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HQ 963791

April 16, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963791ptl


TARIFF NO.: 9615.90.30

Ms. Diane L. Weinberg
Meeks & Sheppard
330 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

RE: "Bobby pins"

Dear Ms. Weinberg:

This is in response to your letter dated February, 18, 2000, on behalf of L&N Sales and Marketing, Inc. to the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, in which you requested a ruling on the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of bobby pins. Your letter and samples were forwarded to this office for response. We regret the delay.


Bobby pins are made of one piece of narrow, flat metal which has been bent to double upon itself, creating a narrow "U" shape at one end. The arms extending from the "U" are approximately equal with their ends held together by tension created by the bend. One side of the "U" which is flat and straight and is considered the bottom is usually used so that it faces the scalp. The other side usually has a slight crimp near the end to facilitate separation of the ends of the "U". Samples provided vary in color and in length from 2 inches to 3 inches.


What is the classification of Bobby Pins?


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.

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 the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS headings under consideration are as follows:

9615 Combs, hair-slides and the like; hairpins, curling pins, curling grips, hair-curlers and the like, other than those of heading 8516, and parts therof: Combs, hair-slides and the like:

9615.90 Other

9615.90.30 Hair pins.

9615.90.60 Other:

In this instance, neither the HTSUS, its legislative history, nor the ENs define the term "hairpins". In the absence of a definition of a term in the tariff or its legislative history, the term's correct meaning is its common and commercial meaning. The meaning of a term may be ascertained from lexicographic authorities. (See Carl Zeiss v. United States, 195 F3d 1375 (Fed. Cir. 1999)) The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1973), page. 637, defines "hair pin" as "1. a slender U-shaped piece of wire, shell, etc., used by women to fasten up the hair or hold a headdress." The same dictionary, page 164 defines a "bobby pin" as "a flat, springlike metal hairpin having the prongs held close together by tension." The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, Vol III, (1987), page 78, identifies "bobby pin" as being a U.S. term and defines it as "A kind of sprung hair-pin or small clip, orig. for use with bobbed hair." These definitions imply that a bobby pin is a type of hairpin.

The tariff provision for hairpins is considered an eo nomine provision, in that it describes goods by a specific name. A fundamental rule of tariff classification is that an eo nomine provision that names an article without terms of limitation and, absent evidence of contrary legislative intent, is deemed to include all forms of the article. (See Nootka Packing Co., v. United States, 22 CCPA 464, T.D. 47464 (1935))

Bobby pins and hair pins are used similarly for the purpose of holding a specific portion of the user's hair in a particular position. Both are functional articles used to keep one's hair in place. Because of this similarity of use and function, and because of the common understanding and definition of the term "bobby pin", we have determined that bobby pins are included within the coverage of the eo nomine provision for hairpins and by application of GRI 1, are classified in subheading 9615.90.30, HTSUS. This classification is consistent with HQs 964784, 964785, 964786, 974787 and 964802, dated April 5, 2001.


Bobby pins are classified in subheading 9615.90.30, HTSUS, which provides for: Combs, hair-slides and the like; hairpins, curling pins, curling grips, hair-curlers and the like, other than those of heading 8516, and parts therof: [o]ther; [h]air pins.


John Durant, Director

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