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HQ 087432

October 2, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087432 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 9603.90.8050

F.S. Dickson
The American Import Company
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-2577

RE: Pistol Cleaning Kit

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your letter of June 18, 1990 requesting the tariff classification of a pistol cleaning kit, imported from Taiwan. An illustration of the merchandise was submitted for our examination.


The pistol cleaning kit is comprised of the following:

1 Plastic Grip and cover with belt
1 Base steel bar with bronze joint and muzzle protector
1 Extension bar
1 Bronze bit
1 Phosphor bronze brush
1 Cotton bristle

The pistol cleaning kit is designed to clean out a pistol.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be affected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note (X) to GRI 3(b) states that the term "goods put 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;

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

In the instant case, the pistol cleaning kit qualifies as a set within the meaning of GRI 3(b). The kit consists of at least two different articles which are classifiable in different headings. The kit contains products which are put up together to carry out the activity of cleaning a pistol. The kit is put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

Since the pistol cleaning kit is a set we must determine the essential character of the kit in accordance with GRI 3(b). Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states 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 this case, the component which gives the kit its essential character is not readily apparent. Each part in the kit plays a role in the cleaning of the pistol. No single item imparts a unique character to the function of the kit, as a whole, and, moreover, none of the factors given above prove determinative in any respect.

When, as in the instant case, the component which gives the goods at issue their essential character cannot be determined, classification is determined by utilizing GRI 3(c). GRI 3(c) provides the following:

(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The competing headings for the pistol cleaning set are as follows:

Plastic grip 3926.90.25, which provides for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914, other, handles and knobs, not elsewhere specified or included, of plastics.

Base Steel bar 8205.59.55, which provides for Extension bar other handtools and parts thereof, other, other

Bronze Bit 8205.59.60, which provides for other handtools and parts thereof, other, of copper

Phosphor Bronze 9603.90.8050, which provides for Brush brushes (including brushes constituting parts of machines, appliances or vehicles) other, other, other.

Cotton bristle 1403.90.40, which provides for vegetable materials of a kind used primarily in brooms or in brushes, other, other.

Applying GRI 3(c), the pistol cleaning kit is classifiable in Heading 9603, HTSUSA, which appears last in numerical order among the above competing headings which equally merit consideration.


The pistol cleaning kit is classifiable in subheading 9603.90.8050, HTSUSA, which provides for brushes, other, other. The rate of duty is 5.6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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