Each earring consists of one imitation rhodium plated wire, one imitation rhodium plated zinc casting and fourteen aqua colored plastic beads. Company provided information in the aggregate indicates that weight and cost of the metal components exceeds that of the plastic beads.
Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that 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.
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.
The pair of earrings is composed of different components (non-precious metal and plastic) and is considered a composite good. The Explanatory Notes 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.
We recognize that the weight and cost of the metal components, in particular the imitation rhodium zinc casting, exceeds that of the aqua colored plastic beads. However, we cannot dismiss the quantity of the fourteen aqua colored plastic beads and the visual impact of the aqua colored plastic beads set vertically along the imitation rhodium zinc casting. It is the aqua colored plastic beads that one’s eye is affixed to. Accordingly, the aqua colored [plastic] beads impart the essential character to the pair of earrings.
Subheading HS 7117.90.
Source: https://rulings.cbp.gov/index.asp, April, 4, 2017 (N284645)