In ruling NY N320860 (August 9, 2021), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the tariff classification of a decorative wreath from China. The 22’’ “Thistle Asymmetrical Wreath” is a decorative door wreath fashioned from a dried grapevine wrapped with metal wiring to hold its shape. Each wreath is decorated with polyester fabric leaves and plastic thistles that wrap approximately two-thirds of the way around the wreath. The heaviest concentration of leaves and thistles is located at the bottom and tapers off up the sides.

The dried grapevines meet the definition of “plaiting materials” as set forth in Note 1 to Chapter 46 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which states that plaiting materials refers to:

“materials in a state or form suitable for plaiting, interlacing or similar processes; it includes straw, osier or willow, bamboos, rattans, rushes, reeds, strips of wood, strips of other  vegetable material (for example, strips of bark, narrow leaves and raffia or other strips obtained from broad leaves), unspun natural textile fibers, monofilament and strip and the like of plastics and strips of paper, but not strips of leather or composition leather or of felt or nonwovens, human hair, horsehair, textile rovings or yarns, or monofilament and strip and the like of chapter 54.”

The wreath is also considered a composite article because it is made up of plaiting materials (i.e. the grapevines), polyester fabric, plastic, and metal wiring. For its classification, CBP referred to General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(b), which provides that composite articles with different materials are to be classified “as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.” CBP found that the grapevines confer the essential character of the wreath because the vines contribute to the wreath’s decorative appeal and provide the wreath with its structure and shape. As such, CBP determined that the applicable subheading for the Thistle Asymmetrical Wreath was 4602.19.6000, HTSUS, which provides for “Basketwork, wickerwork and other articles, made directly to shape from plaiting materials or made up from articles of heading 4601; articles of loofah: Of vegetable materials: Other: Other: Other: Wickerwork.” The rate of duty is free.

Additionally, pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, Chinese products under subheading 4602.19.6000, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25% ad valorem duty rate. As such, the chapter subheading 9903.88.03 must be reported in addition to subheading 4602.19.6000, HTSUS.