Peggy O’Brien
Amscan, Inc.
25 Green Pond Road, Suite 1
Rockaway, NJ 07866

RE: The tariff classification of a decorative hair comb from China.

Dear Ms. O’Brien:

In your letter dated December 8, 2015, you requested a tariff classification ruling. As requested, the sample submitted will be returned to you. A material breakdown table with cost data was provided. Cost data indicates that the item is valued over $4.50 per gross.

Item number 395202 is a decorative hair comb. The item consists of a plastic comb measuring approximately 2½-inches in width and has teeth measuring approximately 1¼-inches in length, onto which a decorative textile floral arrangement is placed. The floral arrangement completely covers the visual of the plastic comb when placed upon one’s hair. Both the weight and the cost of the textile floral arrangement exceeds that of the plastic comb.

The decorative hair comb is composed of different components (i.e., plastic comb and textile floral arrangement) and is considered a composite good for tariff purposes. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), GRI 3 (b) (VIII), state 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 materials or components, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.” When the essential character of a composite good can be determined, the whole product is classified as if it consisted only of the material or component that imparts the essential character to the composite good.

Consistent with Headquarters Ruling, HQ 963482 dated December 28, 2001, we will examine whether the subject merchandise is highly ornamental, in which case the essential character analysis will turn on the exterior of the decorative comb, rather than solely on the plastic comb itself. We do recognize that the teeth of the plastic comb allows the item to be worn securely on the head when placed upon one’s hair. Nevertheless, the textile floral arrangement weighs and costs more than the plastic comb, covers the entire visual portion of the plastic comb, and moreover provides the aesthetic appeal to the decorative hair comb. See: The Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc., v. the United States, Slip Op. 06-49, Court No. 00-00061, dated April 7, 2006. Accordingly, the essential character of the decorative hair comb is imparted by the textile floral arrangement.

You indicate in your ruling request that the classification of the decorative hair comb should be subheading 7117.90.7500 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), the provision for imitation jewelry made of plastics. However, heading 7117, HTSUS, does not cover dress combs, hair-slides or the like, rather heading 9615, HTSUS, reads in pertinent part “Combs, hair-slides and the like” – see the ENs to heading 7117.

The applicable subheading for the decorative hair comb will be 9615.19.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Combs, hair-slides and the like; hairpins, curling pins, curling grips, hair-curlers and the like, other than those of heading 8516, and parts thereof: Combs, hair-slides and the like: Other: Combs: Valued over $4.50 per gross.” The rate of duty will be 28.8¢/gross + 4.6% ad valorem. Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change.  The text of the most recent TSUS 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


Deborah C. Marinucci
Acting Director
National Commodity Specialist Division