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HQ 967362

October 13, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 967362 RSD


TARIFF NO. 8214.90.9000

Mr. Kristofer E. Tompkins
Spellbound Development Group, Inc.
16902 Millikan Avenue
Irvine, California 92606

RE: Classification of a Viper Bag and Pouch Opener; Reconsideration of K82693

Dear Mr. Tomkins:

This is in response to your letter of August 25, 2004, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of a product called the “Viper Bag & Pouch Opener”. Specifically, you request reconsideration of New York Ruling, NY K82693. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP), National Commodity Specialist Division in New York forwarded your letter to the Washington D.C., CBP, Office of Regulations and Rulings for a reply.


The product under consideration is called the “Viper Bag & Pouch Opener”, VP 001. It is a handheld device, which consists of a polypropylene body and a small stainless steel blade. It will be used to cut open sealed paper and plastic bags, as well as letters without damaging their contents. In NY K82693, the National Commodity Specialist Division determined the applicable subheading for the Viper Opener was subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS, as a cutlery tool. You claim that this classification would place a tremendous burden on your company to produce and sell the item. You request that the product be classified in subheading 8205.59.55, HTSUS, as other hand-tools not elsewhere specified.


What is the proper classification in the HTSUS for the Viper Bag and Pouch Opener?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (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 GRIs may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN’s) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the EN’s provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the system. CBP believes the EN’s should always be consulted. See T.D. 8980, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

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 frameworks; base metal parts thereof:

Other handtools (including glass cutters) and parts thereof:

8205.59 Other:


8205.59.55 Other.

8214 Other articles of cutlery (for example, hair clippers, butcher’s or kitchen cleavers, chopping or mincing knives, paper knives); manicure or pedicure sets and instruments (including nail files); base metal parts thereof:

8214.90 Other:

8214.90.90 Other.

EN 82.05 indicates that this heading covers all hand tools not included in other headings of this Chapter or elsewhere in the Nomenclature together with certain tools or appliances specifically mentioned in the title.

It includes a large number of hand tools (including some with simple hand-operated mechanisms such as cranks, ratchets or gearing).

This group includes:

(1) A number of household articles, including some with cutting blades, but not including mechanical types (see the Explanatory Note to heading 82.10), having the character of tools and accordingly not proper to heading 73.23. ..

EN 82.14 provides that the heading includes:

(1) Paper knives, letter openers, erasing knives, pencil sharpeners (including pocket type) and blades therefore, but not pencil sharpening machines of heading 84.72.

You stated in your original ruling request of January 14, 2004, that the Viper VP-001 is used to cut open letters, sealed bags and/or pouches made of paper or plastic without damaging their contents. EN 82.14 indicates that heading 8214 includes paper knives and letter openers. Based on your description, it appears that the Viper VP-001 is very similar to a letter opener because it is designed to open sealed paper or plastic envelopes and bags without damaging the contents. Therefore, the product appears to be covered by heading 8214, HTSUS. Furthermore, you have not provided any reason why NY K82693 should be revoked, except that classifying the product in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS, would impose “fees” that would place a tremendous burden on your company to produce and sell the item. The only reason presented as to why the product should be classified in subheading 8205.59.55, HTSUS, is that the duty rate for this provision is only 5.3%, which would help you bring the product to market in the United States. A lower duty rate is not a sufficient legal rationale for classifying the product in heading 8205, HTSUS. Consequently, we find that there are no grounds to reverse K82693, and thus we reaffirm its holding that the VP Viper Bag & Pouch Opener is classified in subheading 8214.90.90, HTSUS, as: Other articles of cutlery.


NY K82693 is affirmed. The “Viper Bag & Pouch Opener”, VP 001 is classified in subheading 8214.90.9000, HTSUS as: Other articles of cutlery (for example, hair clippers, butchers or kitchen cleavers, chopping or mincing knives, paper knives); manicure or pedicure sets and instruments (including nail files); base metal parts thereof: Other: Other. The general, column one, duty rate for this product is 1.4 cents each + 3.2%. Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.


Myles B. Harmon, Director

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