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HQ 950796

January 23, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 950796 EAB


TARIFF NO.: 2833.27.0000

Lawrence R. Pilon, Esquire
Hodes & Pilon
33 North Dearborn Street, Suite 2204
Chicago, Illinois 60602-3109

RE: Radiopaque cord

Dear Mr. Pilon:

This is in reply to your letter dated July 10, 1991 on behalf of Medline Industries, Inc., in which you request a binding ruling on the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of radiopaque cord.


Customs New York laboratory has analyzed a sample of the cord and reports that it is a composite material consisting of 63% barium sulfate, 18% plasticizer and 19% polyvinyl chloride plastic. A small amount of pigment imparts a blue color to the outside of the filament, which is otherwise white in color.

The cord will be used by your client in the manufacture of textile or other non-metallic items such as surgical towels and laparotomy sponges used by health care professionals. The presence of the radiopaque cord in such items enables them to be detected by x-rays if they remain in the patient following closure.

You suggest classification under subheading 9022.90.60, HTSUSA, a provision describing parts and accessories of an apparatus based on the use of x-rays.


What is the proper tariff classification under the HTSUSA of radiopaque cord used in the manufacture of surgical towels and laparotomy sponges used by health care professionals?


Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUSA. The tariff classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUSA and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

We disagree with your position that the radiopaque cord is a part of an apparatus based on the use of x-rays. The cord is used by your client in the manufacture of surgical towels and laparotomy sponges. Since neither of those items is a part of an x-ray apparatus, we do not believe that the radiopaque cord is such a part.

GRI 2(b) provides in part that any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances, and that the classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of GRI 3.

GRI 3(b) provides in part that composite goods shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.

In powdered form, nontoxic barium sulfate from which all soluble barium compounds have been removed is widely used as an opaque medium for radiography of the gastrointestinal tract, Hampel and Hawley, The Encyclopedia of Chemistry, 3d Edition.

Clearly, the subject merchandise is manufactured by your client specifically to take advantage of the radiographic applications of barium sulfate. We are of the opinion that it is the barium sulfate in the cord, which is characterized as radiopaque, that imparts the essential character to the composite. Pursuant to GRI 3(b), we are of the opinion that the merchandise is classifiable under subheading 2833.27, HTSUSA, as a sulfate of barium.


Radiopaque cord containing 63% barium sulfate is classifiable under subheading 2833.27.0000, HTSUSA, a provision for sulfates; other sulfates: of barium. Merchandise classified under this subheading is subject to a general column one duty rate of 0.4 per kilogram.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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