United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0083453 - HQ 0083562 > HQ 0083492

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 083492

November 8, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083492 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 9018.31.00

Mr. J. M. Abrahams
Phil Patterson Corporation
Rm. 16, Airport Terminal Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50321

RE: Intra-rumenal injector for cattle deworming

Dear Mr. Abrahams:

This is in reply to your letter of December 19, 1988, on behalf of Syntex Agribusiness, Inc., regarding classification of the synanthic rumen injector for deworming cattle, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The rumen is the first of four stomachs of cattle. The rumen injector is a high-impact plastic shell housing a syringe. The syringe contains a plunger which is visible through the windows on both sides of the injector. There is a large spring, also visible through the window, which pushes the needle into the rumen and injects a predetermined dose of dewormer through the syringe.


What is the classification of a rumen injector for deworming cattle under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Chapter 90 provides for Medical or surgical instruments and apparatus. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part:

...classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...

Heading 9018 provides for:

Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences....

The Harmonized Commodity Description and coding System, Explanatory Notes to Section XVIII, page 1487, state:

This heading covers a very wide range of instruments and appliances which, in the vast majority of cases, are used only in professional practice (e.g., by doctors, surgeons, dentists, veterinary surgeons, midwives), either to make a diagnosis, to prevent or treat an illness or to operate, etc. (Emphasis added).

The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, should be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA. See 54 Fed. Reg. 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Since this chapter provides for the highly regulated area of human medical instruments and appliances, as well as items used in veterinary medicine, there can be no question that the vast majority of articles provided for here are used only in professional practice by doctors.

However, this Note does not exclude some items that may be used by other than licensed professionals. Additionally, in the area of veterinary medicine, it is difficult to determine who is going to utilize the merchandise at issue since it is frequently not cost-effective for farmers to extensively use licensed veterinarians, for example, merely to inject cattle with dewormer. Currently, farmers are frequently inoculating, diagnosing, and treating their own livestock, and in the process, are practicing veterinary science.

It is Customs position that it is the nature of the instrument or appliance that would determine classification here. Thus, to be classifiable in chapter 90, the instrument does not have to be principally used by licensed veterinarians, however, it must be used principally in veterinary science.

Clearly, the rumen injector is used in veterinary science and is therefore classifiable under subheading 9018.31.00, HTSUSA, which provides for syringes, needles, catheters, cannulae and the like.

Subheading 9817.00.50, HTSUSA, provides for the duty-free entry of machinery, equipment and implements to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes. This is an actual use provision. Notwithstanding the existence of a competing provision or provisions in the HTSUSA, articles are eligible for classification in subheading 9817.00.50 if the conditions and requirements thereof and any applicable regulations are met. The rumen injector is an implement to be used for a recognized agricultural or horticultural purpose.


The rumen injector is classifiable under the provision for syringes in subheading 9018.31.00, HTSUSA. The rate of duty is 8.4% ad valorem. It is, however, eligible for duty-free entry in subheading 9817.00.50 for the reasons stated above.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: