from the United States Court of International Trade in No.
1:13-cv-00407-MAB, Judge Mark A. Barnett.
H. Ripa, New York, NY, argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also
represented by John Anthony Bessich, Suzanne McCaffery,
Follick & Bessich, P.C., Huntington Station, NY.
Mancuso, International Trade Field Office, Commercial
Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department
of Justice, New York, NY, argued for defendant-appellee. Also
represented by Amy Rubin; Jeanne Davidson, Joseph H. Hunt,
Washington, DC; Michael W. Heydrich, Office of the Assistant
Chief Counsel, United States Bureau of Customs and Border
Protection, United States Department of Homeland Secrity, New
Prost, Chief Judge, Reyna and Hughes, Circuit Judges.
Costume Company appeals the grant of summary judgment by the
Court of International Trade in favor of the Government as to
the tariff classification of certain imported merchandise.
The imported merchandise consists of a nine-piece Santa Claus
costume packaged and sold together as a set. The Santa Claus
costume is customarily worn in connection with the
celebration of the Christmas holiday. The parties argue as to
the implications of the "festive" nature of the
costume. The merchandise, however, is excluded from
classification as "festive articles" by the notes
to chapter 95 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
States. The correct classification of the merchandise is
under HTSUS 6110.30.30, 6103.43.15, 6116.93.94, and
4209.92.30. On that basis, we affirm the judgment of the
Court of International Trade.
Court of International Trade ("CIT") set forth the
following undisputed facts. Rubies Costume Company
("Rubies") imports and sells traditional Christmas
Santa Claus costumes, including the "Premier Plush 9
Piece Santa Suit" ("the Santa Suit") at issue
in this case. The Santa Suit consists of a jacket, pants,
gloves, a toy sack, a beard, a wig, a hat, a belt, and shoe
covers. Rubies packages and sells the nine pieces of the
Santa Suit together in a zippered plastic bag as shown below:
jacket and pants are made from 73% acrylic/27% polyester knit
pile fabric. The sewn-in care instruction labels in the
jacket and pants state that the garments require dry
jacket comes in one standard size and has a double-layer
collar with white faux fur fabric and a front snap closure.
The jacket features a full-length zipper closure in the
front, concealed by an overlapping flap of white faux fur
that snaps at top and bottom. The jacket sleeves have
turned-edge hemming and white faux fur cuffs. The jacket also
includes double-layer belt loops and tightly stitched
interior seams. Woven satin fabric lines the entire jacket.
pants have pockets with turned-edge hemming and tightly
stitched seams. An elasticized waist with a 1.75"-wide
waist band secures the pants on the wearer. The ankle edge of
the pants is sewn with a loose overlock stitch that the
wearer tucks into boots during use. Woven satin fabric also
lines the pants.
other pieces of the Santa Suit, only the gloves and toy sack
are also at issue in this case. The gloves consist of 100%
polyester knit fabric and have fourchettes between the
fingers. The toy sack measures thirty-six inches in length
and is constructed from 100% polyester knit pile fabric. The
toy sack closes with a drawstring cord.
20, 2012, Rubies requested a binding pre-importation ruling
from U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("Customs")
on the tariff classification of the Santa Suit. Exactly one
year later, Customs issued Ruling Letter HQ H237067 in which
it classified the Santa Suit under several tariff
classifications of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the
United States ("HTSUS"). See Customs
Ruling HQ H237067 (June 20, 2013), 2013 WL 3783025, at *1. On
October 25, 2013, after Rubies entered the subject
merchandise, Customs applied its HQ H237067 ruling and
liquidated the entry of the Santa Suit according to the
following classifications and duty rates for each piece:
32.0% ad valorem
28.2% ad valorem
10.0% ad valorem
17.6% ad valorem
Beard, Wig, Hat, Belt, Shoe Covers
Free of Duty
6-7; J.A. 719-21.
protested the liquidation of the entry pursuant to 19 U.S.C.
§ 1514(a). Rubies contended that all nine pieces of the
Santa Suit fall under HTSUS chapter 95 as "[f]estive . .
. articles," requiring duty-free entry, and requested an
accelerated disposition of the protest. Customs did not
render a decision on the protest within thirty days, so the
protest was deemed denied under 19 U.S.C. § 1515(b) on
December 14, 2013. On December 27, 2013, Rubies filed suit in
the CIT, challenging the denied protest.
discovery, Rubies and the Government filed cross-motions for
summary judgment. The CIT denied Rubies' motion and
granted summary judgment in favor of the Government. The CIT
found that "the Santa Suit is not a festive
article." J.A. 2. The CIT found that the pieces of the
Santa Suit fell under the following HTSUS provisions:
6110.30.30 for the jacket; 6103.43.15 for the pants;
6116.93.94 for the gloves; and 4202.92.30 for the toy sack.
The parties did not dispute the classification of the beard,
wig, hat, belt, and shoe covers.
CIT's classification of the Santa Suit jacket differed
from Customs' classification. The CIT determined that the
jacket fell under heading 6110, and not heading 6105. Note 4
of chapter 61 requires that garments under heading 6105 must
have more than ten stitches per linear centimeter. J.A. 33.
The undisputed facts at summary judgment showed that the
jacket did not meet this requirement. The CIT, therefore,
found that the proper classification for the jacket was under
heading 6110, ...