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HQ 951341

June 5, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F: 951341 ALS


TARIFF No.: 9705.00.0090

Ms. Mary Ann MacKay
Senior Manager
International Business Liaison, Corp.
505 E. Huron, Suite 503
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

RE: Natural Bone Human Skeletons

Dear Ms. MacKay:

This is reference to your letter of February 12, 1992, to our New York Seaport Area office requesting a ruling on natural bone human skeletons which will be sold to medical schools and chiropractors for educational purposes.


The articles under consideration are fully assembled human skeletons which will be displayed and used by medical schools and chiropractors for educational purposes. The bones will not be dissected or otherwise adulterated.


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relevant 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.

In reviewing the facts in this case, we found 3 possible headings in the HTSUSA which could apply to natural bone human skeletons. We specifically noted heading 0506 which covers bones and horn-cores, etc., heading 3001 which covers glands and other organs for organotherapeutic uses, etc. and heading 9705 which covers collections and collectors' pieces of...anatomical... interest.

In considering heading 0506 we noted that such provision falls in Chapter 5, HTSUSA, which generally deals with products of animal origin. While one subheading of that chapter provides for human hair and the bones provision does not specify whether in relates to human or animal bones, we believe it is appropriate to conclude that the referenced bones are animal bones. In this regard we noted that both the title of the chapter and most of its provisions were animal related. Based thereon, we have concluded that the article should be elsewhere classified.

In considering heading 3001 we noted that such provision covers glands and other organs as well as other human substances. We also noted that such heading specified that the items are to be used for organotherapeutic purposes. In analyzing the information you provided in your letter and in a recent telephonic discussion, we understand that the skeletons will only be used for display/education purposes and that they will not be used for organotherapeutic purposes, i.e., grafting or implantation. Accordingly, we have concluded that it is not appropriate to classify the skeleton under heading 3001.

We next considered heading 9705. Since, as previously noted, this heading deals with collections and collectors' pieces it did not initially appear appropriate to classify the skeletons thereunder. Upon further analysis we noted that the heading covers, among other things, items of anatomical interest. We consulted the Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized System which represents the opinion of the international classification experts. The introductory sentence to EN 97.05, which is the relative note for this heading, specifies that these articles in such are very often of little intrinsic value but derive their interest from rarity, their grouping or their presentation. While this tends to indicate that human skeleton's would not be included under this heading, EN 97.05 specifies that the heading includes "(A)(5) Osteological specimens (skeletons, skulls, bones)." Heading 9705 thus appears to be the most specific of the headings considered and the heading that should be applied to this article.


Human skeletons of natural bone which are imported fully assembled and are to be only used for educational purposes at medical and chiropractic schools are classifiable under subheading 9705.00.0090, HTSUSA, and are subject to a free rate of duty regardless of their country of origin.

Importation of human skeletons may be subject to the import regulations administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You may wish to address an inquiry to that Agency at the following location:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Division of Regulatory Guidance
HFF 314, 200 C Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20204


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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