tone Block – RB756AP, Jingle Stick - RB950P and Castanets, RB810P, will be 9503.50.0020, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for toy musical instruments and apparatus. The rate of duty will be free.
The applicable subheading for the Harmonica, item RB977P, will be 9204.20.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for mouth organs. The rate of duty will be free.
The applicable subheading for the Single Jingles, RB803P, will be 8306.10.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for bells, gongs and the like, non electric, of base metal. The rate of duty will be 5.8 percent ad valorem.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Alice J. Wong at 212-637-7028.
Robert B. Swierupski