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HQ 966947

April 7, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966947 KBR


TARIFF NO.: 8424.20.1000, 4202.92.6091

Khem Lall
Federated Merchandising Group
11 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001

RE: Potting/Gardening Miniature Tool Set

Dear Mr. Lall:

This is in reference to your letter to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated December 18, 2003, in which you requested a binding ruling, concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a potting/gardening miniature tool set with carry bag. A sample of the product was submitted. Your letter was referred to this office for reply.


The article involved is a 7 piece potting/gardening miniature tool set with carry bag. The set contains a 7 inch trowel, a 6 ¾ inch transplanter, a 6 inch fork, a 6 inch spring-snipper with lock, a 6 inch spring-pruner with lock, a 6 ¾ inch spray mister, and a canvas tote bag. The trowel, transplanter, and fork are made of stainless steel with a wooden handle covered in soft plastic. The snipper and pruner are made of stainless steel with soft plastic covered handles. The spray mister’s body is made of glass with a plastic cap/plunger/sprayer. The tote bag is an open cotton canvas bag with two carry handles, 5 side pockets and 2 end pockets, and a bungee-type cord looped through each side to retain tools placed in the side pockets.


Whether the subject potting/gardening miniature tools may be classified as a set or must be individually classified.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the HTSUSA is such that most 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 interpreting the headings and subheadings, Customs looks to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs). Although not legally binding, they provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA. It is Customs practice to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the ENs when interpreting the HTSUSA. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUSA provisions under consideration are as follows:

4202 Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, insulated food or beverage bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks amd baclacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of sheeting of plastics, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber or paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper:


4202.92 With outer surface of sheeting of plastic or textile materials:


4202.92..60 Of cotton (369)

4202.92.6091 Other (369)

8201 Handtools of the following kinds and base metal part thereof: spades, shovels, mattocks, picks, hoes, forks and rakes; axes, bill hooks and similar hewing tools; secateurs and pruners of any kind; scythes, sickles, hay knives, hedge shears, timber wedges and other tools of a kind used in agriculture, horticulture or forestry:

8201.10.0000 Spades and shovels, and parts thereof

8201.20.0000 Forks, and parts thereof

8201.50.0000 Secateurs and similar one-handed pruners and shears (including poultry shears), and parts thereof

8205 Handtools (including glass cutters) not elsewhere specified or included; blow torches and similar self-contained torches; vises, clamps and the like, other than accessories for and parts of machine tools; anvils; portable forges; hand- or pedal-operated grinding wheels with framworks; base metal parts thereof:

Other hantools (including glass cutters) and parts thereof:

8205.51 Household tools, and parts thereof:

Of iron or steel:

8205.51.30 Other (including parts)

8205.51.3060 Other (including parts)

8424 Mechanical appliances (whether or not hand operated) for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders; fire extinguishers, whether or not charged; spray guns and similar appliances; steam or sand blasting machines; parts thereof:

8424.20 Spray guns and similar appliances:

8424.20.1000 Simple piston pump sprays and powder bellows

Customs has ruled that, except for the pruner and snipper, miniature gardening tools of the type involved here are not classified in heading 8201, HTSUSA, which is meant for full-sized handtools for use primarily outdoors in a yard or garden. See HQ 085481 (December 8, 1989) and NY J86714 (July 16, 2003) (ruling that miniature gardening tools are classified in heading 8205, HTSUSA). See, e.g., HQ 960587 (June 23, 1998), NY 869546 (December 23, 1991), NY I80595 (April 16, 2002), and NY I83734 (June 28, 2002) (ruling that full-sized garden tools are classified in heading 8201, HTSUSA). In HQ 085481, Customs stated that:

Concerning the classification of the "spade," "trowel," and "rake," we adopt the rationale of our ruling of June 22, 1989 (file 083964), in which we held that similar miniature tools were not spades, rakes, or horticultural tools of heading 8201. Spades, rakes, and trowels of the type in 8201 may be large or small, as long as they meet the common meaning of the terms. In this case, the miniature spade does not rise to the level of a spade which is defined in Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Unabridged), 1965, at page 2181, as "an implement for turning soil * * * adapted for being pushed into the ground with the foot * * *." The miniature rake does not rise to the level of a rake which is defined at page 1876 as "a hand tool usu. of a bar with projecting prongs that is set transversely at the end of a long handle and used for gathering grass, leaves, or other material or for loosening or smoothing the surface of the ground * * *."

Regarding classification as other tools of a kind used in horticulture in heading 8701, we also conclude that the lack of substantial construction and size are sufficient to remove these miniature tools, including the miniature trowel," from the type of tools commonly recognized and used in the pursuit of horticulture. For example, the list of exemplars in the EN to heading 8201 includes tools that have a more durable and serious application to agricultural or horticultural uses.

Therefore, we find that the miniature trowel, transplanter and fork if imported separately are classifiable as hand tools not specified elsewhere, in subheading 8205.51.3060, HTSUSA.

However, heading 8201, HTSUSA, provides for “pruners of any kind.” Because of this inclusive language, Customs has ruled that hand tools such as miniature pruners and snippers are still classified heading 8201, HTSUSA. HQ 085481 (December 8, 1989); see EN 82.01(5). Therefore, if imported separately, the pruner and snipper would be classifiable as hand tools, secateurs and similar one handed pruners and shears in subheading 8201.50.0000, HTSUSA.

The miniature gardening set also includes a glass spray mister. If imported separately, spray misters of the type in the instant case are classifiable in subheading 8424.20.1000, HTSUSA, as a simple piston pump spray. See, e.g., NY 813550 (September 7, 1995).

The canvas tote bag if imported separately is classifiable in subheading 4202.92.6091, HTSUSA. See NY C83791 (February 10, 1998), NY C80552 (October 27, 1997, and PD C83608 (January 27, 1998).

The gardening miniature tool set meets the GRI 3(b) and attendant EN (X) definition of “goods put up in sets for retail sale.” First, the gardening set consists of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in two different headings. Secondly, the items are put up together to carry out the specific activity of potting/gardening and the items will be used together or in conjunction with one another. Lastly, the articles are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. We thus believe that the gardening miniature tool set qualifies as a set of GRI 3(b); and we must then determine which item imparts the essential character to the set.

The factor which determines essential character may be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. GRI 3(b) EN (VIII). Customs has previously ruled that for gardening sets, each of the tools is equally important and no individual tool establishes an essential character for the set. Therefore, gardening sets generally should be classified pursuant to GRI 3(c). See NY F88782 (July 19, 2000), HQ 085481 (December 8, 1989), NY H84786 (August 23, 2001).

GRI 3(c) states that when goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. We believe that, in this instance, each of the miniature tools and mister equally imparts the essential character to the gardening miniature tool set. Because these articles are classified under different headings, GRI 3(c) applies. Because the spray mister is classified last in numerical order, the gardening miniature tool set is classified in subheading 8424.20.1000, HTSUSA, as a simple piston pump spray.

Notwithstanding the tote bag’s inclusion as a constituent part of the set for classification purposes under GRI 3(b), the tote bag is a textile article and remains subject to visa and quota requirements, regardless of where the set is classified. The tote bag at issue falls within textile category 369.


In accordance with the above discussion, the gardening miniature tool set is classified in subheading 8424.20.1000, HTSUSA, by virtue of GRI 3(c) as a simple piston pump spray. The tote bag, which falls within textile category 369, will remain subject to visa and quota requirements regardless of where the gardening miniature tool set is classified.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest you or your client check, close to the time of shipment, the Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, previously available on the Customs Electronic Bulletin Board (CEBB), which is now available on the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection website at www.cbp.gov.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you or your client should contact the local Bureau of Customs and Border Protection office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements. .


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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