Mr. Jay Reynolds
JP Reynolds Company Inc.
101 SE 21st Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

RE: The tariff classification of fish blanks from China

Dear Mr. Reynolds:

In your letter dated January 6, 2011, on behalf of King Sailfish Mounts Inc., Florida, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

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.

In your letter, you propose classifying the articles in question in subheading 8480.79.9090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for molding boxes for metal foundry; mold bases; molding patterns; molds for metal (other than ingot molds), metal carbides, glass, mineral materials, rubber or plastics: molds for rubber or plastics: other types: other … other molds. As justification for this proposal, you provide an excerpt taken from the CBP Informed Compliance Publication “Classification of Molds and Their Parts Under HTSUS.” However, the cited discussion on the classification of mold blanks must be read in its totality. It should be understood that the discussion centers on how “blank”, as that term is defined in the Explanatory Notes, i.e., General Rule of Interpretation (2)(a)(II), applies to imported unfinished molds. To be a blank classifiable in subheading 8480.79.9090, HTSUS, a blank must possess the essential character of a mold. A mold is an article whose function is to retain molding material (in a molten or plastic state) in a predetermined shape while the material sets or solidifies. The blanks in question do not function in this manner. Rather, they are in the nature of unfinished fish replicas. They are made in molds but are not themselves molds. In fact, information on the importer’s website clearly states that the fish blanks are made in molds. Thus, subheading 8480.79.9090, HTSUS, would not be applicable in this instance.

We do agree with your assertion that the fish blanks possess the essential character of the finished plastic display fish. As described in the importer’s website, “Every fish blank comes primed with fins attached, finished mouth interiors, and with eyes and hanger installed. All you need to do is paint it.” Therefore, the fish blank takes the same classification as the painted fish replica.

The applicable subheading for the glass fiber reinforced plastic fish blanks will be 3926.40.0000, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of plastics…statuettes and other ornamental articles. The rate of duty will be 5.3 percent 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

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 Joan Mazzola at (646) 733-3023.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division