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April 19, 1999

CLA-2-90:RR:NC:MM:105 D89591


TARIFF NO.: 9018.39.00

Mr. Jim McNamara
Rudolph Miles & Sons, Inc.
P.O. Box 1388
McAllen, TX 78505-1388

RE: The tariff classification of an implanted port kit exported from Mexico, CR 102.11

Dear Mr. McNamara:

In your letter, dated March 19, 1999, for Bard Healthcare, Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling. You also asked specific questions relating to the applicability of parts of Custom Regulation 102.11 to this kit, but you did not ask for a NAFTA marking determination.

You state that the sample is an “Implanted Port with Catheter”. You also state, “ This kit’s primary component is the implantable port, a vascular access device designed to provide repeated access to the vascular system for the delivery of medication, intravenous fluids, parenteral nutrition solutions and blood products. The port can also be used for the withdrawal of blood samples. Port access is performed by percutaneous needle insertion using a non-coring needle. The port component is manufactured in the U.S. and is merely sent into Mexico for packaging. The kit includes a catheter which is fully assembled in Mexico. Other U.S. components in the kit which are merely packaged together in Mexico include the catheter lock, two needles, a vein pick, and certain printed matter of either an instructional use, or that may actually be used to track and register the usage of the implanted port.”

The “port” is a relatively new device which enables the health care provider to use a catheter for access to a vein without either leaving the catheter itself in place for extended periods or having to reinsert the catheter into the patient each time. The port is clearly of no use without catheters. As designed, with the special coupling attached, these catheters are likewise of no use without a port, but “catheters” are provided for in the HTS, while “ports” are not, so the ports can be considered to be parts or accessories of catheters for classification purposes. Also, since the ports, per se, provide a short pathway into the vein, they can be considered within catheters and the like in themselves.

Considering only the significant elements in the kit, if imported separately, the needles would be classified in 9018.32, and the port, the catheter and the catheter lock in 9018.39. The items classifiable in 9018.39 clearly supply the essential character to the import.

You propose a classification in 9018.90.8000, but that clearly does not provide the most specific description, noting GRI 3-a.

The applicable subheading for this item will be 9018.39.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for catheters and cannulae and the like and their parts and accessories. The general rate of duty will be free.

You also asked:

“#1) Are all the items in this kit either classified in heading 9018 (the same heading for which we propose classification of the port) or irrelevant to the classification of the kit given that their value in, and significance to, the kit is de minus? (Note: This conclusion would then indicate that the kit is not a “set” for tariff purposes and allow country of origin marking under 102.11 (b) of the Customs Regulations). Alternatively, is there more than one tariff heading applicable to the contents of this kit in which case the kit would be considered a “set” for tariff purposes? (Note: This conclusion would allow for country of origin marking under 102.11 (c) of the Customs Regulations).

#2 Which item imparts the essential character of the kit, and which items “merit equal consideration for determining the essential character of the good” as per 102.11 (c) of the Customs Regulations?” Whether or not every single item in the kit is classifiable in 9018, its classification does require the application of GRI 3-b. Note that GRI 3-b applies to subheadings as well as headings. The port and the catheter are the two items which merit equal consideration in determining the essential character of the import. Note that, without further details, it cannot be determined if the catheter, which “is fully assembled in Mexico” is “produced” in Mexico for the purposes of CR 102.18-b-1-ii.

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 Sheridan at 212-637-7037.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity

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