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HQ 967754

NOVEMBER 18, 2005



TARIFF NO.: 8211.10.0000, 8213

Mr. William J. Maloney
Rode & Qualey
295 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

RE: Cutlery Set; HQ 956603 Modified

Dear Mr. Maloney:

In HQ 956603, which the U.S. Customs Service, now U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), issued to you on July 27, 1994, on behalf of Venture Stores, a cutlery set, as hereinafter described, was held to be classifiable in a provision of heading 8211, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as knives with cutting blades, serrated or not, and blades and other base metal parts thereof, sets of assorted articles. The classification for the cutlery set expressed in HQ 956603 is correct but the stated legal authority is incorrect. This ruling is being modified to state the correct legal authority. The classification expressed for the scissors imported separately is unaffected by this modification.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat.

2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed modification of HQ 956603 was published on September 28, 2005, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 39, Number 40. No comments were received in response to that notice.


HQ 956603 described the merchandise as consisting of the following: six 4 ½-inch steak knives, 3-inch parer knife, 5 ¼-inch utility knife, 6-inch boner knife, 8-inch bread knife, 8-inch chef knife, 7-1/2 inch butcher's knife, a scissors, and a hardwood storage block for the knives and the scissors. All of the knives have stainless steel blades and wood handles while the scissors has a plastic handle. In the alternative, the merchandise consists of all of the above items except for the scissors, which will be imported separately.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Knives with cutting blades, serrated or not (including pruning knives), other than knives of heading 8208, and blades and other base metal parts thereof:

Sets of assorted articles

8213.00 Scissors, tailors’ shears and similar shears, and blades and other base metal parts thereof:

Valued not over $1.75/dozen

Valued over $1.75/dozen:

8213.00.60 Pinking shears, valued over $30/dozen

8213.00.90 Other (including parts)


Whether the merchandise is classifiable under subheading 8211.10.00, HTSUS, as knives with cutting blades, sets of assorted articles.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. CBP believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

HQ 956603 rejected the assertion that the cutlery set cannot be classifiable under subheading 8211.10.00, HTSUS, by authority of GRI 1, because of the presence of the scissors which are provided for in heading 8213. The relevant 82.11 subheading EN was cited:

The scope of subheading 8211.10 is limited to sets of different knives or sets of assorted articles in which the knives predominate in number over the other articles.

HQ 956603 then stated that the subject merchandise is a set of assorted articles (knives, scissors, and storage block) in which the knives predominate in number over the other articles, and noted that heading 8211, HTSUS, is the provision where knives are classifiable. The ruling concluded that “as long as knives predominate in numbers over the other articles of the set, under GRI 1, the terms of heading 8211, HTSUS, have been met. It is our position that the intent of the drafters of both the HTSUS and the Explanatory Notes was for sets such as the subject cutlery set to be classifiable under heading 8211, HTSUS.” This interpretation is incorrect inasmuch as it represents an expansion of the scope of heading 8211 not authorized under GRI 1.

GRI 3(b), HTSUS, states, in relevant part, that goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable. The EN for GRI 3(b) states, in part, that the term “goods put up in sets for retail sale” shall be taken to mean goods which consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings, are put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. The cutlery set meets these criteria. Knives are provided for in heading 8211 and scissors in heading 8213 while the hardwood storage block is considered a container, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, within the
meaning of GRI 5(a), HTSUS, which is to be classified with the goods. The knives and scissors carry out the specific activity of cutting, and appear to be put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. Further, the GRI 3(b) EN notes that the factor which determines essential character will vary with the goods but may, for example, be determined by the nature of a component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value. In this case, the knives predominate by bulk, quantity, weight and, presumably, by value. Moreover, the different knives permit users to undertake various types of cutting operations while the scissors permit only a single cutting operation. We conclude that the knives impart the essential character to the cutlery set.


Under the authority of GRI 3(b), the cutlery set, with or without the scissors, is provided for in heading 8211. It is classifiable in subheading 8211.10.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), at the rate of duty applicable to that article in the set subject to the highest rate of duty. Imported separately, the scissors are provided for in heading 8213, HTSUS, with the specific subheading dependent on the value of the scissors.


HQ 956603, dated July 27, 1994, is modified accordingly. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


Gail A. Hamill
for Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division

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