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HQ 555993

June 24, 1991
CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 555993 SER


TARIFF NO.: 9021.30.00, 9817.00.96

Area Director of Customs
110 S. 4th Street
Room 137
Minneapolis, MN 55401

RE: Protest No. 3501-1-000021, contesting denial of duty-free treatment for parts of artificial body parts and accessories under heading 9817, HTSUSA; Nairobi Protocol

Dear Sir:

The above-referenced protest, filed by North Star World Trade Services, Inc. on behalf of Daw Industries, Inc., contests the assessment of duties by your office on parts of artificial body parts and accessories under subheading 9021.30.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue are parts or accessories for prosthetic devices designed for amputees. Examples of these articles are: knee connectors, knee disarticulation brackets, removable adaptors, and plastic plates.

Protestant claims that these items are eligible for duty- free treatment under subheading 9817.00.96, HTSUSA, which provides, in pertinent part, for "duty-free treatment for articles specially designed or adapted for the use or benefit of the handicapped."


Whether parts and accessories of prosthetic articles are eligible for duty-free treatment under subheading 9817.00.96, HTSUSA.


Presidential Proclamation 5978 and section 1121 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 provided for the implementation of the Nairobi Protocol to the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Materials (Florence Agreement) into the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Included in this agreement is the duty-free treatment of certain articles for the handicapped, which is provided for in heading 9817, HTSUSA. This heading specifically states that "articles specially designed or adapted for the use or benefit of the blind or other physically or mentally handicapped persons" are eligible for duty-free treatment.

U.S. Note 1, Chapter 98, HTSUSA, which covers the special classification provisions, states:

The provisions of this chapter are not subject to the rule of specificity in general rule of interpretation 3(a). Any article which is described in any provision in this chapter is classifiable in said provision if the conditions and requirements thereof and of any applicable regulations are met. (emphasis added)

Customs has previously ruled that subheading 9817.00.96, HTSUSA, provides duty-free treatment to "articles" and not to "parts" or "accessories" of articles. See, Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRLs) 086303 dated February 13, 1990, and 087559 dated October 9, 1990. The conclusions reached in these rulings were simply a restatement of the well established principle of Customs law, reiterated by the courts, "that a tariff provision which does not specifically provide for parts does not include them." Glass Products, Inc. v. United States, 10 CIT 253, 255 (1986).

The protestant offers no arguments to counter Customs position that the imported items are "parts" of articles for the handicapped. Furthermore, on the International Trade Administration form 362P (ITA-362p) which is required for all entries under subheading 9817.00.96, HTSUSA, the protestant declared these items were properly classifiable in subheading 9817.00.96, HTSUSA, and in the alternative in subheading 9021.30.00, which provides for other artificial parts of the body and parts and accessories thereof.

The imported items, as parts of prosthetic devices, do not meet the requirements of subheading 9817.00.96, HTSUSA, and, therefore, are precluded from classification in this subheading. n


The merchandise at issue is properly classified in subheading 9021.30.00, HTSUSA, which provides for other artificial parts of the body and parts and accessories thereof. As "parts", these items are ineligible for classification in subheading 9817.00.96, HTSUSA. Accordingly, you should deny this protest in full. A copy of this decision should be attached to Form 19 to be returned to the protestant.


John Durant, Director

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