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HQ 964727

February 21, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964727 GOB


TARIFF NO.: 8214.90.90

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
Los Angeles – Long Beach Seaport Area
300 S. Ferry Street
Terminal Island, CA 90731

RE: Protest 2704-00-100731; Paper trimmers

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision regarding Protest 2704-00-100731, filed on behalf of Quartet Manufacturing, a division of General Binding Corporation (“protestant”), concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), of certain paper trimmers.


The file reflects the following. The entries at issue were filed between February 8, 1999 and April 29, 1999. The entries were liquidated between December 27, 1999 and March 10, 2000. The protest was filed on March 16, 2000.

Your memorandum states that the merchandise at issue, GT II paper trimmers, was entered and liquidated under subheading 8472.90.95, HTSUS, as: “Other office machines ... : ... Other: ... Other.” The protestant now claims classification under subheading 8441.10.00, HTSUS, as: “Other machinery for making up paper pulp, paper or paperboard , including cutting machines of all kinds ... : Cutting machines.”

The Quartet GT II Series Trimmer, 15” is described as follows on the Internet: “... the stainless steel self-sharpening blades and the aluminum die-cast metal handle assure a clean cut every time. Solidly constructed of a 12 by 15 inch wood composite base with a neutral vinyl laminated surface. Features include convenient metric and imperial measurements, safety rail and handle lock. Cuts up to 15 sheets.”


What is the tariff classification of the paper trimmers?


We note initially that the protest was timely filed under the statutory and regulatory provisions for protests, 19 U.S.C. 1514(c)(3)(A) and 19 CFR 174.12(e)(1).

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.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

7326 Other articles or iron or steel:

7326.90 Other:

7326.90.85 Other.

8214 Other articles of cutlery (for example, hair clippers, butchers’ or kitchen cleavers, chopping or mincing knives, paper knives) ... :

8214.90 Other:

8214.90.90 Other (including parts).

8441 Other machinery for making up paper pulp, paper or paperboard, including cutting machines of all kinds ... :

8441.10.00 Cutting machines.

8472 Other office machines (for example, hectograph or stencil duplicating machines, addressing machines, automatic banknote dispensers, coin-sorting machines, coin-counting or wrapping machines, pencil sharpening machines, perforating or stapling machines):

8472.90 Other:

8472.90.95 Other.

Legal Note 1(k) to Section XVI, HTSUS, provides: “This section [Section XVI, which includes Chapters 84 and 85, HTSUS] does not cover: ... Articles of chapter 82 or 83.” Thus, if a good is described in Chapter 82 or 83, HTSUS, it is not classified in Chapter 84 or 85, HTSUS. Accordingly, if the paper trimmer is described in heading 8214, HTSUS, as other articles of cutlery, classification in headings 8441 and 8472 is precluded.

EN 73.26 provides: “This heading covers all iron or steel articles ... other than articles ... included in Chapter 82 or 83 or more specifically covered elsewhere in the Nomenclature.” [Emphasis in original.]

Heading 8214, HTSUS, covers other articles of cutlery. “Cutlery” is defined in the Random House Unabridged Dictionary (1993) as: “cutting instruments collectively, esp. knives for cutting food ...” It is defined in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1986) as: “edged or cutting tools (as shears, knives, surgical instruments) ...” The heading text of 8214 specifically references hair clippers, butchers’ or kitchen cleavers, chopping or mincing knives, paper knives. The paper trimmer consists of a paper knife with a handle and block.

In NY G84202 dated November 30, 2000, Customs classified two paper trimmers in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS. One of the trimmers is described as 12-inch/30 cm rotary paper trimmer; the second is stated to be similar to the first, but smaller and designed to be carried in a standard ring binder.

In NY G83507 dated November 6, 2000, Customs again classified a paper trimmer in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS. That good was described as made of lightweight plastic, approximately 14 inches long and three and one-half inches wide.

After a careful consideration of this matter, we conclude that the paper trimmer is an article of cutlery and is described in heading 8214, HTSUS.

Accordingly, pursuant to Note 1(k) to Chapter XVI, excerpted above, classification in headings 8441 and 8472 is precluded.

Also, pursuant to EN 73.26, classification in heading 7326, HTSUS, is precluded as the EN provides that heading 7326, HTSUS, covers all iron and steel articles other than articles included in Chapter 82 or 83. See the excerpt from EN 73.26, above.

We note additionally that the paper trimmer is not a “machine,” as that term is used in headings 8441 and 8472, HTSUS. There is nothing in the material submitted by the protestant that indicates that the paper trimmer is commonly or commercially known as a machine, nor is there any information indicating that the paper trimmer is advertised or sold as a machine. We have reviewed Internet sites that depict and offer for sale this and similar hand operated paper trimmers, and we have found no reference to them as machines.

The rulings cited by the protestant are not persuasive as to its claim because the goods in those rulings are clearly distinguishable from the subject paper trimmers. For example, NY 851188 involved a Dahle plot cutter used to trim and cut drawings; the operation of the plot cutter is controlled from an electronic control panel. In NY 803750, the goods were a slitting machine which cut “the continuous paper web into a maximum of twelve ribbons.”

The paper trimmer is classified in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS, as: “Other articles of cutlery ... : ... Other: ... Other.”


As detailed above, the paper trimmer is classified in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS, as: “Other articles of cutlery ... : ... Other: ... Other.”

Since the rate of duty under the classification indicated above is more than the liquidated rate, you are instructed to DENY the protest in full.

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 in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of 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.treas.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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