CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950627 LTO

Mrs. Mary Anne O'Boyle
Hoglund & Moyles, Inc.
Post Office Box 66373
O'Hare International Airport
Chicago, Illinois 60666

RE: Glue Guns; Glue; GRI 3(b) ["sets"]; EN to GRI 3(b); DD 867186 revoked; 3506.10.50; 8205.59.55; EN 82.05; EN 85.16

Dear Mrs. O'Boyle:

This is in reference to DD 867186, a ruling issued to you by the District Director of Customs in San Diego, California, on September 26, 1991, concerning the tariff classification of a Trigger Glue Gun under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). This ruling is a reconsideration of DD 867186.


The article subject to this reconsideration is a Trigger Glue Gun. The glue gun, along with two sticks of glue, is packaged in a plastic, blister-type pack for retail sale to home hobbyists. According to the packaging, a glue stick is inserted through a tunnel in the back of the gun. The gun can then be plugged into either a 110 or 220 volt electrical outlet, which warms and softens the glue stick so that it will flow from the nozzle. The packaging states that the guns can be used for a variety of household uses. Pictures show the gun being used to fix toys and glue shells and flowers. The packaging further states that the guns are perfect for decorations, toys and models, furniture, woodworking, flooring and baseboards and artificial flowers.

In DD 867186, the glue gun and the glue were said to be

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classified separately in the following provisions: (1) the glue gun was found classifiable under subheading 8205.59.55, HTSUS, which describes other handtools; and (2) the glue was found to be classifiable under subheading 3506.10.50, HTSUS, which describes prepared glues and other prepared adhesives. We have considered classification of the glue gun under Heading 8516, HTSUS, which provides for other portable, electrothermic domestic appliances, and classification of the glue gun and the glue together as a "set" according to GRI 3(b).


1. Whether the glue guns are classifiable as handtools under Heading 8205, HTSUS, or as domestic, electrothermic appliances under Heading 8516, HTSUS.

2. Whether the glue gun and glue, which are packaged in a plastic, blister-type pack, are classifiable as a "set" under the HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

Regarding the first issue, the competing headings are as follows: Heading 8205, HTSUS, which provides for "[h]andtools . . . not elsewhere specified or included," and Heading 8516, HTSUS, which provides for "other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes . . . ."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, they provide a commentary on the scope of each note and heading of the Harmonized System, and are thus useful in ascertaining classification under the System.

EN 82.05, pg. 1107, states that Heading 8205, HTSUS, "covers all hand tools not included in other headings of this Chapter or elsewhere in the Nomenclature . . ., together with certain other tools or appliances specifically mentioned in the title [emphasis in original]." Because the glue gun is not specifically mentioned in Heading 8205, HTSUS, it is necessary to determine if the article is included elsewhere in the

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EN 85.16, pg. 1359, states that Heading 8516, HTSUS, "includes all electro-thermic machines and appliances provided they are normally used in the household [emphasis in original]," such as, hair dryers, microwave ovens, coffee or tea makers, toasters, plate warmers, face dryers, bed warmers, bottle heaters, jacketed urns for heating milk, soup or the like, and perfume or incense heaters. The glue gun is an electrothermic appliance that is normally used in the household for making decorations, and fixing toys, models, furniture and woodworking. Thus, we find that the holding in DD 867186 was incorrect. The glue gun is classifiable under subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS, which provides for "other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes . . . [o]ther electrothermic appliances . . . [o]ther."

Regarding the second issue, in DD 867186, the glue was said to be classified separately under subheading 3506.10.50, HTSUS, which provides for "[p]repared glues and other prepared adhesives, not elsewhere specified or included; products suitable for use as glues or adhesives, put up for retail sale as glues or adhesives, not exceeding a net weight of 1 kg . . . [p]roducts suitable for use as glues or adhesives . . . [o]ther." The glue is prima facie classifiable under Heading 3506, HTSUS, and the glue gun is prima facie classifiable under Heading 8516, HTSUS.

GRI 3(b) states that "[w]hen, by the application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which 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 [underlining added]."

The Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b), pg. 4, state that "[f]or the purposes of this Rule, the term 'goods put up in sets for retail sale' shall be taken to mean goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings . . .; - 4 -

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards) [emphasis in original]."

The articles in question meet part (a) of the above stated test, as the glue guns and the glue are classifiable in separate headings. The articles also meet part (b) of the test--the glue gun and the glue are packaged together in a plastic, blister- type pack and they are used to carry out a specific activity. Finally, the articles meet part (c) of the test, as the goods are suitable for direct sale without repacking.

Because the articles are "goods put up in sets for retail sale," it is necessary to determine which component--the glue gun or the glue--gives the set its essential character. Essential character may be "determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods." EN to GRI 3(b), pg. 4. All of these factors support a finding that the essential character of the set is represented by the glue gun. Thus, the set is classifiable under subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS.


The glue gun and the glue are classifiable in subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS, which provides for "other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes . . . [o]ther electrothermic appliances . . . [o]ther." The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 5.3% ad valorem.


This notice to you should be considered a modification of DD 867186, dated September 26, 1991, under section 177.9(d) of the Customs Regulations [19 CFR 177.9(d)]. It is not to be applied retroactively to DD 867186 [19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)], and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of the merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions involving merchandise of this type, DD 867186 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it.

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If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

cc: District Director, San Diego
Chief, NIS Division, Branch 1, New York Seaport