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HQ 960622

April 3, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960622 ptl


TARIFF NO.: 3808.10.50

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
1901 Cross Beam Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217

RE: Protest 1512-97-100162; "New Serrico" Cigarette Beetle Trap; NY 880892.

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 1512-97-100162 concerning your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, (HTSUS) of articles identified as "New Serrico" Cigarette Beetle Traps.

The entry covering the merchandise was liquidated on April 25, 1997, under the provision for insecticides in subheading 3808.10.5000, HTSUS. A timely protest under 19 U.S.C. 1514 was received on May 9, 1997. The protestant requested reliquidation of the entry under the provision for cartons, boxes, cases, of corrugated paper or paperboard in subheading 4819.20.0040, HTSUS.


The merchandise is an unassembled beetle trap. The components of the trap are pieces of cardboard which have been formed so that they can be folded into a box, and a foil packet which contains tablets of a synthetic pheromone called "Serricornin". Customs laboratory report 4-97-20319-001, dated January 6, 1997, indicates that the paper product which will be folded into a box to contain the attractant is composed of non-corrugated paperboard. The laboratory also reports that the active ingredient in the attractant is an acrylic ester of acetic acid (i.e., an organic, non-aromatic chemical). It is our understanding that these traps are placed around factories where cigarettes are made to reduce beetle populations.


What is the proper classification of the beetle traps?


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the HTSUS is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, 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 GRIs may then be applied in order.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The headings under consideration are:

3808 Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides, antisprouting products and plant- growth regulators, disinfectants and similar products, put up in forms or packings for retail sale or as preparations or articles (for example, sulfur-treated bands, wicks and candles, and flypapers):

3808.10 Insecticides:

3808.10.1000 Fly ribbons (ribbon fly catchers)

Containing any aromatic or modified aromatic insecticide:

3808.10.2500 Other


3808.10.3000 Containing an inorganic substance

3808.10.5000 Other.

4819 Cartons, boxes, cases, bags and other packing containers, of paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibers; box files, letter trays and similar articles, of paper or paperboard of a kind used in offices, shops or the like:

4819.10.00 Cartons, boxes and cases, of corrugated paper or paperboard

4819.20.00 Folding cartons, boxes and cases, of non- corrugated paper or paperboard

4819.20.0020 Sanitary food and beverage containers

4819.20.0040 Other

In support of the contention that the merchandise should be classified under the heading for cardboard, the protestant has relied on NY Ruling 880892, dated December 14, 1992. In that ruling, plastic beetle traps were classified as articles of plastic even when imported with a pheromone. The protestant compares the composition of the major component of the two trap systems and, by analogy, reaches the position that the subject merchandise should be classified as an article of cardboard.

There is a significant difference in the composition of the components of the two different insect traps. The traps in NY 880892 were made of a durable plastic material which would be retained for several years. The traps can be fitted with several different types of pheromone, which can be replaced when they lose potency. It is also possible to obtain the plastic traps without the pheromone. Classification of the traps as an article of plastic was predicated on the determination that the plastic imparted the essential character to the trap.

The traps under protest are made of a thin cardboard material, are not intended for reuse when the pheromone loses its effectiveness and are not suitable for use with different types of pheromones. The pheromone is clearly the component which imparts the essential character to the article.

We are of the opinion that the subject articles do not meet the terms of heading 4819. That heading provides for cartons, boxes, cases, bags and other packing containers, of paper or paperboard. The ENs for that heading indicate that such articles are usually used for the packing, transport, storage or sale of merchandise. The paperboard article under consideration is a highly specialized device which has been designed for a purpose quite unlike that of a packing container. The paperboard component will be imported with the insecticide, not separately.

Heading 3808, HTSUS, provides for insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides,..., put up in forms or packings for retail sale or as preparations or articles... . Classification at the subheading level is dependent upon the type and chemical structure of the article. Pursuant to EN 3808 (I), attractants which are "used to attract insects to traps" are considered to be insecticides. Accordingly, when the traps are imported with the attractant, they are classified by application of GRI 1, as insecticidal articles within heading 3808, HTSUS.


The beetle trap assemblies described above which contain an attractant (pheromone), are considered to be insecticidal products within heading 3808, HTSUS. Classification at the subheading level will depend upon the actual chemical structure of the pheromone. With respect to the item under protest, the synthetic pheromone utilized, "Serricornin", is an organic, non-aromatic chemical. Therefore, the "New Serrico" Cigarette Beetle Trap is properly classified in subheading 3808.10.50, HTSUS.

The protest should be DENIED.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, Revised Protest Directive, dated August 4, 1993, a copy of this decision attached to Customs Form 19, Notice of Action, should be provided by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this decision and any reliquidations of entries in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior thereto. Sixty days from the date of this decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make this decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and
the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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