Ms. Paula M. Connelly
Law Offices of Paula M. Connelly
67 South Bedford St., Suite 400 West
Burlington, MA 01803

RE: The tariff classification of two needle sets from Mexico

Dear Ms. Connelly:

In your letter dated January 20, 2017, you requested a classification ruling, on behalf of your client, Thermo Fisher Scientific (ASI), Inc., on two needle sets. The provided samples have been reviewed and will be returned. In your submission, you have described the first product (Part Number 07361) as a needle set consisting of plastic tubing (polyethylene) with a stainless steel needle attached. This needle set is intended to be used for the collection of blood from horseshoe crabs. The collected blood is later processed and separated to isolate components.

The second product (Part Number B102198-N) is described as a needle set consisting of a stainless steel needle, plastic tubing, and a one liter PVC bag. This product is intended to be used for the collection of blood from bovines. The collected blood is then further processed and separated for market research.

You have suggested classifying both products at issue under subheading 8205.59.5510, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “other handtools.” You have cited two rulings, which you believe substantiate this classification.  However, the items described in those rulings are not used to draw blood from live animals, and therefore are not similar to your products.  The term “handtool” is not defined by the HTSUS or the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs).  A tariff term that is not defined in the HTSUS or ENs is construed in accordance with its common and commercial meaning [see Nippon Kagaku (USA), Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982)].  Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources [see C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F.2d 1268 (1982)].  A lexicon definition of a "tool" is as follows: (1) an implement, especially one held in the hand, as a hammer, saw, file, etc., for performing or facilitating mechanical operations; (2) the cutting part of a lathe, drill, or similar machine; (3) the machine itself; a machine tool.  The needle sets (Part Number 07361, and Part Number B102198-N) do not meet the dictionary definition of a “tool” and therefore cannot be classified under heading 8205, HTSUS. 

The applicable subheading for both needle sets will be 9018.32.0000, HTSUS, which provides for Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, including scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments; parts and accessories thereof: Syringes, needles, catheters, cannulae and the like; parts and accessories thereof: Tubular metal needles and needles for sutures and parts and accessories thereof. 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 Nuccio Fera at [email protected].


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division