CLA-2-49:S:N1:234 879029

Ms. Melissa Halpert
812 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10003

RE: The tariff classification of photographs (works of art) from France.

Dear Ms. Halpert:

In your letter dated September 30, 1992, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The items in question are artistic photographs (prints) of a kind exhibited in galleries and museums. You request "recognition of the fact that the works being imported are original works of art by established artists, and therefore duty- free."

Chapter 97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) provides for works of art, including, in heading 9702, "original engravings, prints and lithographs." This term is defined (in Chapter Note 2) as "impressions produced directly, in black and white or in color, of one or of several plates wholly executed by hand by the artist, irrespective of the material employed by him, but not including any mechanical or photomechanical process."

Photographs are thus generally excluded from classification as works of art. They are, however, specifically provided for in Chapter 49, HTS, which covers "printed matter." Accordingly, the applicable HTS subheading for the photographs described in your inquiry will be either of the following, depending on their age at the time of importation:

4911.91.4040, 3.1% rate of duty: Other (than certain enumerated) pictures, designs and photographs, printed not over 20 years at time of importation.

4911.91.1000, free of duty: Pictures, designs and photographs, printed over 20 years at time of importation.

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

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director
New York Seaport