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NY C81926

December 8, 1997

CLA-2-96:RR:NC:MM:113 C81926


TARIFF NO.: 9609.10.0000

Ms. Shiela Liao
Nova Trading Corp.
2137 Hammond Drive
Schaumburg, IL 60173

RE: The tariff classification of a pencil sandwich from China

Dear Ms. Liao:

In your letter dated November 12, 1997, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise is a pencil sandwich. The item consists of 8 graphite leads sandwiched between two wooden slats, 7 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches long. The pencil slats are considered unfinished pencils for the following reasons.

Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 are applied, taken in order.

The imported pencil sandwiches consist of graphite and wooden slats. We cannot classify them under GRI 1 because this product is not yet in a form described by the term "pencil" of heading 9609. The sandwiches have not yet been cut into individual pencils, nor have the exteriors of the individual pencils been trimmed and painted or varnished. Therefore, we must look next to the provisions of GRI 2(a):

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

The imported pencil sandwiches are more than mere slats. The pencil sandwiches are already dedicated for use as pencils at the time of importation. To produce usable pencils, the sandwich is cut to length in a milling machine. The pencil sandwiches have been worked such that they are fit only for final milling to remove excess wood and yield the finished pencils.

In sum, the graphite cores embedded in the wood slats impart the essential character of pencils. Accordingly, we find that the imported pencil sandwiches are pencils in unfinished form.

The applicable subheading for the pencil sandwiches will be 9609.10.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for pencils and crayons, with leads encased in a rigid sheath. The rate of duty will be 14 cents per gross plus 4.3 percent ad valorem.

Pencils, whether finished or unfinished, which are the product of China, may be subject to additional dumping duties. Before you import, we suggest that you contact:

Office of Antidumping Investigations
Import Administration
International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20230

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist James Smyth at 212-466-2084.


Robert B. Swierupski

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