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NY G81973

September 21, 2000

LA-2-90:RR:NC:MM:105 G81973


TARIFF NO.: 9018.19.9550

Matt Chalek
Accu-Measure, LLC
P.O. Box 4411
Englewood, CO 80155-4411

RE: The tariff classification of a Digital Body Fat Caliper from Hong Kong

Dear Mr. Chalek:

In your letter, dated August 23, 2000 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

Your flyer shows that the item is basically a skinfold gauge. It is a relatively sophisticated one since you claim that it measures at 1mm accuracy with 100 % repeatability, is self calibrating, and beeps audibly to indicate the correct pressure was applied by the user. (Pressure that is either too great or too small will throw off the measurement.)

It automatically displays a body fat percent by using the measurements made as a basis for a calculation using the standard equations linking the thickness of the skinfolds to the likely body fat percent of the subject. It clearly would be virtually never used for any other purpose.

While it is less accurate than other methods, such as water immersion, skinfold calipers are cited in reference books, such as the 28th Edition of Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, as a device to enable health care professionals to estimate the patient’s nutritional status, etc.

Noting the prominent display you give its endorsement by the “World Natural Bodybuilding Federation” and its features which enable it be used relatively easily by untrained individuals on their own bodies, we expect that your item will probably be used more often by trainers and by individuals at home than by health care professionals. The Explanatory Note to Harmonized System Heading 9018 states, “This heading covers a wide range of instruments and appliances which, in the vast majority of cases, are used only in professional practice...”

However, it would not be unreasonable for a health care professional to use your device since it seems to be in the same accuracy range as the traditional manual devices and since skinfold measurements provide only an approximate measurement of body fat in any case. Also, U.S. Customs has previously decided that digital blood pressure machines specifically made for home use were classified in HTS 9018.90.70. Technological improvements and the trend to self-monitoring have caused some devices traditionally used only by health care professionals to find additional markets.

We also note that the Heading for 9018 states, “Electro-diagnostic apparatus (including apparatus...for checking physiological parameters.) The latter seems to be an apt description for your item.

The applicable subheading for this item will be 9018.90.9550, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “other” electro-diagnostic apparatus (including apparatus for functional exploratory examination or for checking physiological parameters.) 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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