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NY N022964

March 6, 2008



TARIFF NO.: 9608.20.0000

Michael E. Roll
Pisani & Roll PLLC
1875 Century Park East, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90067

RE: The tariff classification of a combination ball point pen and felt tipped highlighter from Indonesia

Dear Mr. Roll:

In your letter dated February 7, 2008, on behalf of Zebra Pen Corporation, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The submitted illustration depicts an item that is identified as a Lite Rite Combination Pen/Highlighter, item #81150. It is comprised of a ball point pen with black ink at one end and a fluorescent yellow felt tipped highlighter marker at the other end. It has a patterned, soft rubber grip and both the pen and the highlighter are non-refillable.

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’s) govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in part “classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings” GRI 6 makes it clear that all of the General Rules of Interpretation also apply to the subheadings, when its states, in part “the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined accordingto the above rules, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable.”

The Lite Rite Combination Pen/Highlighter is considered to be a composite good within the meaning GRI 3. GRI 3(a) states, in part, “when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goodsthose headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.”

Subheading 9608.10.0000 refers to ball point pens. Subheading 9608.20.0000 refers to felt tipped and other porous-tipped pens and markers. In the instant case, each of these subheadings refer to only part of this composite good, and therefore, each subheading must be regarded as equally specific in relation to the good. Thus, we must turn to GRI 3(b) which states in part, “composite goodsmade up of different componentswhich cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.”

However, it is the opinion of this office that in the instant case, neither the ball point pen nor the felt tipped marker imparts the essential character of the whole. Both features of the Lite Rite Combination Pen/Highlighter have equal utility and, in fact, are usually sold separately as individual entities. Therefore, GRI 3(c) applies. This rule states “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.”

The applicable subheading for the Lite Rite Combination Pen/Highlighter will be 9608.20.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for felt tipped and other porous-tipped pens and markers. The duty rate will be 4 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/.

Articles classifiable under subheading 9608.20.0000, HTSUS, which are products of Indonesia, may be entitled to duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) upon compliance with all applicable regulations. The GSP is subject to modification and periodic suspension, which may affect the status of your transaction at the time of entry for consumption or withdrawal from warehouse. To obtain current information on GSP, check our Web site at www.cbp.gov and search for the term "GSP".

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 Gary Kalus at 646-733-3055.


Robert B. Swierupski

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