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HQ 963168

May 22, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963168ptl


TARIFF NO.: 3923.50.0000

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
4735 Oakland Street
Denver, CO 80239

RE: Protest 3307-99-100033; Plastic “Twist-Off” Ports.

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision on Protest 3307-99-100033, against your classification of a product described as a “Twist-Off” port under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise under protest, referred to by the importer as “Twist-Off” ports, are plastic devices which are to be incorporated as “an integral part of plastic storage bags for blood components used in medical devices.” According to the importer, the “Twist-Off” ports are used in blood component storage bags “to allow for access to the end product stored in the bag.” The “Twist-Off” ports are imported separately.

The entry covering the merchandise was liquidated on March 19, 1999, under the provision for Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914, , other, in subheading 3926.90.9880, HTSUS. A timely protest under 19 U.S.C. 1514 was received on April 28, 1999. The protestant requests reliquidation of the entry under the provisions for parts of medical devices in subheading 9018.90.9880, HTSUS.


What is the classification of plastic “Twist-Off” ports?


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.

The HTSUS headings under consideration are as follows:

3923 Articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics:

3923.50.0000 Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures.

3926 Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914:

3926.90 Other:

3926.90.98 Other.

3926.90.9880 Other.

9018 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 (con.):

9018.90 Other instruments and appliances and parts and accessories thereof:


9018.90.75 Other

9018.90.7580 Other

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 “twist-off” ports are clearly articles that are identifiably suitable for use as a part or accessory of another object. If the “twist-off” ports are to be classified in heading 9018, HTSUS, they must meet two criteria. First, they must be parts or accessories of the instruments or appliances of subheading 9018. Second, they must be identifiable as parts or accessories. See General Explanatory Note III to chapter 90.

The “twist-off” ports satisfy the second element. They are parts or accessories. However, the product they are to become a part of does not satisfy the necessary specific elements identified by the ENs for inclusion in heading 9018, HTSUS. The relevant EN for heading 9018, HTSUS, (I)(L) states:

The heading also covers sterile hermetically sealed containers of plastics, from which air has been evacuated but containing a small quantity of anti-coagulant and fitted with an integral donor tube and a phlebotomy needle, used for the collection, storage and transfusion of human whole blood.

The plastic bags with which the “twist-off” ports will be used are not hermetically sealed, do not contain anti-coagulant nor do they have a phlebotomy needle. The plastic bags would not be classified in heading 9018, HTSUS. Therefore, the “twist-off” ports are precluded from classification in that heading.

The “twist-off” ports are articles of plastic and, upon entry, they were classified in subheading 3926.90.9880, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of plastic, other. According to the GRI, this subheading is correct only if there is no more specific provision in chapter 39.

The “twist-off” port consists of a short tube containing a plug which is inserted into the edge of the blood storage bag. Until the plug is twisted, the storage bag can be sealed to contain liquids. When the port is twisted, the plug sealing the bag is broken, allowing access to the contents of the bag. Once the cap has been twisted off the port, it cannot be reattached.

The “twist-off” port acts as a stopper or a seal for the blood bag. The classification of the “twist-off” port is in heading 3923, HTSUS, the eo nomine provision for stoppers, lids, caps and other closures. Under GRI 3(a), the stopper provision takes precedence over heading 3926, HTSUS, in that it is the more specific provision of the two. The applicable subheading is 3923.50, HTSUS. The language of heading 3923 indicates that stoppers and lids, among other named articles, are classified there, without regard to whether they are closures for containers that are “for the conveyance or packing of goods.” In that respect, it would be immaterial to the classification of the “twist-off” port whether it fitted on a bag for single or repeated use.


Plastic “Twist-Off” ports are classified in subheading 3923.50, HTSUS, which provides for: [a]rticles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics: [s]toppers, lids, caps and other closures.

Since the rate of duty under the classification indicated above is the same as the liquidated rate, the protest should be DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director

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