Bruce E. Barshay
Atlantic City Bus Co.
7232 First Avenue
Mays Landing, NJ 08330

RE: The tariff classification of a soapstone article from India.

Dear Mr. Barshay:

In your letter dated March 27, 20011, you requested a tariff classification ruling. No sample or photograph was provided.

The merchandise is described as a carved elephant with a baby elephant inside the mother. The dimensions for the carving are stated at approximately 5 inches by 5 inches by 3.5 inches.

When interpreting and implementing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, while neither legally binding nor dispositive, provide a guiding commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. CBP believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The ENs to Chapter 71, heading 7116 state in pertinent part, this heading covers all articles (other than those excluded by Notes 2 (b) and 3 to this Chapter), wholly of natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, or consisting partially of natural or cultured pearls or precious or semi-precious stones, but not containing precious metals or metals clad with precious metal (except as minor constituents). Further provided, the EN to heading 7116, at (B), states in pertinent part, that it includes: statuettes and other ornamental articles. As the mineral Talc, also known by its commercial names of Steatite and Soapstone, is listed in the Annex of Precious or Semi-Precious Stones to heading 7103, ENs, it is our opinion the decorative articles made of natural soapstone fall within heading 7116, HTSUS – the provision, among other things, for articles of semi-precious stones.

Based on the dimensions provided, the soapstone elephant carving does not appear to be in the round, and is therefore not considered a figurine or statuette classifiable under subheading 7116.20.3500, HTSUS. Consequently, the carving falls to subheading 7116.20.4000, HTSUS. The applicable subheading for the soapstone elephant carving, will be 7116.20.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Articles of natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious 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% 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 Neil H. Levy at (646) 733-3036.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division