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HQ 964935

MAY 21, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964935 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8201.40.60

Mr. Bruce Moore
Forrest Tool Company
P.O. Box 768
Mendocino, CA 95460

RE: Max™ Multipurpose Tool

Dear Mr. Moore:

In NY 875212, which the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, issued to you on June 23, 1992, the Max™ Multipurpose Tool was held to be classifiable in subheading 8201.30.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), a provision for mattocks, picks, hoes and rakes.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY 875212 was published on April 18, 2001, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 35, Number 16. No comments were received in response to that notice.


Submitted literature describes the Max™ Multipurpose Tool as consisting of a Hudson Bay style axe with handle, a shovel head, a rake head, a hoe head, a mattock head, a broad pick head and a standard pick head. Also included in this boxed tool is a thumbscrew and bar tightener, a leather axe sheath and a Cordura™ carrying case to hold the tools. The sheath and carrying case are apparently of U.S. origin.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8201 Handtools of the 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, sickels, hay knives, hedge shears, timber wedges and other tools of a kind used in agriculture, horticulture or forestry:

8201.30.00 Mattocks, picks, hoes and rakes, and parts thereof:

Axes, bill hooks and similar hewing tools, and parts thereof


Whether the MAX™ Multipurpose Tool is a composite good for tariff purposes; whether an essential character can be established.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6. GRI 3(b), HTSUS, states, in part, that composite goods consisting of different components are to be classified as if consisting of the component which gives the goods their essential character.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

There is no single HTSUS heading that describes the Max™ Multipurpose Tool. The goods are not classifiable under GRI 2 which applies to goods imported incomplete or unfinished. GRI 3(b) covers both composite goods and goods put up in sets for retail sale. Consideration was given to classifying the goods as a “set.” However, although the merchandise is described as a “boxed tool,” it is unclear whether this means it is put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. Relevant ENs on p. 4 state that under GRI 3(b), HTSUS, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. The Max™ Multipurpose Tool qualifies as a composite good for tariff purposes.

The classification expressed in NY 875212 was based on the conclusion that the essential character of the good was imparted by the mattock, pick attachments, rake and hoe, all of which are classifiable in subheading 8201.30.00, HTSUS. This is incorrect and no longer represents Customs position in the matter. A closer review of the merchandise indicates that there is a tapered socket at the top of the axe head over which the other tool heads slide when in use. The tool heads are secured to the axe head by safety locking pins. The literature succinctly states “The tool is based around the axe.” Because the axe head is constantly in use and is indispensable to the use of the other tools, we conclude that the axe imparts the essential character to the Max™ Multipurpose Tool. The good is to be classified as if consisting only of the axe component.


Under the authority of GRI 3(b), the Max™ Multipurpose Tool is provided provided for in heading 8201. It is classfiable in subheading 8201.40.60, HTSUS.


NY 875212, dated June 23, 1992, dated November 25, 1998, is revoked. 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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