Ms. Lindsay B. Meyer
Venable LLP
575 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20004

RE: The tariff classification of the WaxVac from an unspecified country

Dear Ms. Meyer:

In your letter dated June 22, 2012 on behalf of Lenfest Media Group, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The WaxVac is a handheld, cordless, battery-operated suction device designed to clean the inside of a person’s ears by removing wax, moisture and dirt from the ear canal. The device is intended for removal of normal buildup from the ears of healthy individuals, not for use by people with impacted wax or other medical conditions. It is intended for home use.

The WaxVac is 4.72 inches in height, 1.8 inches in width, 3.94 inches in depth and weighs 2.6 ounces. The device features the following components: (1) a main body incorporating a self-contained electric motor, (2) a safety guard, (3) a nozzle, (4) a cap, (5) a filter, (6) an on/off switch, (7) a light and (8) a battery compartment (two AA batteries not included). The safety guard is designed to assist in limiting the depth the WaxVac tip penetrates the ear canal. Wax and other material removed from the ear is collected in the cap. The cap is then removed and emptied as necessary. The device comes packaged together with assorted soft tips and a cleaning brush.

General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, HTSUSA, 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.  Goods that are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, are classifiable in accordance with GRI 3, HTSUSA.  GRI 3(a) states in part that when two or more headings each refer to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific, even if one heading gives a more precise description of the good.

The instant good consists of at least two different articles that are, prima facie, classifiable in different subheadings.  It consists of articles put up together to carry out a specific activity (i.e., ear cleaning).   Finally, the articles are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.  Therefore, the good in question is within the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale."  GRI 3(b) states in part that goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), are to be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character.  It is the opinion of this office that the essential character of this set is imparted by the WaxVac cleaning device.

In your letter, you propose classifying the device in subheading 8508.19.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). This provision provides for vacuum cleaners with a self-contained electric motor having a power exceeding 1,500 W and a dust bag or other receptacle capacity exceeding 20 l. As the WaxVac’s motor power is below 1,500 W, classification in subheading 8508.19.0000, HTSUS, would not be appropriate.

The applicable subheading for the WaxVac will be 8508.11.0000, HTSUS, which provides for Vacuum cleaners; parts thereof: With self-contained electric motor: Of a power not exceeding 1,500 W and having a dust bag or other receptacle capacity not exceeding 20 l. The general rate of duty will be Free.

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.


Thomas J. Russo
National Commodity Specialist Division