Mr. Ray Reel
National Pen Tennessee
342 Shelbyville Mills Road
Shelbyville, TN 37160
RE: The tariff classification of a ballpoint pen and flashlight component with clip from China
Dear Mr. Reel:
In your letter dated April 30, 2013, you requested a tariff classification ruling.
The submitted samples are identified as a twist-action ball point pen and a working flashlight clip end. The pen is comprised of a white molded plastic barrel which is mostly hollow and attached to a black grip portion on the lower part of the pen that is rubber-like in texture. At the end of the grip that is opposite to the end that is attached to the white barrel is a clear plastic tip. There is a small ball point pen cartridge that extends through the clear tip, black grip and a small portion of the white barrel. The part of the cartridge that is near the ball point, within the clear tip, is inserted through a metal spring. The ball point pen cartridge is extended and retracted by twisting the black grip and white barrel in opposite directions. There is an aperture at the top of the barrel, which is opposite the writing end, so that the hollow interior is visible through that end
The working flashlight clip end has a sliding switch that turns the flashlight on and off. The top of the flashlight is inserted through a pen clip. The pen will be supplied by one Chinese supplier and the flashlight clip end will be supplied by another Chinese supplier. The two articles will be imported separately and therefore will be presented under two separate entries. After importation, the pen barrel will be decorated according to your customer’s specifications and then the bottom portion of the flashlight clip end will be inserted into the aperture at the top of the pen barrel to assemble the two articles into one completed twist-action ball point pen with a working flashlight clip end.
You have suggested that the twist-action ball point pen and the flashlight clip end should each be classified in subheading 9608.99.4000 as pen parts. However, we do not agree that the two imported items are correctly classified in the subheading that you have suggested. General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 2(a) states the following:
“Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.”
Although the flashlight clip end will be inserted into the aperture at the top of the pen barrel after importation to complete the item, the twist-action ball point pen, as imported, is a working ball point pen without the flashlight and clip. Therefore, the twist-action ball point pen will be classified as a complete ball point pen, according to GRI 2(a).
Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c) states the following: “…a provision for ‘parts’ or ‘parts and accessories’ shall not prevail over a specific provision for such part or accessory.” Therefore the flashlight clip end will be classified as a flashlight.
The applicable subheading for the working flashlight clip end will be 8513.10.2000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for flashlights. The rate of duty will be 12.5 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the twist-action ball point pen will be 9608.10.0000, HTSUS, which provides for ball point pens. The rate of duty will be 0.8 cents each plus 5.4 percent ad valorem.
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 http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
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 Gary Kalus at (646) 733-3055.
Thomas J. Russo
National Commodity Specialist Division