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NY E83364

July 8, 1999

CLA-2-90:RR:NC:MM:105 E83364


TARIFF NO.: 9021.19.40000

Mr. Robert J. Leo
Meeks & Sheppard
330 Madison Avenue, 39th Floor
New York, NY 10017

RE: The tariff classification of fracture appliances from Switzerland

Dear Mr. Leo:

In your letter, dated June10, 1999, for DePuy Ace Medical Company, you requested a tariff classification ruling. Three samples and literature were provided.

The stainless steel bone screws do raise the issue of whether they should be excluded from Chapter 90 by its Note 1-f excluding parts of general use, which includes the nails of HTS 7317 and the screws of HTS 7318. It is not unreasonable to refer to them as screws; they do in fact have a threaded end which will be screwed into the bone and they do join together two otherwise separated bone fragments. They are described as self-tapping, and their resistance to pull out and head-torque strength are cited in your advertising. Those are both characteristics normally important in describing screws.

However, Explanatory Note II to Harmonized System Heading 90.21 states, rather contradictorily, “Subject to the provisions of Note 1-f to this Chapter, the heading also includes plates, nails, etc. which are inserted in the human body by surgeons to hold together the two parts of a broken bone or for similar treatments of fractures.” We interpret this to mean that nails and screws, which are also covered by Note 1-f, are classified in 9021 despite Note 1-f if they are clearly usable only for the specified purposes. This is consist with the specific inclusion of “bone plates, screws, and nails ...” in the United States breakout, HTS 9021.19.40.

These are not “ordinary” screws in that they join body parts not goods, are individually marked with they maker’s name and part number, have elaborate, hollowed out shaping at the penetrating end, and cost over $15 each per your statement.

Similar reasoning applies to the titanium version as well.

The “nail” is about 13 inches long, bent at about 10 degrees towards its open end, and has four one-eighth inch holes in it. The “plate” is about 5.5 inches long and has 11 one-quarter inch holes in it. The plate is imprinted with its stock number. Both are clearly more removed from being a part of general use than the screw.

The applicable subheading for the three samples will be 9021.19.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for bone plates, screws and nails, and other internal fixation devices or appliances. The general rate of duty will be free.

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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