CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 088290 STB
Mr. Ned H. Marshak
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C.
Sixty Seven Broad Street
New York, N.Y. 10004
RE: Water Globes
Dear Mr. Marshak:
This is in response to your inquiry of November 5, 1990,
regarding the tariff classification of six styles of water globes
to be imported from Taiwan. One sample and several pictures were
submitted with your inquiry.
The six water globes in question are approximately 5 inches
in height; the glass balls have a diameter of approximately 4
inches. The figures surrounded by the glass and water are
described as follows:
1. a snowman carrying a Christmas tree and a sack of toys
with other toys and a reindeer around its base;
2. Santa Claus carrying a teddybear and a sack of toys with
a snowman at his feet;
3. Santa Claus riding a carousel horse and carrying a sack
of toys with other toys around the horse's pole;
4. two figures dressed in "traditional Christmas costumes",
one kneeling with her hands clasped in prayer, and the other
standing and holding a lantern;
5. a figure dressed in "traditional Christmas costume" with
two lambs and a Christmas tree; and
6. two adult and two children carolers.
All the figures are enclosed in glass water domes which, when
shaken, scatter small white particles which then fall slowly on
the figures in order to depict a snowfall. The inner figures are
composed of plastic and rest inside a wood base. The cost of
the plastic component ($0.825) is more than the cost of either
the glass ($0.55) or the wood ($0.55).
Whether the subject water globes should be classified as
decorative glassware or as festive articles?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the
legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under
the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated
(HTSUSA). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first
according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any
relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required,
according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.
Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for
"[f]estive, carnival or other entertainment articles." The
Explanatory Note to heading 9505 indicates that the heading
(A) Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles
which in view of their intended use are generally made
of non-durable material. They include:
(1) Decorations such as festoons, garlands,
Chinese lanterns, etc., as well as various
decorative articles made of paper, metal foil,
glass fibre, etc., for Christmas trees (e.g.,
tinsel, stars, icicles), artificial snow, coloured
balls, bells, lanterns, etc. Cake and other
decorations (e.g., animals, flags) which are
traditionally associated with a particular
festival are also classified here.
(2) Articles traditionally used at Christmas
festivities, e.g., artificial Christmas trees
(these are sometimes of the folding type),
nativity scenes, Christmas crackers, Christmas
stockings, imitation yule logs.
* * *
Articles classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA, tend to have no
function other than decoration.
Heading 9505 is generally regarded as a use provision.
Consequently, Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a) must be
reviewed. That rule indicates that:
In the absence of special language or context which
(a) a tariff classification controlled by use (other
than actual use) is to be determined in accordance with
the use in the United States at, or immediately prior
to the date of importation, of goods of that class or
kind to which the imported goods belong, and the
controlling use is the principal use.
While the instant merchandise displays motifs that relate to
Christmas in varying degrees (some figures are more clearly
Christmas related than others) they are basically water globes.
Water globes, as a class or kind of merchandise are not
specifically holiday related; they are sold year-round in a wide
variety of motifs. Additionally, water globes commonly serve a
utilitarian purpose as paperweights and have often become
collectors' items. As illustrated by the New York Times article
dated September 6, 1990, (copy enclosed) many water globes and/or
snow domes that do not depict festive motifs can be valuable
additions to collections. Thus, the subject water globes are
not classifiable in heading 9505, HTSUSA.
As a composite good, the merchandise may not be classified
under GRI 1 or 2, so reference must be made to GRI 3. GRI 3(b)
provides that composite goods constructed of different components
shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which
gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes to
GRI 3(b) indicate that essential character may be determined by
considering "the nature of the material or component, its bulk,
quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent
material in relation to the use of the goods."
The role that the glass domes or globes play in relation to
the use of these articles (they are clearly marketed as globes)
strongly suggests that these globes impart the essential
character of the merchandise. Additionally, although the globes
are not as expensive as the plastic components, the globes do
provide a substantial amount of the value, as well as the bulk of
the items. Thus, the water globes are classifiable in Heading
7013, HTSUSA, the provision for glassware used for indoor
The water globes are classifiable under subheading
7013.99.50, HTSUSA, which provides for glassware of a kind used
for...indoor decoration or similar purposes: other glassware:
other, other, other, valued over $0.30 but not over $3 each. The
applicable duty rate is 30% ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division