Mr. Steve Nowik
Panalpina, Inc.
800 E. Devon Avenue
Elk Grove Village
IL 60007

Mr. Russell Bruce Thornburg
Russell Bruce Thornburg, CHB
11256 Candleberry Court
San Diego, CA 92128

RE: Modification of NY N025515, NY N060721 and Revocation of NY N060719: Classification of electric iron for hair

Dear Mr. Nowik:

This letter concerns New York Ruling Letter (NY) N025515, dated April 23, 2008, issued to you on behalf of your client Wahl Clipper. That ruling involved the tariff classification of a gel conditioning replacement cartridge when imported separately, and when imported packaged together with an electric iron for hair. In that ruling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) classified the gel and iron packaged together in subheading 8516.40.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for, “Electric flatirons: Other.” We have reviewed NY N025515 and find the portion of that that relates to the classification of the gel imported together with the iron to be in error. In addition, in NY N060721 and NY N060719 similar electric iron products for hair were classified in subheading 8516.40.4000, HTSUS.

We have reviewed NY N025515, NY N060719, and NY N060721 and found it to be incorrect for the reasons set forth below. On August 12, 2015, pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), as amended by section 623 of Title VI, notice of the proposed action was published in the Customs Bulletin Vol. 49, No. 32. No comments were received in response to this notice.


In NY N025515, the merchandise was described as a cosmetic hair gel cartridge, imported together with a flatiron. In NY N060719, the merchandise was described as a “Convertible, HAI-2, Nustik, Twig and Nano XT” hair irons, which are used to flatten/straighten hair. The irons were electrically heated and operated on 110 volts of alternating current. In NY N060721, CBP described the merchandise as the “Tong, DraStik, and Digistik” hair irons, which are used to flatten/straighten hair. The “DraStik” and “Digistik” have flat heating plates, while the “Tong” had crescent-shaped plates that allowed for creating semi-circular shapes in hair. The irons were electrically heated and operate on 110 volts of alternating current. ISSUE:

Whether electric irons used for hairdressing are flatirons within the meaning of subheading 8516.40, HTSUS?


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.

The HTSUS provisions under considerations are as follows:

8516 Electric instantaneous or storage water heaters and immersion heaters; electric space heating apparatus and soil heating apparatus; electro-thermic hair dressing apparatus (for example, hair dryers, hair curlers, curling tong heaters) and hand dryers; electric flatirons; other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes; electric heating resistors, other than those of heading 8545; parts thereof:

8516.32.00 Other hairdressing apparatus 8516.40 Electric flatirons

8516.40.20 Travel type

8516.40.40 Other

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HS and are thus useful in ascertaining the proper classification of merchandise. It is CBP’s practice to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the ENs when interpreting the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Explanatory Note 85.16 provides, in relevant part, as follows:


These include:

Hair dryers, including drying hoods and those with a pistol grip and built-in fan Hair curlers and electrical permanent waving apparatus Curling tong heaters Hand dryers


This group covers smoothing irons of all kinds, whether for domestic use or for tailors, dressmakers, etc., including cordless irons. These cordless irons consist of an iron incorporating heating element and a stand which can be connected to the mains. The iron makes contact with the current only when placed in this stand. This group also includes electric steam smoothing irons whether they incorporate a water container or are designated to be connected to a steam pipe.

The above explanatory note’s reference to tailors and dressmakers in connection with irons indicates that the flatirons of subheading 8416.40 are irons used for pressing cloth. By contrast, the instant merchandise is in the nature of hair dressing apparatus, of the kind described in subheading 8516.32 and Explanatory Note C to heading 8516. Therefore, the subject product is properly classified under subheading 8516.32.00, HTSUS, rather than subheading 8516.40, HTSUS.


By application of GRI 1, we find the subject flatirons are classified in subheading 8516.32.00, HTSUS, which provides for “Other hairdressing apparatus.” The column one, general rate of duty is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:

NY N025515, dated April 23, 2008, and NY N060721, dated June 5, 2009 are MODIFIED and NY N060719, dated June 5, 2009 is hereby REVOKED.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after publication in the Customs Bulletin.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division