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NY M85276

August 16, 2006

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:104 M85276


TARIFF NO.: 8479.89.6500

Mr. John Maser
Total Port Clearance Inc.
10 Fifth Street
Valley Stream, NY 11581

RE: The tariff classification of a self-cleaning plastic toilet seat from China

Dear Mr. Maser:

In your letter dated July 17, 2006 on behalf of Clear Care Systems, LLC you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The Eyegiene self-cleaning toilet seat provides a fully automatic, sensor-controlled, touch-free means of sanitizing a toilet seat. The self-cleaning seat operates by means of rechargeable batteries/12V electric. After the motion sensor detects use, the seat revolves and is automatically cleaned. The sanitizer is dispensed via a “hygiene-sluice”. After rotation, the seat is dried by means of a squeegee device. The hygiene status is indicated with colored lights in the control panel: Green/Ready for Use; Orange/Cleaning Process Taking Place; Blue/Replenish Eyegiene Solution; Red/Replace Battery. The cleaning process takes approximately 10 seconds. This process eliminates the need for tissue seat covers while still providing toilet seat protection against germs, bacteria and disease.

The appliance fits on all standard toilet bowls, weighs 10 lbs and has the following dimensions – 22” L x 18” W x 9.5” H x 4” D. Through the use of a key, the right side can be opened to replace the rechargeable battery. Opening the left side allows for the refilling of the hygienic solution. A full tank of fluid is sufficient for approximately 1500 cleanings. The contents of the set is as follows: (1) one Eyegiene seat, (2) two rechargeable batteries, (3) one charger 110-220 Volt, (4) one connection set/mounting hardware, (5) two special keys, (6) one guarantee card and (7) one assembly sheet

General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Goods that are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, are classifiable in accordance with GRI 3, HTSUS. GRI 3(a) states in part that when two or more headings each refer to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific, even if one heading gives a more precise description of the goods.

The instant self-cleaning toilet seat set consists of at least two different articles that are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings. It consists of articles put up together to carry out a specific activity (i.e., sanitizing a toilet seat). Finally, the articles are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. Therefore, the self-cleaning toilet seat set in question is within the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale." GRI 3(b) states in part that goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), are to be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. In this case, the electro-mechanical toilet seat imparts the essential character.

With your letter, you include a copy of a European Economic Community – Binding Tariff Information (BTI) ruling letter issued by the Authorized Customs Unit/Tax and Customs Service in the Netherlands to the seller of the goods under consideration. BTI-Reference NL RTD-2005-002419 provided a TARIC Code of 8509.80.0000 for the self-cleaning plastic toilet seat.

In HQ ruling 965130 dated March 27, 2002, CBP’s position on rulings from other countries was discussed. Said ruling states, in part, In an effort to achieve uniformity in the interpretation of the Harmonized System (HS) at the international level, Customs regards rulings from other countries that classify identical or substantially similar merchandise as instructive. However, such rulings do not constitute the official interpretation of the HS. For this and other reasons, these rulings shall not be treated as dispositive and Customs is not bound by them.

The ruling issued in the Netherlands is not consistent with our classification under the HTSUS. Heading 8509, HTSUS, provides for “Electro-mechanical domestic appliances, with self-contained electric motor”. (Emphasis added) According to the submitted literature, these toilet seats will be used in facilities such as hospitals, airports, hotels, casinos, government facilities and all other commercially shared toilets. The toilet seat, while electro-mechanical in nature, is not for domestic use. It is for use in public restrooms. Thus, classification in heading 8509, HTSUS, is not appropriate.

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. Examination of the submitted sample toilet seat revealed a sticker bearing information such as model number and serial number. However, the sticker also shows “Designed in Netherlands”. There is no reference to China.

Subsequent telephone conversations with a member of my staff resulted in a supplemental correspondence from your office dated August 14, 2006. Attached was a letter dated August 11, 2006 addressed to you from the seller indicating that the sticker on the toilet seat has been changed to read “Made in PRC (China)”. Importer goes on to say that the outer box reads “Made in PRC”. During the above mentioned telephone conversations, you also indicated that the toilet seats are manufactured China and shipped to the Netherlands for testing.

HQ ruling 562901 dated November 6, 2003 dealt with marking issues for merchandise imported from China and Taiwan. Among the issues discussed was the permissible wording of country of origin. Said ruling states, in part, You also ask what permissible wording may be used to mark your products (item 3.). “China” and “Taiwan” are generally the conventional spellings as approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The name “P.R. China” is also acceptable. See HRL 730578, dated July 10, 1987. The designations “P.R.C.” or “PRC” and “R.O.C.” or “ROC” are not acceptable. The importer should take steps to ensure that all country of origin markings are in compliance with the position presented in HQ ruling 562901.

In your letter of July 17, 2006, you also requested a classification determination for the sanitizer. This cleaning agent is not included in the box with the toilet seat but rather shipped in bulk and separately invoiced. Please be advised that the classification of the sanitizer will be addressed in a separate ruling, i.e., NY M86038.

As per your request, the sample of the toilet seat is being returned to your office. The sample of the sanitizer is being retained pending analysis under NY M86038.

The applicable subheading for the Eyegiene self-cleaning toilet seat will be 8479.89.6500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere (in chapter 84): other machines and mechanical appliances: other: electromechanical appliances with self-contained electric motor: other. The rate of duty will be 2.8 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 World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

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 Patricia O’Donnell at 646-733-3011.


Robert B. Swierupski

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