United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0951791 - HQ 0951875 > HQ 0951857

Previous Ruling Next Ruling



HQ 951857


August 14, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951857 KCC

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 9018.90.80

Area Director
U.S. Customs Service
Room 137
110 S. Fourth Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

RE: Protest No. 3501-91-100435; plastic tubing; GRI 1; Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary; catheter; part of catheter; 9018.39.00; 085088; 086015

Dear Sir:

This is in response to the Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3501-91-100435, dated November 12, 1991, which pertains to the tariff classification of plastic tubing under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

FACTS:

The articles under consideration are plastic tubing. Upon importation, the entries of the plastic tubing were liquidated under subheading 9018.90.80, HTSUS, which provides for "Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences...Other instruments and appliances and parts and accessories thereof...Other...Other."

The protestant, Worldwide Inc., contends that the plastic tubing is part of a catheter and, therefore, is properly classified under subheading 9018.39.00, HTSUS, which provides for "...Syringes, needles, catheters, cannulae and the like; parts and accessories thereof...." The protestant states that the plastic tubing contains luer lock connections that thread onto a catheter and that neither the plastic tubing nor the catheter are functional unless joined together. The protestant states that the catheter and the plastic tubing are used in conjunction with a subcutaneous port for direct injection of chemotherapy pharmaceuticals into the heart.

ISSUE:

Is the plastic tubing classified as part of a catheter under subheading 9018.39.00, HTSUS, or under subheading 9018.90.80, HTSUS, as other instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

The classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1, HTSUS, states in part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...."

Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary defines a catheter as "a tubular, flexible, surgical instrument for withdrawing fluids from (or introducing fluids into) a cavity of the body...." The protestant contends that the plastic tubing is part of a catheter. Generally, an article is a part if it:

1) must be combined with other articles to be used; or 2) must be an internal, constituent or component part, without which the article to which it is joined could not function; or
3) lends to the safe and efficient operation of the article; and
4) must be identifiable by shape or other characteristic as an article solely or principally used as a part.

Furthermore, an article is considered an accessory if it:

1) facilitates use or handling; or
2) widens the range of uses of the main article; or 3) improves the operation of the main article; or 4) is not needed to enable the goods with which it is used to fulfill its intended function; and
5) is identifiable as being intended solely or principally for use with a specific article.

Based on the information provided, the plastic tubing appears to be similar to a solution administration set which generally consists of plastic tubing and various attachments, such as connectors, injection sites, luer locks and clamps. In practice such tubing sets are attached to a fluid source at one end and to an indwelling catheter at the other end. The plastic tubing is not considered to be a part or accessory of a catheter for tariff purposes, as it is not identifiable as an article which is used solely or principally with a catheter. The plastic tubing can be used with various type of medical instruments which require a conduit though which blood or pharmaceuticals can flow and it is not identifiable as being solely or principally for use with a catheter. See, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 085088 dated March 12, 1990, which classified an I.V. Administration Set under subheading 9018.90.80, HTSUS. The set consisted of 48 inches of plastic tubing with an attached clamp. One end contained a drip chamber and spike and the other end contained a needle adapter with protective covering. The sets were used for the intravenous application of medication, blood serum, glucose solution, and sodium chloride solution.

We do not agree with the protestant's contention that HRL 086015 dated January 10, 1990, is a similar ruling for a catheter and, therefore, applicable in this situation. HRL 086015 classified a fistula needle set consisting of a 12 inch plastic tube fitted on one end with a 17 gauge stainless steel needle, needle guard and stabilizer, and fitted at the other end with a female luer fitting and protective cap under subheading 9018.39.00, HTSUS, as syringes, needles, catheters, cannulae and the like. By definition, the fistula needle set was determined to be similar to "needles, catheters, cannulae and the like...." The fistula needle set in HRL 086015 contained a needle or cannula used to penetrate the body and is readily distinguishable from the plastic tubing with luer lock at issue.
The plastic tubing is not considered a part or accessory of a catheter under subheading 9018.39.00, HTSUS, because it is not identifiable as being intended solely or principally for use with a catheter. The appropriate classification of the plastic tubing is under subheading 9018.90.80, HTSUS, as "Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental and veterinary sciences...Other instruments and appliances and parts and accessories thereof...Other...Other."

HOLDING:

The plastic tubing is properly classified under subheading 9018.90.80, HTSUS, which provides for "Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, including scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight- testing instruments; parts and accessories thereof...Other instruments and appliances and parts and accessories thereof...Other...Other."

This protest should be denied in full. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: