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HQ 082222

October 31, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082222 JMH


TARIFF NO.: 9027.20.40

Mia Yoo
Product Manager
Bioscan, Inc.
4590 MacArthur Blvd., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

RE: Electrophoresis equipment from Great Britain

Dear Ms. Yoo:

Your letter of March 25, 1988, requesting a classification ruling for electrophoresis equipment has been referred to this office for a reply.


The merchandise in question is electrophoresis equipment imported from Great Britain. Electrophoresis is the "migration of electrically charged particles in solution or suspension in the presence of an applied electric field. Each particle moves toward the electrode of opposite electrical polarity." McGraw- Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, Vol. 3, p. 238 (6th Ed. 1987). Electrophoresis instruments perform this migration of particles. Two such instruments are being imported.

The first apparatus is the Mini-Vertical Electrophoresis System . This system is supplied complete with a gel bed, a pair of buffer plates, a sample comb, a silicon rubber tubing gasket, a safety hood with incorporated power cords, two jubilee clips and an instruction manual. It can run up to ten samples in both agarose or acrylamide gels with a gel format of 80mm x 60mm. It is said to be ideal for proteins and DNA separation.

The second instrument is the Mini-Gel Electrophoresis System. This apparatus has been developed for preparative and analytical DNA research, as well as for use in a conventional electrophoresis mode. It comes complete with two of each four, eight, and sixteen teeth combs, two buffer plates and an instruction manual. It has the capacity to run one or two gels.

The importer states that the equipment "is scientific instrumentation and will be used only in research..."


Under which heading of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA) should the Mini-Vertical Electrophoresis System and the Mini-Gel Electrophoresis System be classified?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 states in part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes..." The relevant heading for classification is 9027, HTSUSA.

Heading 9027 describes "Instruments and apparatus for physical or chemical analysis...parts and accessories thereof..." The importer's instructions on the use of the Mini-Vertical and Mini-Gel Electrophoresis Systems state that the devices are for analysis.

The classification of these items is determined by the use to which the instruments are put. In a situation where there is more than one use, the principal use determines the classification. Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation 1, HTSUSA. The electrophoresis systems in question have both preparative and analytical functions. However, the minute amounts of substances involved in the use of these instruments are most useful in an analytical process.

It is the opinion of this office that the equipment in question is for use in a "physical or chemical analysis". The proper classification for the Mini-Vertical Electrophoresis System and the Mini-Gel Electrophoresis System is within heading 9027, HTSUSA.


The Mini-Vertical Electrophoresis System and the Mini-Gel Electrophoresis System are classifiable under heading 9027.20.40, HTSUSA. The rate of duty is 4.9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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