CLA-2-96:OT:RR:NC:N4:433

Nicole C. Sands
Coco Sands
273 Saint Thomas Drive
Oak Park, CA 91377

RE: The tariff classification of “fashion accessory belts” from Tibet.

Dear Ms. Sands:

In your letter dated July 19, 2017, you requested a tariff classification ruling. Description and photographs were provided. Upon telephone conversation with you, it was disclosed that the metal components of the belts were of base metals and that the decorative component of the belts was made from the bone of the buffalo.

The merchandise concerned is fashion accessory belts. The belts are made of base metal chain links, base metal connectors and a spring ring clasps, attached to a singular buffalo bone in the shape of a horn, ornamenting the front of the belts. Photographs depict shades of white and black buffalo bones in the shape of horns.

Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). Under GRI 1 the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.

Consistent with Headquarters ruling HQ H011753 dated April 16, 2008, fashion accessory belts are not considered “imitation jewelry” of heading 7117 of the HTSUS. The term “imitation jewelry” applies only to “small objects of personal adornment, for example “rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings, watch chains, fobs, pendants, tie pins, cuff links, dress studs, religious or other medals and insignia.” See Chapter 71, Legal Note 9 (a) to the HTSUS. Belts and fashion accessory belts are not specifically named in this list of exemplars, and are therefore not ejusdem generis, of the same class or kind, as articles to be categorized as imitation jewelry.

In the United States Court of International Trade, The Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc., v. the United States, Slip Op. 06-49, Court No. 00-00061, dated April 7, 2006, the Court considered all factors in evidence to determine essential character and that these factors were to be reviewed as a whole. See Slip Op. 06-49, for a listing of factors reviewed. Consistent with The Home Depot case, we will consider all facts as presented, assign weight to those facts, and if possible decide which of the constituent materials or components impart the essential character to the item referenced above.

Initially, we note that the merchandise concerned is a composite good consisting of base metals and buffalo bone. The Explanatory Notes to the 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.

No material breakdown tables were provided by composition, weight and cost. Nevertheless, it is the shades of white and black buffalo bones in the shape of horns that ornament the belts, the reason fashion enthusiasts would purchase the belts, and the leading reason to fall within the greater term of {fashion accessories}. As such, the essential character of the fashion accessory belts is the buffalo bones made into the shape of horns, ornamenting the belts.

The applicable subheading for the fashion accessory belts will be 9601.90.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Worked ivory, bone, tortoise-shell, horn, antlers, coral, mother-of-pearl and other animal carving material and articles of these materials (including articles obtained by molding): Other: Of bone, horn, hoof, whalebone, quill or any combination thereof.” The rate of duty will be free.

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 https://hts.usitc.gov/current.

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 neil.h.levy@cbp.dhs.gov.

The decorative component of the belts made from the bone of the buffalo may or may not be restricted or may require an exception from licensing from Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS). In Tibet the [Yak] falls in the family of “Bovidae” which includes Bison, American Buffalo, Water Buffalo and other cloven-hoofed mammals. If the decorative component of the belt is of Yak, it is on the FWS, list of endangered and threatened wildlife, as of August 4, 2016. Below, you can either telephone or address questions regarding products derived from wildlife or endangered species to:

Division of Management Authority International Affairs U.S. Fish and Wild Life Services (FWS) 5275 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA 22041 Telephone Number (703) 358-2104

Sincerely,

Steven A. Mack
Director
National Commodity Specialist Division