Background

In the Aug. 17, 2022, Customs Bulletin and Decisions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is proposing to reclassify musical candleholders packaged with wax birthday candles under HTSUS 9505.90.4000 (duty free) rather than as candles, tapers, and the like under HTSUS 3406.00.00 (duty free).

The items at issue are two different components packaged together in a blister package: a musical candleholder and wax birthday candles. The battery powered musical candleholder component is designed to hold a single birthday candle on top of a birthday cake while playing the “Happy Birthday” song. It is activated by holding the base and turning a silver metallic band around its neck clockwise. The music is stopped by turning the band counterclockwise. It is also intended for reuse with candle refills.

CBP notes that these products meet all three criteria to be considered goods put up in sets for retail sale under GRI 3(b): (a) the set consists of articles classifiable in different headings, (b) the set consists of articles put together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, namely to decorate and illuminate a birthday cake and celebrate the festive occasion of one’s birthday, and (c) the articles are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking, namely both the candles and candleholder are packaged together in a blister pack for retail sale. Classification must therefore be made according to the component or components taken together that can be regarded as conferring on the set as a whole its essential character.

CBP states that while no cost breakdown was indicated, the battery powered musical candleholder would likely be more expensive than the wax birthday candles with which it is packaged. Moreover, a consumer would choose to purchase the packaged set for the musical feature of the candleholder, not merely for the candles or even for the candleholder’s utilitarian function of holding a single candle. CBP is therefore of the opinion that the musical candleholder component of the packaged set imparts the essential character.

CBP further states that the musical candleholder satisfies the two-prong test set forth for festive articles in Midwest and Park B. Smith Ltd.: (1) it is closely associated with birthdays, which the Court of International Trade has recognized as a festive occasion for purposes of classification in heading 9505, and (2) it is principally used during birthday celebrations and is closely associated with birthday festivities where guests sing the “Happy Birthday” song in unison to fete the individual celebrating a birthday.

Rulings D84817 and D85291 would be modified to reflect this change. Comments on this proposal are due no later than Sept. 16.

For more information on classification issues, please contact Deb Stern at (305) 894-1007. 

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