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HQ 958471

November 17, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 958471 RH


TARIFF NO.: 8413.91.9080

Mr. Gordon Giles
Director of Purchasing
Medela, Inc.
P.O. Box 660
McHenry, IL 60051-0660

RE: Request for Reconsideration of DD 813534; Breast Pump Housing; Heading 4202; Heading 8413; Heading 9018

Dear Mr. Giles:

This is in reply to your letter of September 26, 1995, asking us to review District Decision (DD) 813534, dated August 29, 1995, concerning the classification of a housing for a breast pump.

You met with members of my staff on February 5, 1996, and May 27, 1998, to discuss the issues in this case and to demonstrate the function of the breast pump housing. We apologize for the delay in responding to your request.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of DD 813534 was published on October 7, 1998, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 32, Number 40.


The article under consideration is a housing for a portable breast pump. It is constructed of PVC sponge material and is approximately 13 inches by 13 inches by 5 inches. The housing is manufactured in Hong Kong. The remaining components (breast pump, motor, etc. ) will be assembled into the bag in the United States. The bag is designed specifically as a housing or casing for an electrical breast pump motor and related accessories. The housing has an opening and cutouts in the front to allow for the front plate of the pump. Mounted to the housing is a pump front plate with hose nipples to which the hoses and breast suction cups are attached. These components are inconspicuously concealed within the housing by a zippered closure. The pump will be glued into the housing. The bag has a shoulder strap for easy carrying and storage compartments for spare bottles, suction cups and hoses. It also has insulated storage for milk and ice blocks. The importer states that Medela cannot sell the pump if it is not contained within the housing because the exposed electrical components would be hazardous.

In DD 813534, Customs classified the housing under subheading 4202.92.9040 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides, in part, for trunks, suitcases, briefcases, camera cases, handbags, tool bags, jewelry boxes and similar containers with outer surface of sheeting of plastic.

You contend that the breast pump housing should be classified under Chapter 90, HTSUSA, as an accessory to a medical device, or under Chapter 84, HTSUSA, as an accessory to a pump.


Is the breast pump housing classifiable under heading 4202, HTSUSA, as a "similar container" with outer surface of sheeting of plastic; under heading 9018, HTSUSA, as an accessory to a medical device; or under heading 8413, HTSUSA, as an accessory to a pump?


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

The first heading we consider is 9018 which encompasses "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." The EN to heading 9018 state that:

This heading covers a very wide range of instruments and appliances which, in the vast majority of cases, are used only in professional practice (e.g., by doctors, surgeons, dentists, veterinary surgeons, midwives), either to make a diagnosis, to prevent or treat an illness or to operate, etc.

The EN also list numerous exemplars of the type of medical instruments and appliances which are classifiable under heading 9018, HTSUSA, including needles, surgical knives, catheters, suction tubes, syringes, intratracheal tubes, intubation tubes, blood transfusion apparatus. In this case, the breast pump housing is designed and intended for use by nursing mothers in the home, at work or on travel. Thus, we do not consider it to be medical instruments and appliances under heading 9018.

Another heading under consideration is 4202. In DD 813534, Customs classified the housing in question under subheading 4202.92.9040, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for trunks, suitcases, briefcases, camera cases, handbags, tool bags, jewelry boxes and similar containers with outer surface of sheeting of plastic. You assert that the housing is not like any item in heading 4202, and that it cannot be used as a "plain bag" or "case" but only as a part of the breast pump. You further state that upon assembly in the United States, the internal motor, the front plate and other components will be permanently assembled within the housing with strips of VELCRO reinforced with silicone glue to assure that the motor is not easily removable. Moreover, you demonstrated during the meeting that the motor must be permanently assembled within the housing as a protection against electrical shock in accordance with Underwriters Laboratories regulations.

Before we determine if the housing was correctly classified in heading 4202 in DD 8 13534, we will explore its classification as a part of a pump in heading 8413. That heading provides for "Pumps for liquids, whether or not fitted with a measuring device; liquid elevators; part thereof." It is Customs position that articles which are identifiable as parts of machines or apparatus of Chapters 84 and 85 are classifiable in accordance with Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUSA. Specifically, Note 2(b) covers parts that are provided for in the same heading as the machine or apparatus with which they are solely or principally used. However, for Note 2(b) to be applicable, the status of an article as a part must first be established.

In New York Ruling Letter (NY) 818324, dated February 15, 1996, Customs classified one of your company's casings and/or housings used to house a mini motor breast pump under subheading 8413.91.9080, as other parts of other liquid pumps. In that case, the housing had a small box-like shape with a zipper-closed upper opening and cutouts in the front to allow for the front plate of the pump. It was designed to internally contain a small, battery powered air vacuum pump as well as the battery holder. Mounted on the outside of the housing was a pump front plate which contained the on/off switch and hose nipples to which the air hoses and breast suction cup were attached. The components in that case were not removable. That housing was only large enough to hold the pump and had no additional compartments. You advised us that the pump in question operates similarly to the mini breast pump in NY 818324, which Customs classified under heading 8413.

Originally, in order for an item to be classified as a "part" of an article, that item must have been "something necessary to the completion of that article ... [and] an integral, constituent, or component part, without which the article to which it is to be joined, could not function as such article." United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores. Inc., 21 CCPA 322, 324, T.D. 46, 51 (1933), cert. denied, 292 U.S. 640 (1934); United States v. Antonio Pompeo, 43 CCPA 9,11, C.A.D. 602 (1955). This rule has been somewhat modified so that a device may be considered a 'part' of an article even though the device is not necessary to the operation of the article, provided that once the device is installed the article cannot function properly without it. Clipper Belt Lacer Co.. Inc. v. United States, 14 CIT 146, 738 F. Supp 528 (1990). In order to meet this standard, the device must be dedicated for use with the article. See Beacon Cycle & Supply Co., Inc. v. United States, 81 Cust. Ct. 46, 50-51, C.D. 4764, 458 F. Supp. 813, 816-17.

The housing in question provides an inconspicuous way to carry a breast pump for the active mom who must pump at work or other places outside of the home. It is imported by Medela only for assembly with the pump. It is never sold separately and is produced exclusively for the pump. Prior to importation, the housing is precut for assembly of the pump components in the same manner as the housing in NY 818324. The pump is placed and glued into the housing. Medela cannot sell the pump without the housing under Underwriter Laboratory regulations because the housing has to fully encompass the electrical components.

Based on the foregoing we find that the breast pump housing is an integral, constituent, or component part of the pump. The fact that the housing has a carrying strap and additional accessories such as storage compartments for spare bottles, suction cups, hoses, milk and ice blocks does not preclude it from classification as a "part" of the breast pump under heading 8413.


The breast pump housing under consideration is classifiable under subheading 8413.91.9080, HTSUSA, which provides for "Pumps for liquids, whether or not fitted with a measuring device; liquid elevators; part thereof: Parts: Of pumps: Other: Other." It is dutiable at the general column one rate at 0.6 percent ad valorem.

DD 813534 dated August 29, 1995, is hereby revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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