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Kits for Kids to Make Fleece Blankets Classified as Toys, Court Says

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Court of International Trade ruled Aug. 16 that a kit used by children to make their own fleece throw blankets is properly classified as a toy under HTSUS 9503.00.00 (duty-free). U.S. Customs and Border Protection had classified the kits as looped pile fabrics of manmade fibers under HTSUS 6001.22.00 (17.2% duty).

The products at issue are kits containing all the material needed (except a pair of scissors) to make a finished fleece throw and instructions on how to assemble it. They are imported already packaged and ready for retail sale. Most of the polyester fleece printed panels included in the kits depict a character or figure from a cartoon, comic book, children’s book or children’s movie.

The court states that heading 9503 is a principal use provision and that for a product to be classified as a toy under that heading its principal use must be for diversion, amusement or play. Further, the court adds, the principal use of a good (the kit) is tied to its condition and intended use at the time of importation (to produce a blanket) and not whatever it is designed to produce after importation. Although in this case the completed throw is durable and of high quality, the court states, the principal reason the ultimate purchaser would buy and use the kit is for the amusement and diversion of assembling the throw. The court adds that an examination of the Carborundum factors used to determine whether an article is of a specific “class or kind” supports this finding as well, noting among other things that the kits are designed and marketed as items of amusement and sell at a significant price premium to finished fleece throws.

The court rejects CBP’s argument that the principal use of the kits cannot be as a toy because the plaintiff is not a toy company and the kits are not sold in toy departments. The court also points out that CBP itself has previously classified as toys similar craft kits designed for children to create, produce or assemble articles, including sets for the production of utilitarian fabric items for the home such as quilts and pillows. “Implicit within all these rulings,” the court states, “is a finding that the practicality of the finished products is secondary to the play value of creating them, which is a mandatory requirement for classification as a toy.”

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