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HQ 964787

April 5, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964787ptl


TARIFF NO.: 9615.90.30

Mr. Alan Woodruff
Lerner New York
460 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10001

RE: Bobby pins; NY E86446 modified.

Dear Mr. Woodruff:

In NY E86446, which the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, issued to you on August 30, 1999, several hair accessories were classified, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Among them, a variety of an article known as a bobby pin was classified in subheading 9615.90.60, 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 thereof: other: other: other. We have reviewed that ruling and determined that the classification of the bobby pins is incorrect. The correct classification of the bobby pins is in subheading 9615.90.30, HTSUS, which provides for hair pins, pursuant to the analysis set forth below. Classification of the other articles in NY E86446 is not altered by this ruling.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), notice of the proposed modification of NY E86446 was published on February 28, 2001, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 35, Number 9. The only comment received supported the proposal.


The article, referred to as a bobby pin, classified in NY E86446 is described as follows:

Style #4585 a pair of steel bobby pins, 2" in length, covered with strung glass beads and a flower made of strung glass beads at the end.


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)) Since NY E86446 was issued, additional research on the subject by Customs has produced the following information. 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. 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 users 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 eo nomine provision for hairpins and by application of GRI 1, are classified in subheading 9615.90.30, HTSUS.


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.

NY E86446, dated August 30, 1999, is modified. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


John Durant, Director

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