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HQ 964947

June 6, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964947 GOB


TARIFF NO.: 8214.90.90

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
1000 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104-1049

RE: Protest 3001-97-100286; Paper trimmers

Dear Sir:

This is our decision regarding Protest 3001-97-100286, filed by Dick Applebaum Co. (“protestant”) concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), of certain plastic paper trimmers.


The file reflects the following. The eight entries at issue were filed between October 24, 1996 and January 2, 1997. The eight entries were liquidated between February 7, 1997 and April 18, 1997. The protest was timely filed on May 5, 1997.

Your office advises that certain of the paper trimmers were entered and liquidated under subheading 8205.59.55, HTSUS, while most of the paper trimmers were entered and liquidated under subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS. The protestant now claims classification under subheading 8472.90.90, HTSUS.

The paper trimmers consist of a flat plastic cutting surface and an arm attached at one end to the cutting surface. The arm contains a metal cutting blade. Affixed to the side of the cutting surface closest to the blade are flat metal and plastic bars which serve to hold down the sheet of paper being trimmed. The cutting surface, which is approximately five inches wide and seven inches long, is marked with a grid for measurement. After the sheet of paper has been positioned, the user manually pulls down the cutting arm to trim the paper.


What is the tariff classification of the paper trimmers?


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:

8205 Handtools ... not elsewhere specified or included ... :

Other handtools ... :

8205.59 Other:



8205.59.55 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.

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 paper knives. The paper trimmer consists of a paper knife with a handle and block.

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. 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 hand operated paper trimmers, and we have found no reference to them as machines.

Because the paper trimmer is described in heading 8214, HTSUS, it is not described in heading 8205, HTSUS, which covers: “Handtools ... not elsewhere specified or included ...” The paper trimmers are specified and included in heading 8214, HTSUS.

We find that the plastic paper trimmers are classified in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS, as: “Other articles of cutlery (for example, ... paper knives) ... : ... Other: ... Other ...”

This finding is consistent with the following rulings: HQ 964727 dated February 21, 2001, NY G84202 dated November 30, 2000, and NY G83507 dated November 6, 2000. In each of these rulings, paper trimmers were classified in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS.


As detailed above, the plastic paper trimmers are classified in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS, as: “Other articles of cutlery (for example, ... paper knives) ... : ... Other: ... Other ...”

Since the total duties due under the classification indicated above (subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS) is greater than the duties paid at liquidation (some articles classified in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS, and some classified in subheading 8205.59.55, HTSUS), you are instructed to reclassify the merchandise as indicated and 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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