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 > 1992 HQ Rulings > HQ 0734443 - HQ 0950036 > HQ 0950032

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 950032

October 30, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950032 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 8205.59.80

Mr. Alan Clements
Ben Clements & Sons, Inc.
50 Ruta Court
South Hackensack, N.J. 07606

RE: Tagging guns; Handtools; Subheading 8479.89.90; Heading 8205; H. Conf. Rep. No. 576; item 678.50, TSUS; Clipper Belt Lacer Co., Inc. v. U.S.; Brookside Veneers, LTD v. U.S.; Austin Chem. Co. v. U.S.; Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary; Bar Zel Expediters, Inc., a/c Ben Clements & Sons, Inc., v. U.S.

Dear Mr. Clements:

Your letter of June 20, 1991, regarding the classification of tagging guns under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), has been forwarded to this office for reply.


The articles at issue are pistol grip tagging guns. They have a spring operated trigger mechanism for attaching hang tags to garments. They are made of a plastic housing with steel springs and a replaceable steel needle. Strips of plastic barbs are inserted into the gun and "shot" through the garment material by the needle's penetration.


Whether the subject guns are properly classifiable within subheading 8479.89.90, HTSUSA, which provides for other machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions not specified or included elsewhere in this
chapter; or classifiable within subheading 8205.59.80, HTSUSA, which provides for handtools not elsewhere specified or included.


Classification under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter notes.

Heading 8205, HTSUSA, provides for handtools which are not elsewhere specified or included. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) state that this heading includes miscellaneous hand- tools such as spring operated "pistols" for stapling packages, paperboard, etc. ENs 82.05. While the ENs are not dispositive, they provide a commentary on the scope of each heading and offer guidance for interpretation of the HTSUSA. H. Conf. Rep. No. 576, 100th Cong., 2d Sess., p. 549, reprinted in 1988 U.S. CODE CONG. & ADMIN. NEWS p. 1582.
The subject tagging guns satisfy the above description. They are a pistol with a spring operated trigger. While they are not used for stapling packages or paperboard, they are sufficiently similar to be within the ambit of ENs. Accord- ingly, we find the above ENs instructive for determining that the subject guns satisfy the terms of heading 8205, HTSUSA. More specifically, they are provided for within subheading 8205.59.80, HTSUSA, as "other" handtools.

You state that the subject guns were classified under item 678.50, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), which provides for other machines not specially provided for. Decisions under the TSUS are not dispositive in interpreting the HTSUSA. However, on a case-by-case basis they should be considered instructive in interpreting the HTSUSA, particular -ly where the nomenclature previously interpreted in those decisions remains unchanged and no dissimilar interpretation is required by the text of the HTSUSA. H. Conf. Rep. No. 576, p. 550. In this instance, a dissimilar interpretation is indicated by the ENs, which state that spring operated pistols are classifiable as handtools. Therefore, we do not find the previous decision under the TSUS instructive in this case.

You argue that the subject guns are not referred to as tools in your advertising literature, and should not be classified as such. The Court of International Trade has
stated that promotional literature is not determinative for classification purposes. Clipper Belt Lacer Co., Inc. v. United States, No. 90-22, slip op. at 22 (CIT May 13, 1990). As stated previously, classification is determined first by the terms of the headings. Since the term "tool" is not defined in the HTSUSA, it is presumed that Congress intended to apply its common and commercial meaning. Brookside Veneers, LTD v. United States, 847 F. 2d 789 (1988). To ascertain the common and commerciaL meaning of a term, dictionaries and other lexicographic authorities may be consulted. Austin Chem. Co. v. United States, 835 F. 2d 1423 (Fed. Cir. 1987). A tool is described as "[a] hand-held implement, as a hammer, saw, or drill, used in accomplishing work." Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary, p. 1217 (1984). The subject gun satisfies this description. They are hand-held implements used to accomplish the work of attaching tags to garments. Accordingly, we do not agree with your assertion that the subject guns are not tools.

You cite to Bar Zel Expediters, Inc., a/c Ben Clements & Sons, Inc., v. United States, 3 CIT 84 (1983), in support of your claimed classification. This case dealt with the classification of plastic fasteners used in a "gun". It did not address the classification of the "gun". Therefore, this case does not support the classification of the subject guns within heading 8479, HTSUSA.


The subject tagging guns are classifiable within subheading 8205.59.80, HTSUSA, which provides for handtools dutiable at the General Column 1 rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: