CLA-2 OT:RR:CTF:TCM H188945 MG
TARIFF NO: 3926.40.00
Mrs. Deborah Stern Pratt
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.1000 NW 57th Court, Suite 600
Miami, FL 33126
RE: Reconsideration of NY N141939; Classification of plastic fish mounts from China
Dear Mrs. Stern:
This is in response to your letter, on behalf of your client King Sailfish Mounts, Inc. (“KSM”), dated October 5, 2011 and supplemental information, dated April 23, 2014, in which you requested reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) N141939, dated February 4, 2011, which classified fiberglass reinforced plastic fish blank release mounts “fish mounts” in subheading 3926.40.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), the provision for “Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Statuettes and other ornamental articles.” A sample has been provided and will be returned. Teleconferences were held on August 30, 2012 and April 28, 2016.
The merchandise was described in NY N141939 as follows:
The fish blanks are constructed of glass fiber reinforced plastics. They are created in molds to simulate game fish such as sailfish, marlin and swordfish. The blanks are used as substitutes for taxidermy fish mounts that use the actual preserved parts of the fish such as bills, fins, skin and jaws to create trophy mounts. These fish blanks are used to represent game fish that have been caught and then released back alive. The fish blanks are complete as imported except for subsequent painting in colors that mimic the exact fish that was captured and released.
You request classification in subheading 9705.00.00, HTSUS, as collections and collectors’ pieces of zoological interest. In support of this classification, you state that because the fish mounts are used in the taxidermy industry for the specific purpose of making replicas of game fish, they are substantially akin in both composite material and purpose to taxidermied fish mounts in that they are made from the same type of fiberglass reinforced materials used in making taxidermied fish mounts (which are based on real fish), are used for the same purpose, and are sold in the same channels of trade as taxidermied fish mounts classified in heading 9705, HTSUS. You further posit that, because they meet the definition of blanks set out in the Explanatory Notes to GRI 2(a), they should be classified as taxidermied fish mounts in subheading 9705.00.00, HTSUS, as unfinished collectors' pieces of zoological interest. In support of these assertions, you cite HQ 952687, dated April 30, 1993 and HQ 957664, dated March 13, 1996.
Heading 9705 provides for “Collections and collectors' pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archeological, paleontological, ethnographic or numismatic interest.” In HQ 952687, CBP determined that a mounted game fish, consisting of a molded plastic shell on which was mounted the teeth, fins, skin and tail of a fish that had been caught by the purchaser of the mount, was classified in heading 9705, HTSUS, as collections and collectors’ pieces of zoological interest and not in heading 3926, HTSUS, which includes other articles of plastic. The ruling further states that the Explanatory Notes to heading 9705, HTSUS, indicate that articles covered by the heading “are very often of little value but derive their interest from their rarity, their grouping or their presentation” and the heading includes “dead animals of any species, preserved dry or in liquid.” HQ ruled that the fish parts, separated, preserved and mounted onto a fiberglass reinforced plastic body, were properly classified in subheading 9705.00.0090, HTSUS. In HQ 957664, dated March 13, 1996, mounted fish and mounted animals were also classified in subheading 9705.00.00, HTSUS.
Traditional taxidermy fish mounts use the actual preserved parts of the fish caught by the purchaser of the mount such as bills, fins, skin and jaws to create trophy mounts. The products in both rulings were plastic reinforced fiberglass fish bodies created from molds of the actual fish caught on which the teeth, fins, skin and tail of the actual fish were mounted, with the skin then painted to mimic the original coloration of the caught and killed fish. In these rulings, CBP determined that, although the fiberglass support accounted for most of the weight of the product, the product was essentially a preserved dead animal that met the description of heading 9705, HTSUS.
The fish blanks at issue do not include any part of a dead animal. The plastic mounts at issue are mass produced from a mold of a game fish that has been caught and then released back alive. A product made solely of plastics cannot be said to have the essential character of a particular preserved dead animal merely because it is constructed to accurately replicate that type of animal. Also, the fish mounts at issue are not rare as they are used as decorations in homes, restaurants and clubhouses. It is possible that some might be displayed in a local museum, but that would probably be a fugitive use as most of them are sold to individuals who caught a fish similar in size, or to commercial establishments who use them for ornamentation and decoration. The product is a decorative and commercial article made of plastic, which are not uniquely representative of a specific catch or collector’s item and may be purchased by anyone for display and decorative purposes.
As stated in HQ 952512, dated December 22, 1992, regarding the classification of décor ostrich egg shells, we noted that “the merchandise does not appear to create an interest due to its rarity or presentation.” In this regard, we also note that the instant plastic fish are also not rare, but mass produced and are not presented in the manner of a collectors’ piece of zoological interest as they are not molded from the fish the sportsman caught and do not contain any fish parts from that fish. Therefore, we do not consider the fish blanks at issue to be analogous to the collectors’ pieces of heading 9705, HTSUS.
For all the aforementioned reasons, we hereby affirm N141939. Accordingly, the subject fish mount is classified in heading 3926, HTSUS, specifically subheading 3926.40.00, HTSUSA (Annotated), which provides for “Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3914: Statuettes and other ornamental articles.” The 2015 general, column one rate of duty is 5.3% ad valorem.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division