United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2003 NY Rulings > NY I89402 - NY I89450 > NY I89437

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY I89437

January 9, 2003

CLA-2-90:RR:NC:N1:105 I89437


TARIFF NO.: 9018.31.0080

Mr. Lawrence R. Pilon
Hodes Keating & Pilon
39 South LaSalle Street, Suite 1020
Chicago, IL 60603-1731

RE: The tariff classification of an irrigation syringe from China

Dear Mr. Pilon:

In your letters dated August 21 and December 13, 2002, for International Medsurg Connection, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You describe the sample: “The subject syringes are two-piece general purpose irrigation syringes consisting of a hard transparent plastic body (cylinder) with a detachable soft plastic bulb. The cylinder measures approximately six inches long, has a 60 cc capacity, and has molded graduations in the cubic centimeters and ounces.” We take it that it can be held away from a wound and squirt a liquid, usually water, into the general area to wash away easily removable contaminants.

You state: “Essentially identical syringes are also marketed, sold and used by medical professionals for enteral (intestinal) feeding as seen in Exhibit E attached. These syringes are marketed exclusively to professional health care providers for these purposes and have no other known or intended uses.” Your Exhibit E is a photocopy of a page from the Nursing Services section of the Medline catalog. The item is described as a glass tipped, enteral feeding, bulb syringe, which has a specially designed plastic plug, and it sells for about $65 each for the similar sized 2 ounce version.

However, per NIS J. Sheridan’s telephone conversation on January 2, 2003, with Manny Gupta of Int’l Medsburg, the sample has no plug or valve, should never be used for enteral feeding, and cost about $0.15 each, wholesale. The samples are imported unsterilized.

The Harmonized System Explanatory Note to 40.14 (HYGIENIC OR PHARMACEUTICAL ARTICLES (INCLUDING TEATS), OF VULCANISED RUBBER OTHER THAN HARD RUBBER,) states that it includes syringes and bulbs for syringes. Note 1-a to Chapter 90 excludes Articles of a kind used in machines, appliances or for other technical uses, of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber (heading No. 40.16). 40.16 is just the “other” for 40.14 and other specific headings of 40.

However, in your December 13 letter you state that the “rubbery” bulb is made of a “thermoplastic elastomer.” Thermoplastic elastomers do not meet the HTS definition of “rubber” so a classification in Chapter 40 cannot apply to this item.

While the “syringes” in Medical Dictionaries all seem to either be of the piston type for injecting or to have at least valves to prevent backflow, the 1993 Unabridged Webster’s Dictionary does picture a similar “syringe” with a “compressible rubber bulb” used for “irrigation.” Harmonized System Explanatory Note I-A-15 does include irrigation syringes.

You were not able to supply evidence that the maker, Suzhou City Chang Qiao Xin Cheng Plastic Hardware Works, specializes in the production of medical equipment, but Int’l Medsburg is clearly in that trade.

You point out that your import has a larger capacity than the similar items used in the kitchen for basting, etc and that it will be imported with a certification that it is latex free. The otherwise very similar Pedrini kitchen bulb syringe, which we found in a local department store, seem rather typical, and it has a one ounce, not two ounce, capacity and has a smaller bulb. The packaging explains the method for sprinkling fluids onto the food. The smaller capacity and bulb do seem to make it better designed for sprinkling than your item. Sprinkling is not the usual method for irrigation, as opposed to more of a flow. The Pedrini bulb syringe may or may not have been latex free, but there was no certification that it was.

The nasal aspirator in the baby care Medical Hygiene Kit in New York Ruling Letter 888195-119, July 16, 1993, was classified in HTS 3926.90.2000 as a other articles of plastics, syringes (other than hypodermic syringes), not in part of glass or metal. However, it was much smaller than your sample and, while routine baby care is often done by health care professionals, it is more commonly done in the home. Very few American families purchase and store an irrigation syringe to clean out the cuts and scrapes of everyday life although your item would certainly do that job cheaply and efficiently. Instead, they usually use running water from a faucet or showerhead.

There do not appear to be presently any other common uses for relatively large bulb syringes (as opposed to the smaller eye droppers.)

We agree that the applicable subheading for your sample will be 9018.31.0080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for non-hypodermic syringes, with or without their needles. The rate of duty will be free.

The sample is being returned to you in a separate mailing.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist J. Sheridan at 646-733-3012.


Robert B. Swierupski

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: