Mr. Joe Butvin
General Manager
NAFCO Fastening Systems
18751 Sheldon Road
Middleburg Heights, OH 44130

RE: The tariff classification of a hand held hydro-pneumatic tool from Italy.

Dear Mr. Butvin:

In your letter dated July 24, 2008, you requested a tariff classification ruling for a hand held hydro-pneumatic tool.

You state that this tool (model numbers SP912, SP998 and SP999) is specifically designed to install metal blind rivet nut fasteners. You further state that the rivet nuts are typically installed into such material as steel tubing, aluminum extrusions and sheet metal shapes. The tool operates by pushing the rivet nut against the tool mandrel which automatically threads it onto the nose cone. The operator then holds the tool perpendicular to the hole in which the rivet nut is to be installed. Pulling the trigger in half way causes the rivet nut to be installed. The rivet nut then collapses on the backside of the material it is being installed into. The tool will automatically reverse out of the hole by retracting the trigger.

The applicable subheading for the hand held hydro-pneumatic tool (model numbers SP912, SP998 and SP999) will be 8467.89.1000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for Tools for working in the hand, pneumatic, hydraulic or with self-contained electric or non-electric motor, parts thereof: Other tools: Other: Suitable for metal working. The rate of duty will be free.

Consideration was given to your proposed classification of subheading 8467.11.50, HTSUS, which provides for Tools for working in the hand, pneumatic, hydraulic or with self-contained electric or nonelectric motor, and parts thereof: Pneumatic: Rotary type (including combined rotary-percussion): Other. Merchandise is classified in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6. GRI 6 states, in relevant part that, for legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes and, by appropriate substitution of terms, to GRIs 1 through 5, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. GRI 6 is the legal authority for classifying the goods in the subheadings of a heading by applying GRIs 1 through 5, with appropriate substitution of terms.

This office does not dispute the fact that the tools in question are classifiable in heading 8467, HTSUS. It is the relative merits of subheadings at the same level within the single 8467 heading that must be considered. The level 1 subheadings under consideration are 8467.11, HTSUS, which provides for rotary type pneumatic tools for working in the hand, and 8467.89, HTSUS, which provides for tools for working in the hand other than pneumatic or with self-contained electric motor. The tools in question are neither solely pneumatic nor solely hydraulic. Rather both processes are needed in order for the tools to function properly. Thus, subheading 8467.11, HTSUS, would not be appropriate as it only provides for hand held tools which operate pneumatically.

Turning to subheading 8467.89, HTSUS, we find that this subheading is itself further subdivided into level 2 subheading 8467.89.10, HTSUS, which provides for hand held tools operated by means other than pneumatic or with self-contained motor which are suitable for metal working, and level 2 subheading 8467.89.50, HTSUS, which provides for those which are not suitable for metal working. The language of the subheadings differentiates between other “tools that are suitable for metal working” and “other” tools. The courts have ruled that the term “suitable for use” means “actually, practically and commercially fit” for such use. [United States v. Amerman & Paterson, et al., 9 CT. Cust. Appls. 244 (1919).] The action of the tool screw mandrel pulling on the rivet nut threads as the rivet nut is retracted by the hydraulic system causes the unthreaded counter-bore section of the rivet nut to collapse (or deform) behind the parent material. This action is interpreted as a form of metal working. Under the authority of GRI 1, applied at the subheading level by GRI 6, the merchandise in question is provided for in subheading 8467.89.1000, HTSUS.

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

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 Patricia O’Donnell at 646-733-3011.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division