Mr. Mark S. Stepien
Assistant Port Director
Detroit Metropolitan Airport
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
2596 World Gateway Place
Detroit, MI 48242

Re: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3801-08-100284; Trigger Sprayer

Dear Mr. Stepien:

This letter is in reference to the Application for Further Review (“AFR”) of Protest No. 3801-08-100284, timely filed on May 9, 2008, on behalf of The Bottle Crew, LLC (“Bottle Crew”). The AFR concerns the classification of a trigger sprayer under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”).


The protest at issue involves five entries of merchandise described as a “trigger sprayer”; a device composed of a trigger, a nozzle, an internal spring, a plastic tube, and a bottle cap, which fits a plastic bottle. The device is designed to spray liquid after the user squeezes the hand-operated trigger to raise the liquid upward through a plastic tube, through its valves, and out of the nozzle. The nozzle may be adjusted to disable or enable the trigger sprayer, or to control the pattern in which the liquid is released from the nozzle. In the entries at issue, the trigger sprayers were imported without bottles.  Protestant entered the merchandise between October 10, 2007 and November 26, 2007 under subheading 8413.20.00, HTSUS. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) liquidated the entries under subheading 8424.20.10, HTSUS on January 18, 2008 and February 1, 2008. The importer filed this protest and AFR on May 9, 2008, claiming that the correct classification of the trigger sprayer is under subheading 8413.20.00, HTSUS or, alternatively, under subheading 8424.89.00, HTSUS.


Is the trigger sprayer classified under heading 8413, HTSUS, as “[p]umps for liquids” or under heading 8424, HTSUS, as “[m]echanical appliances . . . for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids?” LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Initially, we note that the matter protested is protestable under 19 U.S.C. § 1514(a)(2), as a decision on classification. The protest was timely filed within 180 days of liquidation for entries made on or after December 18, 2004. (Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108-429, § 2103(2)(B) (codified as amended at 19 U.S.C. § 1514(c)(3) (2006)).

Further Review of Protest No. 3801-08-100284 is properly accorded to Protestant pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 174.24(a) because the decision against which the protest was filed “[i]s alleged to be inconsistent with a ruling of the Commissioner of Customs or his designee, or with a decision made at any port with respect to the same or substantially similar merchandise.” Protestant specifically cites to New York Ruling Letter (“NY”) L89330, dated February 8, 2006, NY M86492, dated September 22, 2006, and Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HQ”) 956522, dated August 29, 1994.

Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). The systematic detail of the HTSUS is such that most goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, 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 2007 HTSUS provisions under consideration are the following:

Pumps for liquids, whether or not fitted with a measuring device; liquid elevators; part thereof: * * *

8413.20.00 Hand pumps, other than those of subheading 8413.11 or 8413.19

* * *

8424 Mechanical appliances (whether or not hand operated) for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders; fire extinguishers, whether or not charged; spray guns and similar appliances; steam or sand blasting machines and similar jet projecting machines; parts thereof:

* * *

Spray guns and similar appliances:

Simple piston pump sprays and powder bellows

* * *

Other appliances: * * *

8424.89.00 Other

In addition, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”), while not binding law, are the “official interpretation” of the Harmonized System at the international level and “provide a commentary on the scope of each heading” of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (Aug. 23, 1989); see also, Len-Ron Mfg. Co. v. United States, 334 F.3d 1304, 1309 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (noting that Explanatory Notes are “intended to clarify the scope of HTSUS subheadings and to offer guidance in their interpretation”).

EN 84.24 states, in pertinent part: This heading covers machines and appliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying steam, liquids or solid materials (e.g., sand, powders, granules, grit or metallic abrasives) in the form of a jet, a dispersion (whether or not in drips) or a spray. * * *

EN 84.13 states, in pertinent part:

This heading covers most machines and appliances for raising or otherwise continuously displacing volumes of liquids (including molten metal and wet concrete), whether they are operated by hand or by any kind of power unit, integral or otherwise. * * *


These use the linear suction or forcing action of a piston or plunger driven within a cylinder, the inlet and outlet being regulated by valves. “Single-acting” pumps utilise the thrust or suction of one end of the piston only; . . . In simple “lift” pumps the liquid is merely raised by suction and discharged against atmospheric pressure.


Spray guns and similar hand controlled appliances are usually designed for attaching to compressed air or steam lines, and are also connected, either directly or through a conduit, with a reservoir of the material to be projected. They are fitted with triggers or other valves for controlling the flow through the nozzle, which is usually adjustable to give a jet or more or less divergent spray. They are used for spraying paint or distemper, varnishes, oils, plastics, cement, metallic powders, textile dust, etc.

Like the machines and appliances described in heading 8424, HTSUS, and EN 84.24, the trigger sprayer is used to spray liquids through an adjustable nozzle that controls the pattern in which the liquid is released. As such, the good is provided for in heading 8424, HTSUS, as a “[m]echanical appliance[] … for spraying liquids.”

Subheading 8424.20, HTSUS, provides, in relevant part, for: “[s]pray guns and similar appliances.” The term “[s]pray gun[]” is not defined by the tariff. A tariff term may be defined by its common, or commercial, meaning. Rocknel Fastener, Inc. v. United States, 267 F.3d 1354, 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2001). “To

ascertain the common meaning of a term, a court may consult ‘dictionaries, scientific authorities, and other reliable information sources' and ‘lexicographic and other materials.’” Id. at 1356-57 (quoting C.J. Tower & Sons of Buffalo, Inc. v. United States, 673 F.2d 1268, 1271 (Fed. Cir. 1982); and Simod Am. Corp. v. United States, 872 F.2d 1572, 1576 (Fed. Cir. 1989)).

The term “spray gun” is defined as “an apparatus resembling a gun for applying substances (as paints or insecticides) in the form of a spray.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 2208 (3rd ed. 1993). Similarly, the trigger sprayer is a gun-shaped apparatus designed to spray liquid by channeling it from a bottle to the head of the sprayer through a plastic tube (the conduit), and is fitted with a trigger and valves to control the flow through its nozzle. It follows from the above that the good is described by the terms of subheading 8424.20, HTSUS, as a “[s]pray gun[].”

The device contains a piston pump, which is defined as “a pump having a reciprocating piston operating in a cylinder so as to impart motion and pressure to the fluid by direct displacement.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1724 (3rd ed. 1993). As such, it is specifically provided for as a spray gun with a “[s]imple piston pump spray,” under subheading 8424.20.10, HTSUS. Articles similar to the subject merchandise have been classified under 8424.20.10, HTSUS. See NY A89301 (November 18, 1996); NY N085605 (December 18, 2009); and NY N055160 (May 14, 2009).

Protestant argues that the good is a hand-operated lift pump classified under heading 8413, HTSUS, which provides in pertinent part for “[p]umps for liquids”. A “pump” is defined as “a device or machine that raises, transfers, or compresses fluids or that attenuates gases esp. by suction or pressure or both.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1841 (3rd ed. 1993). Similarly, the “hand pump”, or specifically, the “simple ‘lift’ pump” discussed in EN 84.13(A) and referenced by Protestant, raises liquid and “discharge[s]” it without projecting, dispersing or spraying it. As a device used to spray liquids, the trigger sprayer is precluded from classification under heading 8413, HTSUS. See EN 84.13 (heading 8413, HTSUS, excludes “[a]ppliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids (heading 84.24)).”

Finally, the merchandise classified under heading 8413, HTSUS, in the rulings cited by the Protestant are distinguishable from the subject merchandise. The devices classified in NY L89330 were pump mechanisms that upon importation would be combined with additional components to create dispensers for perfume and personal care products. Likewise, the device classified in NY M86492 was a hand-operated pump used to transfer water from bottle to a drinking cup. The goods classified in those two rulings did not project, disperse or spray liquids or powders. As such, they were properly classified under heading 8413, HTSUS.

The trigger sprayer is also distinguishable from the hand-operated liquid soap dispenser at issue in HQ 956522, which consisted of a plastic housing containing a plastic soap reservoir and a simple, piston-type, hand-activated dispensing pump. CBP properly classified the liquid soap dispenser under 8424.89.00, HTSUS, because it was an appliance that sprayed, projected or dispersed a liquid and it was not a spray gun. We noted in that ruling that “[t]he dispenser [was] not simply a pump – it incorporates one.”

Inasmuch as the merchandise is specifically provided for in subheading 8424.20.10, HTSUS, as a “[s]imple piston pump spray[],” it is precluded from classification under the general subheading 8424.89.00, HTSUS, as an “[o]ther appliance[].”


By application of GRI 1, the trigger sprayer is classified under heading 8424, HTSUS, and specifically, under subheading 8424.20.10, HTSUS, which provides for: “[m]echanical appliances . . . for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids . . . : Spray guns and similar appliances: Simple piston pump sprays.” The 2007 column one, general rate of duty is 2.9% ad valorem.

You are instructed to DENY the protest. In accordance with Sections IV and VI of the CBP Protest/Petition Processing Handbook (HB 3500-08A, December 2007, pp. 24 and 26), you are to mail this decision, together with the CBP Form 19, to the Protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of International Trade, Regulations and Rulings, will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the internet at, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division