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HQ 087428

August 9, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087428 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 9614.20.4000

Mr. Charles Silvestro
Douwe Egberts Van Nelle Inc.
Two Stamford Landing
62 Southfield Ave
Stamford, CT 06902

RE: Pipe and Tobacco Set

Dear Mr. Silvestro:

This letter is in response to your inquiry, dated May 24, 1990, requesting the tariff classification of a pipe and tobacco combination under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Two samples were included along with your request.


The sample merchandise consists of two packages. Package A contains a "Tattoo" smoking pipe with a body and stem of plastic and a bowl of briar wood, a pipe tamper made of anodized iron, and 25g of "Cube Tattoo" pipe tobacco in a plastic container. All of the articles are contained in a blister package for retail sale.

Package B contains a "Tattoo" smoking pipe with a body and stem of plastic and a bowl of briar wood, a pipe tamper made of anodized iron, 25g of "Cube Tattoo" pipe tobacco in a plastic container, and a pipe glove made of calfskin leather with the logo "Tattoo" printed on it. All of the articles are put up for retail sale and contained in a cardboard box with a clear plastic display window in front.

Based on information furnished by the importer, a breakdown of the component articles by value reveals that the pipe is worth $5.00, the 25g of tobacco is worth $1.20, the pipe tamper is worth $0.50, and the leather pipe glove is worth $1.20.


Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable as a set for tariff purposes?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

GRI 3(b) provides for the classification of goods put up in sets for retail sale. The rule states in pertinent part the following:

[G]oods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) [which requires that goods be classified, if possible, under the more specific of competing provisions], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. Explanatory Note (X) to GRI 3(b) states that the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" means goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

The instant merchandise meets all three of the above requirements. First, the articles in the unit are classifiable in separate headings: the pipe is classifiable in Heading 9614, HTSUSA; the pipe tobacco is classifiable in Heading 2403, HTSUSA; the pipe tamper is classifiable in Heading 8205, HTSUSA; and the leather pipe glove is classifiable in Heading 4202, HTSUSA. Second, all of the components in the unit are used together for the purpose of carrying out a specific activity. Each article contributes to the primary activity of smoking a pipe. Finally, the articles are being sold directly to consumers, and they are packaged in such a way that they do not need to be repacked. Thus, the pipe and tobacco unit clearly comprises a "set" within the meaning of GRI 3(b).

Sets, when not specifically provided for, are classified according to the component, or components taken together, which can be regarded as imparting the essential character of the set as a whole. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) provides that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the instant case, the essential character of the pipe and tobacco unit is clearly imparted by the pipe. The pipe performs the primary function of the entire unit. The other articles included in the set such as the pipe tamper and tobacco, are merely intended to facilitate the act of smoking a pipe. Moreover, based on a breakdown of the component materials by value, the pipe is worth more than twice the value of any other article in the set. Accordingly, it is the position of this office that the pipe and tobacco set should be classified in Heading 9614, HTSUSA, which provides for pipes or pipe bowls: of wood or root.

This ruling involves the classification of goods under the HTS only. We are unable to issue a ruling as to the product's admissibility under 21 U.S.C. 857, The Drug Paraphernalia Act. That determination will be made at the time of importation.


The pipe and tobacco set is classifiable in subheading 9614.20.4000, HTSUSA, which provides for pipes and pipe bowls: of wood or root. Articles classified under this subheading are subject to a rate of duty of 0.5 cents each plus 4 percent ad valorem. The pipe tobacco is subject to a Federal Excise Tax pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 5701 of $0.45 per pound.

The foregoing ruling reflects our position on the tariff classification of the sample merchandise under the HTS. However, no determination on the admissibility of this item under the Drug Paraphernalia Act is made at this time.


John Durant, Director

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