Mr. Troy Crago
Atico International USA, Inc. 501 South Andrews Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

RE: Revocation of New York Ruling Letter N025431; Tariff Classification of a Terracotta Grill

Dear Mr. Crago,

This is in reference to New York Ruling Letter (NY) N025431, dated April 3, 2008, regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of a terracotta grill. In that ruling, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) classified the grill under heading 6914, HTSUS, which provides for “Other ceramic articles”. We have reviewed NY N025431 and found it to be incorrect. For the reasons set forth below, we intend to revoke that ruling.


In NY N025431, the product at issue was identified as “a terracotta grill, Item Number A050AA01448. By weight, the product material consists of 90% terracotta (frame/base) and 10% stainless steel (grill). It measures 17.25 inches in diameter by 8.25 inches in height.” A black and white photo of the product included in the file indicates that the terracotta base has a bowl shape, with a cut-out on the side for inserting solid fuel. The metal grill lies across the top.

CBP classified the instant terracotta grill as a composite good, pursuant to GRI 3(b), and found that the ceramic portion imparted its essential character. As such, CBP classified the Grill under heading 6914, HTSUS, specifically under subheading 6914.90.80, which provides for “Other ceramic articles: Other: Other”. Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. §1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI, notice proposing to revoke N025431 was published on October 5, 2011, in Volume 45, Number 41, of the Customs Bulletin.  CBP received no comments in response to this notice.


What is the proper classification of the instant terracotta grill under the HTSUS?


Merchandise imported into the United States is classified under the HTSUS. Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which requires otherwise, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUS and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes.

GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined 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 GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.

The 2011 HTSUS provisions at issue are as follows:

6912 Ceramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, other than of porcelain or china: 6912.00.50 Other ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 6914 Other ceramic articles: 6914.90 Other: 6914.90.80 Other ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1 of Chapter 69, HTSUS, states: “This chapter applies only to ceramic products which have been fired after shaping. Headings 6904 to 6914 apply only to such products other than those classifiable in headings 6901 to 6903.”

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. It is CBP’s practice to consult the terms of the ENs when interpreting the HTSUS. See T.D. 89–80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

EN 69.12 states, in pertinent part: “The headings therefore include: … (C) Other household articles such as ash trays, hot water bottles and matchbox holders.”

EN 69.14 states, in pertinent part:

This heading covers all ceramic articles not covered by other headings of this Chapter or in other Chapters of the Nomenclature. * * * It includes, inter alia: (1) Stoves and other heating apparatus, made essentially of ceramics (generally of earthenware, sometimes of common pottery, etc.); non-refractory firebrick cheeks; ceramic parts of stoves or fireplaces, ceramic linings for wood burning stoves, including tiles of a kind specially adapted for stoves. Electric heating apparatus is, however, classified in heading 85.16. * * *

Heading 6912, HTSUS, provides for “Ceramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, other than of porcelain or china”. The phrase “other household articles” is not defined in the HTSUS. When, as in this case, a tariff term is not defined by the HTSUS or its legislative history, “the term’s correct meaning is its common meaning.” Mita Copystar Am. v. U.S., 21 F.3d 1079, 1082 (Fed. Cir. 1994). The common meaning of a term used in commerce is presumed to be the same as its commercial meaning. Simod Am. Corp. v. U.S., 872 F.2d 1572, 1576 (Fed. Cir. 1989). To ascertain the common meaning of a term, a court may consult “dictionaries, scientific authorities, and other reliable information sources” and “lexicographic and other materials.” C.J. Tower & Sons v. U.S., 673 F.2d 1268, 1271 (CCPA 1982); Simod, 872 F.2d at 1576.

“‘Household’ is a broad term; the dictionary defines it as ‘of a household or home; domestic.’” Hartz Mt. Corp. v. United States, 903 F. Supp. 57, 59 (Ct. Int’l Trade 1995). CBP has consistently interpreted the phrase “household articles” to include items which are used outdoors in the immediate vicinity of the home. For example, in NY N108099, dated June 24, 2010, CBP classified an outdoor plastic key-concealing case under heading 3924.90.56, HTSUS, which provides, in pertinent part, for “… other household articles … of plastics: other: other”. In NY N104201, dated May 10, 2010, CBP classified a can-shaped cooler which was intended for outdoor, garden, or camping use under heading 7323, HTSUS, which provides, in pertinent part, for “… other household articles and parts thereof, of iron or steel; …”. In NY R00617, dated August 25, 2004, CBP classified a set of polypropylene stones used to create an outdoor garden pathway under heading 3924.90.55, HTSUS (2004), which provides for “… other household articles … of plastics: other: other”.

It follows from the above that ceramic products which are intended for use outdoors, in the immediate vicinity of a home, fall within the scope of “other household articles” for purposes of classification under heading 6912, HTSUS. The instant terracotta grill is a ceramic outdoor grill intended for backyard cooking. Therefore, it is properly classified under heading 6912, HTSUS, specifically under subheading 6912.00.50, which provides for “Ceramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, other than of porcelain or china: Other”.

Heading 6914, HTSUS, which provides for “Other ceramic articles”, is a basket provision, which covers ceramic articles that are not provided for in any other heading of Chapter 69, HTSUS. See EN 69.14. As the terracotta grill is properly classified under heading 6912, HTSUS, it is precluded from classification under 6914, HTSUS. HOLDING:

By application of GRI 1, the instant terracotta grill is classified in subheading 6912.00.50, HTSUS, which provides for: “Ceramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, other than of porcelain or china: Other”. The general, column one rate of duty is 6% ad valorem. Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change.


New York Ruling N025431, dated April 3, 2008, is hereby REVOKED.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after publication in the Customs Bulletin.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division