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HQ 089876

October 23, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 089876 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 9018.39.00; 9018.90.80

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
127 North Water Street
Ogdensburg, NY 13669

RE: Blood Lancets; Protest No. 0712-91-000426; NY 850301

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 0712-91-000426, dated April 10, 1991, concerning your action in classifying and assessing duty on blood lancets under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The subject disposable lancet is a pointed, metal shaft embedded in a plastic handle. A flat cap is provided for safe disposal. While the shape of the lancet may look very similar to a common needle, it is also very different. The shaft of the lancet is round, the point is not. Three facets have been cut on the point, thus creating secondary edges in addition to the two standard side edges. The lancet is designed to make an incision that is small in depth but at the same time to cut as many blood vessels as possible to draw a sufficient amount of blood for testing. The lancet is almost exclusively used by diabetic patients for puncturing the skin to draw blood for blood-sugar analysis.


What is the proper classification of blood lancets under the HTSUSA?


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

The merchandise was entered under subheading 9018.39.00, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[s]yringes, needles, catheters, cannulae and the like: [o]ther." However, the merchandise was liquidated under subheading 9018.90.80, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[i]nstruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences: [o]ther instruments and appliances and parts and accessories thereof: [o]ther: [o]ther."

This identical issue was ruled upon in HQ 089874, dated September 19, 1991, in which a similar lancet was classified under subheading 9018.39.00, HTSUSA. In that ruling, it was stated that "[e]ven though counsel is incorrect in stating that lancets are needles, he is correct in stating that lancets are sufficiently 'like' needles for tariff classification purposes." In a telephone conversation with Dr. Joyce L. Hayman, of the Diabetes Treatment Center at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C., concerning the merchandise in HQ 089874, she stated that "it is accepted in the medical profession that lancets are 'like' needles."

In support of your contention that the lancet is classifiable under subheading 9018.90.80, HTSUSA, you have cited NY 850301, dated March 26, 1991. In that case, a blood sampling lancet was classified under subheading 9018.90.80, HTSUSA. The merchandise which was the subject of NY 850301 is very similar to the subject lancet, except the lancet was imported with a barrel and a plunger. According to that ruling, "[w]hen the barrel is placed against the finger and the plunger is pushed in, the sharp metal tip protrudes by about 1/16th of an inch out of the barrel and perforates the skin." NY 850301 is distinguishable from this case because only the lancet is imported; a barrel and a plunger are not involved.


The subject blood lancet is classifiable under subheading 9018.39.00, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[s]yringes, needles, catheters, cannulae and the like: [o]ther." The protest should be granted. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and mailed to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division?

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