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 > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0955614 - HQ 0955729 > HQ 0955615

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 955615

January 24, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955615 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 9402.90.00

Ms. Tracy Ann Ehme
The A.W. Fenton Co., Inc.
1157 Rarig Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43219-2357

RE: Instrument stands; stand arms; HQ 954174; "furniture"; General EN to chapter 94; EN 94.02

Dear Ms. Ehme:

This is in response to your letters of December 8, 1993, on behalf of The R.H. Burton Co., requesting the classification of instrument stands and stand arms under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letters were referred to this office for a response.


The instrument stands consist of two models: BUR1100 and RHB3200. They are both used to hold ophthalmic equipment. They are made of metal and are designed to stand on the floor. Both models include control panels which are, according to information you have supplied, merely elaborate on/off switches to operate the lamp on top of the instrument stand and the various control arms.

The control arms consist of four models: BUR1010; BUR1040; RHB2010 and RHB3004. The RHB3004 and the BUR1040 are spring- balanced while the other two are not. You state that the arms are options that are designed to be used with the stands and have no other purpose. The arms hold either Keratometer or slit lamps for an eye examination.


Whether the instrument stands and stand arms, when imported separately, are classifiable as medical furniture or parts thereof under heading 9402, HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ." You contend that the articles in question are classifiable under heading 9402, HTSUS, which provides for "[m]edical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture (for example, operating tables, examination tables, hospital beds with mechanical fittings, dentists' chairs); . . . parts of the foregoing articles."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings.

In HQ 954174, dated November 23, 1993, Customs classified Ceiling Services Units as accessories for machines, appliances, instruments or apparatus of chapter 90, not specified or included elsewhere, under subheading 9033.00.00, HTSUS. These units were specially designed for use in hospital operating rooms and intensive care units. The units provided a single base for all necessary instrumentation, thus contributing to the effectiveness of that instrumentation. However, unlike the stands in question, the Ceiling Services Units are not "furniture," as that term is defined in the General EN to chapter 94.

General EN to chapter 94 states that for the purposes of this chapter, the term furniture is defined, in part, as follows:

Any 'movable' articles (not included under other more specific headings of the Nomenclature), which have the essential characteristic that they are constructed for placing on the floor or ground, and which are used, mainly with a utilitarian purpose, to equip . . . laboratories, hospitals, dentists' surgeries, etc. . . . [emphasis in original].

The stands in question meet this above definition and are considered "furniture" for tariff purposes.

While the instrument stands are not specifically mentioned in EN 94.02, pg. 1576-7, the note states that the medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture of heading 9402, HTSUS, "is restricted to furniture of a type specially designed for medical, surgical, dental or veterinary use; furniture for - 3 -
general use not having such characteristics is therefore excluded [emphasis in original]." The instrument stands in question are specially designed for use with ophthalmic equipment. Accordingly, the stands are classifiable under heading 9402, HTSUS.

With regard to the classification of the stand arms, the General EN to chapter 94 states that the chapter covers parts "of the goods of headings 94.01 to 94.03 and 94.05, when identifiable by their shape or other specific features as parts designed solely or principally for an article of those headings. They are classified in this Chapter when not more specifically covered elsewhere." The stand arms in question are used solely with the instrument stands which were found to be classifiable under heading 9402, HTSUS. As such, the stand arms, when imported separately, are also classifiable under heading 9402, HTSUS.


The instrument stands and stand arms, when imported separately, are classifiable under subheading 9402.90.00, HTSUS. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 5.3% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: