CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 953604 GGD
TARIFF NOS.: 7117.19.3000; 3926.40.0000
Mr. Christian Vene
Christian Products, Inc.
2549 Waukegan Road, Suite 101
Bannockburn, Illinois 60015-1510
RE: Religious Medal Containing Drop of Lourdes Water;
Tube Containing Religious Figurine and Lourdes Water;
Dear Mr. Vene:
This letter is in response to your inquiry of January 29,
1993, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of articles
identified as: 1) a religious medal bearing a facial
representation of the Virgin Mary on the front, with a drop of
Lourdes water enclosed in the back; and 2) a tube containing a
figurine of the Virgin Mary that is filled with holy water from
Lourdes, France; both to be imported from France by Christian
Products, Inc. Samples were submitted with your inquiry.
The first article is a circular shaped medal with a loop
molded onto the top to allow for attachment to a necklace,
bracelet, or chain. The medal is constructed of a tin alloy and
is approximately the size of a nickel. A small plastic
compartment containing a drop of water is bonded onto the back of
the medal. The second article is a clear plastic, liquid-filled
tube, containing a standing, robed figure of a woman at prayer.
The tube measures approximately 2-1/4 inches by 3/4 inch.
Whether the articles should be classified in heading 7117,
HTSUSA, the provision for imitation jewelry of base metal; or in
heading 3926, HTSUSA, the provision for other articles of
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.
It is apparent that the subject items will be classified
according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule.
Heading 7117, HTSUSA, provides for "[i]mitation jewelry: [o]f
base metal, whether or not plated with precious metal." The
Explanatory Note to heading 7117 indicates that, for purposes of
this heading, the expression imitation jewelry is restricted to
small objects of personal adornment which do not incorporate
precious metal (except as plating or minor constituents).
Subheading 7117.19.3000, HTSUSA, provides for religious articles
of a purely devotional character designed to be carried on,
about, or attached to the person, and this is the proper
classification for the religious medal.
Although the tube containing the figurine and holy water
constitutes a religious article, it is not comprised of base
metal, nor will it be used for personal adornment. The article
itself consists of three components, i.e., the tube, the water,
and the figurine. The article cannot be classified by reference
to GRI 1 because the components are classifiable in different
headings. In pertinent part, GRI 2(b) states that:
[t]he classification of goods consisting of more than
one material or substance shall be according to the
principles of Rule 3.
GRI 3(a) directs that, since each of the separate headings
refers to only part of the composite article, the headings are
regarded as equally specific. Therefore, to determine under
which provision the article will be classified, we look to GRI
3(b), which states that:
[m]ixtures, composite goods consisting of different
materials or made up of different components, and goods
put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be
classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as
if they consisted of the material or component which
gives them their essential character, insofar as this
criterion is applicable.
Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) provides the following guidance
concerning the essential character determination:
The factor which determines essential character
will vary as between different kinds of goods. It
may, for example, be determined by 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.
It is our determination that the plastic figurine is the
component which gives the article its essential character. The
plastic tube merely protects the figurine and contains the water
from Lourdes, France, which is believed to be holy due to the
several apparitions of the Virgin Mary and subsequent miracles
that are said to have occurred there. Heading 3926, HTSUSA,
provides for "[o]ther articles of plastics and articles of other
materials of headings 3901 to 3914." The Explanatory Note to
heading 3926 indicates that the heading covers articles of
plastics or other materials not elsewhere included or specified,
including (among other items) statuettes and other ornamental
articles. It is our determination that the plastic tube,
figurine, and Lourdes water are classified in subheading
3926.40.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for other articles of
plastics...statuettes and other ornamental articles.
The religious medal with drop of Lourdes water is classified
under subheading 7117.19.3000, HTSUSA, the provision for
"Imitation jewelry: Of base metal, whether or not plated with
precious metal: Other: Religious articles of a purely devotional
character designed to be worn on apparel or carried on or about
or attached to the person." The general column one duty rate
applicable to this merchandise is 5.8 percent ad valorem.
The plastic tube containing a religious figurine and Lourdes
water is classified under subheading 3926.40.0000, HTSUSA, the
provision for "Other articles of plastics and articles of other
materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Statuettes and other
ornamental articles." The general column one duty rate
applicable to this merchandise is 5.3 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division