CLA-2-39:RR:NC:SP:221 C81577

Ms. Sandra Haupt
Tower Group International
128 Dearborn Street
Buffalo, NY 14207-3198

RE: The tariff classification of math teaching aids from China.

Dear Ms. Haupt:

In your letter dated October 2, 1997, on behalf of McGraw-Hill School Publishing, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The samples submitted with your letter are used to demonstrate mathematical concepts. These products, sometimes referred to as manipulatives, are frequently used in school settings. Item ISBN 0021097623, identified as math place value ones, consists of cubes measuring one centimeter in each dimension. Item ISBN 0020197631, identified as math place value tens, consists of bars measuring one centimeter by one centimeter by ten centimeters, with slight indentations on the surface dividing each bar into ten units. ISBN 002019764X, identified as math place value 100's, consists of square plates measuring ten centimeters by ten centimeters by one centimeter, with slight indentations on the surface dividing each plate into one hundred units. Each of the units in the place value tens and place value 100's is the size of the place value one cube. These products are all made from polyethylene.

ISBN 0021097666 is identified as a math fraction strips set. It consists of rectangular strips of various lengths and colors designed to be used to demonstrate the concept of fractions. Though the strips are printed with numbers of either a fraction or the whole number "1," the printing is considered merely incidental to the primary function since the mathematical concepts may be demonstrated merely by the sizes of the pieces without the printed identification. For example, each piece which is imprinted with the fraction "1/8" is one eighth the size of the piece imprinted with the number "1." The strips are made from polyethylene.

ISBN 0021097615 is identified as math connecting links. No sample was submitted of this product. The samples of the other products are being returned as you requested.

You suggest classification in heading 9023, Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTS), which provides for "instruments, apparatus and models, designed for demonstrational purposes (for example, in education or exhibitions), unsuitable for other uses, and parts and accessories thereof." The Explanatory Notes to the HTS constitute the official interpretation of the tariff schedule at the international level. Although many of the objects contained in this ruling request will be used for "demonstrational purposes" or "education," none of them is even remotely related to any of the items listed in the eleven Explanatory Notes covering heading 9023, HTS. In short, none of the items contained in the ruling request fits any description of the words "instruments, apparatus and models."

The applicable subheading for the place value pieces (ones, tens and 100's) as well as for the fraction strips set will be 3920.10.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials, of polymers of ethylene. The rate of duty will be 4.2 percent ad valorem.

Your inquiry does not provide enough information for us to give a classification ruling on the connecting links. Your request for a classification ruling should include a sample of the links and descriptive literature showing how they are used.

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 212-466-5580.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity
Specialist Division