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HQ 962849

September 6, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962849BB


TARIFF NO.: 8213.00.90

Port Director of Customs
Port of New York c/o Chief, Residual Liquidation and Protest Branch 6 World Trade Center, Room 761
New York, NY 10048-0945

RE: Protest 1001-99-101433; Scissors; Shears; Poultry shears; Finger rings.

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 1001-99-101433, which concerns the classification of the “Tristar deluxe all purpose shears,” and a pair of “poultry shears,” under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). These two articles were entered on February 9, 1998, and Customs liquidated the entry on December 18, 1998. Counsel for Lifetime Hoan Corporation (“the protestant”) timely filed the protest on March 18, 1999.


The articles are cutting implements composed of two connected metal blade shafts and fitted with plastic handles. Protestant submitted a sample of each. The first (“article one”) is packaged and labeled as the “’Tristar’ deluxe all purpose shears.” The second (“article two”) is referred to as a pair of “poultry shears.” Article two is not packaged or labeled.

Article One:

Article one has two metal blades articulated on a screw or pin at the center and two plastic handles. The cutting edges of the two blades are straight. Each of the handles has a “finger ring.” One finger ring is for the user's thumb and the other finger ring is for one or more fingers. A bottle opener is formed in the mid-section of the handle when the scissors blades and handles are closed.

The package is labeled, “deluxe all purpose shears,” “[e]xtra heavy duty[,] high carbon[,]” of “special cutlery stain-free steel.” Further, the printed
description states, “[p]erfect for Poultry, Coupons, Cord, etc. . . . [a]pproved for professional use[,]” and made of “[s]urgical stainless steel[,]” “dishwasher safe” and “never needs sharpening.”

Article Two:

Article two also has two metal blade shafts articulated on a screw or pin at their center. One shaft is slightly concave with a single notch in the blade. The other shaft is straight. Each blade shaft has a plastic handle at its lower end. The left handle has a finger ring. The right handle is straight, without a finger ring. The two handles are connected by a lightweight spring attached, one end to either side of the inner handle edge. The two blades may be secured closed by a thumb-operated lever located on the top end of the right handle’s exterior edge.


Whether these cutting implements are classifiable as “[h]and tools, . . .; secateurs and similar one-handed pruners of any kind[,]” under heading 8201, HTSUS, or as “scissors” under heading 8213, HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI.

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. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 98-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The HTSUS headings under consideration are as follows:

8201 Handtools of the following kinds and base metal parts thereof: spades, shovels, mattocks, picks, hoes, forks and rakes; axes, bill hooks and similar hewing tools; secateurs and pruners of any kind; scythes, sickles, hay knives, hedge shears, timber wedges and other tools of a kind used in agriculture, horticulture or forestry:

8201.50 Secateurs and similar one-handed pruners and shears (including poultry shears)

Scissors, tailors' shears and similar shears, blades and other base metal parts thereof:

8213.00.90 Other. . . .

Protestant argues that under the authority of GRI 1, a “simple reading” of the HTSUS, “indicates that [articles one and two] are ‘secateurs and pruners of any kind’”, thus classifiable under heading 8201, HTSUS. Specifically, protestant claims that articles one and two are classifiable under subheading 8201.50.00, HTSUS, as “[s]ecateurs and similar one-handed pruners and shears (including poultry shears), and parts thereof.” Customs, however, liquidated their entry under subheading 8213.00.90, HTSUS, as “scissors.”

Protestant argues that article one is packaged and labeled as a pair of “shears that will cut poultry, coupons, and cord and is constructed with “surgical stainless steel” and “approved for professional use.” Protestant has failed, however, to substantiate whether article one is in fact, made of “surgical stainless steel,” or whether the article is actually “approved for professional use,” by any professional organization. No basis for asserted “professional approval or Federal Drug Administration approval, or qualifications of such an organization to determine what constitutes “professional use,” has been provided. Protestant has also not submitted evidence necessary to establish surgical standards for stainless steel, or any evidence that the blade shafts are produced from stainless steel meeting such “surgical” standards.”

Protestant also claims that article one is comparable to a secateur or similar one-handed pruners and shears (including poultry shears), because it is “designed for heavy duty cutting of a variety of materials, including poultry, However, EN 82.01, at page 1197, states that the heading “covers hand tools mainly used in agriculture, horticulture or forestry, though some may also be used for other purposes (e.g., in road work, navvying, mining, quarrying, woodworking or household work).” Article one is not used for agriculture, horticulture or forestry. Article one is usable and advertised as usable for a host of domestic uses. Both articles one and two appear to be ordinary scissors for domestic or office use as described in EN 82.13, at page 1208. Article one is similar to the “multi-purpose” scissors subject of HQ 956093, dated July 7, 1994. Here, protestant advertises article one as “all purpose shears” without demonstrating that they are of primary use in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or for one of the repetitive, sustained uses described in the ENs.

Article one also differs from merchandise classifiable at heading 8201 in several other prominent respects. Secateurs and similar one-handed pruners and shears (including poultry shears) classifiable under heading 8201, are, according to EN 82.01 (5), generally composed of two shafts articulated on a pivot about three-quarters of the way along their length, one of the blade shafts often terminates in a concave, and the other in a convex cutting edge, and they further “differ from the scissors of heading 82.13 since they have no finger rings.” Additionally, the ENs state that goods classifiable under heading 8201, “almost always have a spring which forces the shafts apart after cutting, and a hook or other fastening so that they can be easily opened or closed with one hand.” Article one is distinguishable as to each of these attributes.

We note that the cutting edges on both blade shafts of article one are neither concave nor convex, rather, both blades have straight cutting edges. As noted above, the blade shafts on both article one and two, are articulated at the center, halfway point, and not three-quarters of the way along their length. Both handles on article one have finger rings. Both handles on article two are covered in plastic, one has a finger ring and one has a straight handle, not dissimilar to a pair of tailor’s shears. While secateurs, pruners and shears are used for cutting, they are used for rote, repetitive operations. Sustained cutting and repetitive opening and closing movements for the trimming of vines in vineyards and saplings in orchards, or the shearing of a flock of sheep in the paddock, require a durability and spring mechanism absent in article one. While article one has no coil or fastener at all, the lightweight spring and fastener located on article two is flimsy and poorly connected to the handles. Specifically the ends of the spring found attached to the handles of article two, are not anchored through the handles and therefore appear unable to withstand intensive or sustained use.

Moreover, with respect to article two, protestant’s Exhibit A pictures an actual pair of poultry shears with its handles connected by a substantial metal coil. The metal coil on the poultry shears pictured in Exhibit A, is anchored to a rivet or screw that runs through the entire thickness of each handle. The spring connecting the underside of the handles of article two is only superficially attached to the plastic surface of each handle. Neither end of spring is anchored through the entire thickness of the plastic handles, nor are they additionally secured to any type of rivet or screw. Thus, neither article one nor article two are classifiable as secateurs, or pruners or shears of any kind under heading 8201, HTSUS.

Heading 8213, HTSUS, provides for “scissors, tailors’ shears and similar shears, and blades thereof.” Both articles appear to be provided for within the scope of this heading. In general, heading 8213, “covers only those scissors in which each blade is fitted, at one end, with a finger ring.” This description does not exclude scissors which may have two handles, only one of which has a finger ring – as in the case of article two. Further, the blades may be in one piece, or consist of jointed cutting blades and handles. EN 82.13 describes scissors as those articles “consisting of two superimposed blades, sometimes serrated, articulated on a screw or pin near the centre.”

Article one possesses all of these features. Although article two has one curved, notched blade, one handle with a finger ring and another handle (but without a finger ring), and a lightweight spring, it too has all of the features describing scissors under EN 82.13. Nonetheless, protestant asserts that both articles have serrated blades, suggesting they are more like poultry shears classifiable at subheading 8201.50. However, as EN 82.13 points out, scissors’ blades may also be serrated. Thus, the presence or absence of serration along the cutting blades would not alone prevent the articles from being classifiable under heading 8213.

Heading 8213, also includes certain types of scissors hinged at one end and with a single finger ring (used mainly in the textile industry).

The EN states that heading 8213, HTSUS, includes inter alia:

(1) Ordinary scissors for domestic or office use, or for sewing, etc., with straight or curved blades.”

. . .
But the heading does not cover:

(a) Hedge shears, sheep shears, etc., with blades not fitted with finger rings, and secateurs and similar one-handed pruners and shears (including poultry shears) of heading 82.01.

As noted above, article one is similar to the multi-purpose “shears” in HQ 956093, determined classifiable under heading 8213. The “multi-purpose” shears in that case, were held to be “capable of cutting numerous things such as: poultry parts, carpet, linoleum, plastic, rubber, wire, silk.” Customs held that even though “multi-purpose” shears were capable of use in performing heavy duty tasks, (e.g., could cut a metal coin) they still met the “description of scissors” at heading 8213. Thus, scissors could be used to cut various materials, including poultry parts, and still be classifiable under heading 8213. Moreover, the ability to use a pair of scissors to cut poultry does not alone render the article a pair of poultry shears. Cutting coupons, cord, string and some poultry are tasks fully within the scope of the domestic uses at heading 8213 (See EN 82.13(1)). Protestant’s advertisement and labeling of article one as “[p]erfect for [cutting] Poultry, Coupons, Cord, etc.,” reinforces that it is intended for an array of tasks associated with domestic use.

Convincingly, advertisements submitted from protestant’s own marketing materials also demonstrate that actual poultry shears are, inter alia, much more massive, even in appearance, than either article one or article two. Lifetime’s “Hand Forged Poultry Shears,” on page 15 of protestant’s Exhibit A, are solid steel shears (with steel or bone handles) constructed with substantial, curved and notched blades. They are also articulated on a pivot screw twice the diameter of the pivot screw used to connect the blade shafts in articles one and two. These articles, advertised as poultry shears, have no finger rings, are fitted with a metal spring-coil which forces the shafts apart after cutting, and have a hook or other fastening so that they are easily opened or closed with one hand.

Based upon the language of the headings and documentation submitted by the protestant, neither article one, nor article two are classifiable under heading 8201, HTSUS. Heading 8213, HTSUS, provides for both articles.


Under authority of GRI 1, the “Tristar Deluxe all purpose shears” (article one) and the “kitchen/poultry scissors” (article two), are provided for in heading 8213, HTSUS. They are classifiable in subheading 8213.00.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[s]cissors, tailors' shears and similar shears, and blades . . . :[v]alued over $1.75/dozen: [o]ther. . . ."

The protest should be DENIED.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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