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NY I89975

February 4, 2003

CLA-2-96:RR:NC:SP:233 I89975


TARIFF NO.: 9603.90.8050

Mr. Dan H. Stoddard
Hydrophilix Corporation
64 Industrial Park Road
Saco, ME 04072

RE: The tariff classification of pipe cleaner from England.

Dear Mr. Stoddard:

In your undated letter, received by us on January 21, 2003, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise to be imported consists of swabs comprised of a fiber-bearing twisted pair of wires, commonly known as a pipe cleaner, onto which, through a patent-pending process, Hydrophilix grafts a surface of hydrophilic polyurethane. The resulting material is then treated with a proprietary mix of enzymes and surfactants, creating a very effective cleaner and scrubber for small channels of contaminated medical instruments, such as endoscopes and surgical suction tubes, after use. You have submitted a sample of the pipe cleaner with your request.

Your belief that this item is “exempt from duties as a medical device,” is presumably based on your belief that it should be classified somewhere in HTS 9018, all of which is duty free, as “Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, including scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments.” However, as stated in the Harmonized System Explanatory Notes to 9018, those are “instruments and appliances which, in the vast majority of cases, are used only in professional practice (e.g., by doctors, surgeons, dentists, veterinary surgeons, midwives), either to make a diagnosis, to prevent or treat an illness or to operate, etc.” While your pipe cleaners are certainly useful in cleaning instruments after use, they are not themselves “instruments” or “apparatus,” nor the necessary parts or accessories of medical apparatus which either are required for them to perform their function or add additional functions. They are not used in the delivery of the health services themselves, which is characteristic of all the examples enumerated in HS 9018.

The applicable subheading for the pipe cleaner will be 9603.90.8050, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other brushes. The rate of duty will be 2.8% ad valorem.

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 Lawrence Mushinske at 646-733-3036.


Robert B. Swierupski

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