Ms. Kathleen Root
Barthco Trade Consultants
5101 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19112

RE: The tariff classification of an Incense Sticks Gift Set, Item # BL-1012 from India

Dear Ms. Root:

In your letter dated June 2, 2009, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Big Lots Stores Inc. A sample was submitted for review with your inquiry

The Incense Sticks Gift Set, Item # BL-1012, consists of 21 incense cones, 20 incense sticks, 2 fragranced candles, a carved soapstone incense holder, and an 8.5 inch by 1.5 inch soapstone ash catcher. The incense cones may be placed inside the open carved soapstone incense holder for burning or on the soapstone ash catcher. The incense sticks may be placed in the open carving of the soapstone holder for burning. The products, packaged together for retail sale in a cardboard box and clear cover, are used to fragrance the home.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Tariff System provide guidance in the interpretation of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System at the international level. Explanatory Note X to GRI 3 provides that the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale "mean goods that: (a) consist of at least two different articles which are prima facie, classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. It is the opinion of this office that the items packaged together do represent a set in accordance with Explanatory Note X. In accordance, in part, with GRI 3(b) “ … goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character”. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states that the factor, which determines essential character will vary 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 the constituent material in relation to the goods. Based upon the nature of the components and their use, it is the opinion of this office that no single item imparts the essential character. Each component is of equal importance in conducting the activity. Therefore classification will be in accordance with GRI 3(c), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which requires, in part, that the set be classified in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which merit equal consideration. The soapstone articles appear last in the tariff.

The applicable subheading for the Incense Sticks Gift Set, Item # BL-1012 will be 7116.20.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for Articles of natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed):, Of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed): Other: Of semiprecious stones (except rock crystal): Other. The rate of duty will be 10.5 percent ad valorem.

Articles classifiable under subheading 7116.20.4000, HTSUS, which are products of India, are currently entitled to duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) upon compliance with all applicable regulations. The GSP, however, is subject to modification and periodic suspension, which may affect the status of your transaction at the time of entry for consumption or withdrawal from warehouse. To obtain current information on GSP, check our Web site at and search for the term "GSP".

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

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Stephanie Joseph at (646) 733-3268 or National Import Specialist Neil Levy at (646) 733-3036.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division