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HQ 967356

November 24, 2004

CLA-2 R:CR:GC 967356 RSD


TARIFF No. 8215.99.2000

Port Director
U.S. Customs Border Protection
Port of Newark and New York
C/O Protest and Control Section
1100 Raymond Blvd.
Suite 402
Newark, New Jersey 07102

RE: Protest 4601-04-101035; jumbo corn skewer sets

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 4601-04-101305, filed by International Tariff Management, Inc., on behalf of the Walgreen Company on April 29, 2004, against your decision on the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) for a 8 piece jumbo corn skewer set. No sample or picture of the product under consideration was provided.


The product under consideration is stated to be an eight-piece jumbo corn skewer set. Each corn skewer is made of plastic and has nickel-plated steel prongs that are presumably used to grab and hold ears of corn. No further description was provided regarding the product. Your office classified the merchandise in subheading 8215.99.20, HTSUS as forks with plastic handles. The protested entry was liquidated on January 30, 2004, and the Protest was filed on April 29, 2004.


What is the proper classification of the jumbo corn skewer set?


We first note that the Protest was timely filed pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1514 (c)(3) and 19 C.F.R. 174.12 (e)(1).

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 GRIs may then be applied. GRI 6 requires that the classification of goods in the subheadings of headings shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings, any related subheading notes and mutatis mutandis, to the GRIs.

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 Harmonized 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:

8215 Spoons, forks, ladles, skimmers, cake-servers, fish-knives, butter- knives, sugar tongs and similar kitchen or tableware;


8215.99 Other:


8215.99.20 With rubber or plastic handles.

8215.99.50 Other.

EN 82.15 indicates that:

This heading includes:

(2) Table forks; caving forks, serving forks, cooks’ forks; cake forks; oyster forks; snail forks; toasting forks.

(7) Other tableware, such as poultry or meat grips, and lobster or unit grips.

These goods may be one piece or fitted with handles of base metal, wood, plastics, etc.

However, neither the Legal Notes for Chapter 82, HTSUS, or the ENs provide a definition for the term fork. A tariff term that is not defined in the HTSUS or in the ENs is construed in accordance with its common and commercial meanings, which are presumed to be the same. Nippon Kogasku (USA) Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F. 2d 380 (1982). Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources. C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F. 2d 1268 (1982).

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary describes a fork as:

An implement with two or more prongs used especially for taking up (as in eating), pitching or digging.

Oxford English Dictionary Online defines the word fork as:

An implement with two or more prongs used for lifting or holding food.

Because corn skewers have prongs and are used to lift and hold food, it appears that they fit these definitions for forks.

In NY 883095 dated March 23, 1993, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held that six corn skewers were classified in subheading 8215.99.20, HTSUS: as forks with rubber or plastic handles. The determination that corn skewers are classified in subheading 8215.99.20, HTSUS as forks with plastic handles was reiterated in NY C88203 dated June 12, 1993, and NY C88204 dated June 10, 1998.

Protestant contends that the corn skewers should be classified in subheading 8215.99.50 which as similar tableware Other; Other: Other”. According to the Protestant corn skewers are not forks but are other tableware similar to items mentioned in EN 82.15 such as “poultry or meat grips and lobster or unit grips.” However, the Protestant did not provide any analysis to support this contention nor did it elaborate on its position. Accordingly, in view of the definitions for forks mentioned above, we find no reason to alter our established position that corn skewers are forks that are classified in subheading 8215.99.20, HTSUS.


The corn skewers are classified in subheading 8215,90.2000, HTSUS as Spoons, forks, ladles, skimmers, cake-servers, fish-knives, butter knives, sugar tongs and similar kitchen or tableware: Other: Other: Forks: With rubber or plastic handles, dutiable at a general column one duty rate of 0.5 cents each plus 3.2 percent ad valorem. 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.

You are instructed to DENY the protest in full. In accordance with the Protest/Petition Processing Handbook (CIS HB, June 2002, pp. 18 and 21), you are to mail this decision, together with the CBP 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 CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


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