CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087359 AJS
Mr. David E. Ashton
1775 St. James Place
Houston, Texas 77056
RE: Blood collection tubes with screw on cap. Heading 7010;
Explanatory Note 70.10; House Conf. Rep. No. 100-576 (1988);
commercially; conveyance; Explanatory Note 70.10(e); HQ 084710;
HQ 086214; Explanatory Note 70.17.
Dear Mr. Cain:
Your letter of April 27, 1990, requesting a tariff
classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
States Annotated (HTSUSA), has been referred to this office for
The article in question is a 10ml glass tube with a red
screw-cap. The tube is flat-bottomed so that it will stand on
its end without tipping, and of a standard laboratory size to
suit various mixers, racks and other equipment. The cap contains
a rubber seal in the center in which a needle may be placed so
that blood may be entered or withdrawn from the tube.
Essentially, the tube will be used to collect and hold blood
samples taken from hospital patients and transported to the
laboratory for testing.
Whether the article in question is classifiable within
heading 7010, HTSUSA, which provides for bottles, vials and other
containers of glass used commercially for the conveyance or
packing of goods; or classifiable within heading 7017, HTSUSA,
which provides for laboratory, hygienic or pharmaceutical
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed
by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides
that classification is determined first in accordance with the
terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or
Heading 7010, HTSUSA, provides for bottles, vials and other
containers of glass which are of a kind used commercially for the
conveyance or packing of goods. The Explanatory Notes (ENs)
constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System
at the international level and are useful in ascertaining the
classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA. House Conf. Rep.
No. 100-576 100th Cong., 2d Sess. 548 (1988) at 549. The ENs
for heading 7010 state that this heading covers all glass
containers of the kind commonly used commercially for the
conveyance or packing of liquids or of solid products. The key
phrase in this instance is "commonly used commercially for the
conveyance" of liquids. The root word of "commercially" is
commerce which is described as the exchange or buying and selling
of commodities. Webster's Third New International Dictionary,
(1986) and The Random House Dictionary of the English Language
(1983). The root word of "conveyance" is convey which is
described as to carry, bring or take from one place to another;
transport; bear. The Random House Dictionary of the English
Language, (1983) and Webster's Third New International Dictionary
(1986). The tubes at issue are used to collect blood from a
patient and store this blood until it can be withdrawn and tested
in the laboratory. This type of use cannot be considered
"commonly used commercially for the conveyance" of liquids.
Your letter states that the tubes at issue are uniquely
designed to prevent blood from being sprayed on healthcare
workers. In addition, your brochure emphasizes that the tubes
are "safe in the laboratory" and can be dispatched "direct to the
laboratory" after collection from the patient. These statements
support the conclusion that these tubes are intended for use in
a hospital or laboratory for the storage and collection of blood.
Laboratory glassware of this type is specifically excluded from
classification within heading 7010. ENs 70.10(e). Therefore,
the article at issue is not described by the terms of heading
7010 and is excluded from classification therein by GRI 1.
In ruling letter HQ 084710 (July 31, 1989) and its
reconsideration in HQ 086214 (April 12, 1990), Customs dealt with
the classification of similar articles. These rulings classified
these types of tubes within heading 7017 as laboratory glassware,
and specifically rejected classification within heading 7010.
This conclusion was based on the fact that both headings 7010 and
7017 are use provisions. Customs found that this type of article
is principally used to hold biological cultures or other
scientific material within the laboratory and not for conveyance
or packing purposes. This continues to be our position and we
find these rulings to be instructive in resolving the classifi-
cation issue in the present case.
Heading 7017, HTSUSA, provides for laboratory glassware.
This heading covers glass articles of a kind which are in general
use in laboratories including special tubes. ENs 70.17. The
articles at issue satisfy the terms of this heading. They are
special blood collection tubes used by healthcare workers to
store and hold blood for laboratory testing. More specifically,
they are described by the terms of subheading 7017.90.00 as other
The articles in question are classifiable within subheading
7017.90.00, HTSUSA, which provides for laboratory glassware
dutiable at the rate of 8.4 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division