CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 952430 GGD
Mr. P.A.R. Sargent
Norka Industries, Inc.
250-2 South Orange #743
Escondido, California 92025
RE: Plain, Painted, and Carved Ostrich Egg Shells; Not
Collections and Collectors' Pieces of Zoological Interest
Dear Mr. Sargent:
This letter is in response to your inquiry of June 30, 1992,
concerning the tariff classification of articles identified as
blown ostrich egg shells - plain, painted, and carved - to be
imported from South Africa by Norka Industries, Inc. A
photograph displaying numerous plain, painted, and/or carved
shells, was submitted with your inquiry.
The ostrich egg shells measure up to 6-1/2 inches in height.
In circumference, the shells measure up to approximately 17-1/2
inches in length, and up to approximately 15 inches in width.
Prior to importation, the shells are emptied, washed, sterilized,
polished, and placed on a wooden (occasionally metal) base or
stand. In some cases, the bottom and/or top of a shell's sphere
is cut away, and wooden handles, spouts, and/or legs are glued to
the remaining shell. These partial shells may then be fitted
with lids, covers, fringe, and/or lining, to resemble jewelry
boxes, tea pots, wine barrels, trophies, mugs, etc. All but the
plain shells are hand-painted and/or hand-carved, and depict
colorful nature scenes, animals, or floral designs.
Whether the ostrich egg shells are classifiable as
collections and collectors' pieces of zoological interest under
heading 9705, HTSUSA; or as worked animal carving material, and
articles of these materials under heading 9601, HTSUSA.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with
the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic
detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all 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 Explanatory Notes (EN's) to the Harmonized
Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the
official interpretation of the tariff at the international level,
facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance
in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's.
Heading 9705, HTSUSA, provides for "[c]ollections and
collectors' pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical,
anatomical, historical, archeological, paleontological,
ethnographic or numismatic interest." The EN to heading 9705
submits that the collections and collectors' pieces of this
heading derive their interest from their rarity, grouping, or
presentation, and include (among other items) dead animals,
preserved or stuffed for collections, and blown or sucked eggs
and empty shells. The EN also suggests that goods produced as a
commercial undertaking to depict an event or any other matter do
not constitute collections or collectors' pieces of historical of
numismatic interest unless the goods have subsequently attained
that interest by reason of their age or rarity.
Although you have described these products as blown ostrich
egg shells, we find that the emphasis placed upon the rarity,
grouping, and presentation of collectors' pieces included in this
heading, provides sufficient basis to exclude the subject
articles, which are neither rare nor collectors' pieces of
significant zoological interest. Therefore, the ostrich egg
shells are not classifiable within heading 9705, HTSUSA.
Chapter 96, HTSUSA, provides for miscellaneous manufactured
articles. Heading 9601, HTSUSA, provides for "[w]orked ivory,
bone, tortoise-shell, horn, antlers, coral, mother-of-pearl and
other animal carving material, and articles of these
The EN to heading 9601 indicates, in pertinent part, that
the heading relates to worked animal materials. Such materials
are mainly worked by carving or cutting, but also may be worked
by any process which extends beyond cleaning, scraping,
disinfecting, and/or treatment for preservation (the simple
preparations permitted for raw materials). The EN suggests that
the heading covers pieces of ivory, bone, tortoise-shell, horn,
antlers, coral, mother-of-pearl, etc.,...cut to shape...or
polished or otherwise worked, as well as small ornamental
articles (e.g., trinkets and carved articles other than original
sculpture and statuary) and articles made from special shells.
In light of the fact that the merchandise which has been
worked the least (i.e., the plain shells) is polished and mounted
on wood, it is our determination that all the ostrich egg shells
are classified in subheading 9601.90.8000, HTSUSA, the provision
for worked animal carving material, and articles of these
The ostrich egg shells are classified in subheading
9601.90.8000, HTSUSA, the provision for "[w]orked ivory, bone,
tortoise-shell...and other animal carving material, and articles
of these materials...: Other: Other." The general column one
duty rate is 3.7 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division