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HQ 964699

November 16, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964699 GOB


TARIFF NO.: 8206.00.00; 4202.92.90.60

Saralee Antrim-Saizan
Customs Compliance Administrator
Carmichael International Service
533 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026-5097

RE: Tool set

Dear Ms. Antrim-Saizan:

This is in reply to your letter of October 30, 2000, to the Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, on behalf of Alltrade, Inc., in which you request a tariff classification ruling, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), of tools and a tool bag (model #650527). Your letter, together with the submitted sample, was forwarded to this office for response. We regret the delay.


You describe the goods as follows:

The tool bag is composed of PVC (approximately 5mm thick) molded to resemble woven canvas fabric. A loosely woven fabric of manmade fibers is laminated to the interior side. The bag is trimmed with 100% nylon braid. It features outside pockets of various widths around the perimeter, inside pockets of various widths and expansions around the interior, a reinforced bottom, side handles of braid, a removable braided shoulder strap attached in 2 places to “D-rings,” and a wide mouthed zippered opening at the top. The tools include a claw hammer, wire stripper, locking pliers, adjustable wrench, ratchet driver with 11 screw driver bits in holder, hacksaw with four blades, utility knife with five blades, tri-square, measuring tape, level, eight hex key wrenches, and two screwdrivers. ISSUE:

What is the classification under the HTSUS of the above-described items?


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRI’s”). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined 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 GRI’s may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“EN’s”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN’s 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.

Pertinent HTSUS Provisions

If imported separately, the items in the tool set would be classified in the following HTSUS provisions: tool bag – subheading 4202.92.90.60; claw hammer – subheading 8205.20.30; wire stripper – subheading 8203.20.60; locking pliers – subheading 8204.12.00; adjustable wrench – subheading 8204.12.00; ratchet driver – subheading 8466.10.80; bits – subheading 8207.90.60; measuring tape – subheading 9017.80.00; mini hacksaw – subheading 8202.10.00; blades for mini hacksaw – subheading 8202.91.30; utility knife and blades (imported together) – subheading 8211.93.00; torpedo level – subheading 9031.80.80; universal tri-square – subheading 9017.20.80; hex key wrenches – subheading 8204.11.00; and two screwdrivers – subheading 8205.40.00.

We find that the tool bag which carries the tools is a part of the set for the following reasons: the tool bag is generally an appropriate size for the tools contained therein; it appears to be of durable construction; it has exterior and interior pockets in which tools may be placed for convenience; it bears a tool company logo; we believe the tools would typically be kept inside the tool bag when they are not in use; and we believe the tool bag would typically not be used for other purposes.

Subheading 8206.00.00

Subheading 8206.00.00, HTSUS, which is the only provision in heading 8206, HTSUS, provides for: “Tools of two or more of headings 8202 to 8205, put up in sets for retail sale.” The general rate of duty applicable to goods of heading 8206, HTSUS, is: “The rate of duty applicable to that article in the set subject to the highest rate of duty.”

EN 82.06 provides in pertinent part: “The heading covers sets of tools falling at least in two or more of the headings 82.02 to 82.05 provided they are put up in sets for retail sale (e.g., in a plastic case or in a metallic tool box) . . . Sets including tools of minor importance from other headings or Chapters of the Nomenclature remain classified in this heading, provided that such minority items do not change their essential character of sets of tools of two or more of the headings Nos. 82.02 to 82.05.” [All emphasis in original.]

Subheading 8206.00.00, HTSUS, is what is known as a GRI 1 set. The U.S. Customs Service informed compliance publication entitled “Classification of Sets under the HTSUS” provides in pertinent part as follows: “In certain areas of the HTSUS, sets are specifically mentioned by name. The only requirements which are to be followed when dealing with a GRI 1 set are those mentioned in the particular HTSUS provisions describing the set, relevant chapter and section notes, and the relevant Explanatory Notes (ENs).” [Footnote omitted.]

We find that the tool set at issue here is a good put up in a set for retail sale within the meaning of the text of heading 8206, HTSUS. We note that in HQ 083968 dated July 6, 1989, we stated in pertinent part as follows:

There is no requirement that sets actually be sold at retail. Fuel modification kits delivered without repacking to Audi dealers who, as the ultimate consumers, will install the components on recalled cars without charge to the owners, are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users.

After careful consideration, we find that the subject tool set is described in subheading 8206.00.00, HTSUS, in that it meets the terms of the subheading, as well as the EN. In this regard, we determine that the items in the tool set which are not themselves described in headings 8202 through 8205 (see above) do not change the essential character of the subject good, which is a tool set containing tools of two or more of headings 8202 through 8205. The items within the tool set which are not described in headings 8202 through 8205 serve to assist in the work performed by the tools of heading 8202 through 8205 and are auxiliary in nature to the central function of the tools of headings 8202 through 8205. The essential purpose of the tool set is to permit the user to engage in maintenance work via the use of the tools of headings 8202 through 8205.

Therefore, according to the terms of subheading 8206.00.00, HTSUS, the rate of duty for the maintenance tool set is the rate of duty applicable to that article in the set subject to the highest rate of duty. The article in the set which has the highest rate of duty is the tool bag which is classified in subheading 4202.92.90.60, HTSUS, as: “Trunks . . . tool bags . . . and similar containers . . . : . . . Other: . . . With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or of textile materials: . . . Other: . . . Other . . . Other: . . .Other.”

Please note that section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1930), provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304 was “that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of marking on the imported article the country of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were purchased, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will.” United States v. Friedlaender & Co., Inc., 27 CCPA 297, 302 (1940). Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the requirements of section 304.


The tool set is classified in subheading 8206.00.00, HTSUS, as: “Tools of two or more of headings 8202 to 8205, put up in sets for retail sale.” The general rate of duty is: “The rate of duty applicable to that article in the set subject to the highest rate of duty,” i.e., the rate of duty for the tool bag which is classified in subheading 4202.92.90.60, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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