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HQ 951060

May 22, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 951060 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 8214.10.00

Mr. Vincent A. Sommella
Capital Customs Brokers, Inc.
P. O. Box 30942
J.F.K. Airport Station
Jamaica, NY 11430

RE: Plastic Letter Opener with Metal Cutting Blade

Dear Mr. Sommella:

This is in reference to your letter of January 17, 1992, requesting a binding ruling on a plastic letter opener. You suggested that the article should be classified under subheading 3926.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for office or school supplies of plastics.


The article under consideration is a flat piece of plastic in the shape of an oval with its ends cut off. It is 2 3/4 inches wide at its maximum width and 1 3/4 inches wide at its narrowest width. It is 3 inches in height and is 1/8 inch thick. There is a slit at the bottom of the plastic piece. A metal cutting blade is present in such slit. The blade fits into an appendage to the plastic piece which runs parallel thereto. The appendage, which is a part of the plastic piece at one end and is open at the other end, has a point at the open end thereof. When utilized the appendage fits under the flap of a sealed envelope and guides the metal cutting blade through the envelope when the user moves it in a motion parallel thereto, thus cutting the envelope open. The article serves as a letter opener. There is a flat magnet glued on the back of the plastic piece which permits the article to be held on a metal surface. The article will have a company name or a product name printed thereon and will serve as an advertising promotional item.


What is the classification of a plastic letter opener with a metal cutting blade?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

The article under consideration is designed for the purpose of opening envelopes in a safe and efficient manner. It contains a metal blade which is so situated that it cuts the flap of the envelope in a safe manner and without endangering its user.

In considering the proper classification for this product we noted that it is primarily composed of plastic and that it and similar products may used in schools and offices. Classification under subheading 3926.10.00, HTSUSA, as suggested by the inquirer would, therefore, appear to be possible. We, however, noted that subheading 8214.10.00, HTSUSA, specifically provides for letter openers and that such term fully describes the primary, if not sole, function of the subject article. We further noted that Note 1 to Chapter 82, HTSUSA, specifies that this chapter covers articles with a blade.


The subject plastic letter opener with an integral metal cutting blade is classifiable under subheading 8214.10.00, HTSUSA, and is subject to a general rate of duty of .4 each plus 6.1 per cent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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