Ms. Ashley Gray
Blue Sky The Color of Imagination
410 Exchange, Suite 250 Irvine, CA 92602

RE:  The tariff classification of a metal clip with pen holder from China

Dear Ms. Gray:

In your letter dated August 8, 2023, you requested a tariff classification ruling. Product descriptions and photographs of the metal clip with pen holder were provided for our review.

The article under consideration is identified as a metal clip with pen holder. The article is comprised of a metal clip made of brass that is attached to a loop made of polyurethane (PU). The loop is secured to the clip with two brass fasteners. You stated in your letter that “The intended use for this item is to slide the metal clip onto the cover of a date planner, journal or notebook and to use the looped material to hold a writing utensil such as a pen or pencil. The metal clip is not intended to hold any pages together, or to be used as a bookmark…This item will be packaged in a poly bag with a header card when imported into the United States.”

The metal clip with pen holder is comprised of brass and PU components that are classified in different headings.  Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation GRIs), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Since no one heading in the tariff schedule covers the brass and PU components that comprise the metal clip with pen holder in combination, GRI 1 cannot be used as a basis for classification. GRI 3(b) provides that mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.

As the metal clip with pen holder is a composite article, we must apply rule GRI 3(b), which provides that composite goods are to be classified according to the component that gives the goods their essential character. EN VIII to GRI 3(b) explains that “the factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or the use of the goods.” We must determine whether the brass or PU component imparts the essential character to the metal clip with pen holder. It is the role of the constituent materials or components in relation to the use of the good that imparts the essential character. In this case, based on the breakdown of materials by weight and value, the brass predominates by weight and value over the PU. Therefore, it is the opinion of this office that the brass imparts the essential character to the composite article. In accordance with GRI 3(b), the metal clip with pen holder will be classified under heading 7419, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of copper.

The applicable subheading for the metal clip with pen holder, will be 7419.80.5050, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of copper, other, other…other. The 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 at

Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 7419.80.5050, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, in addition to subheading 7419.80.5050, HTSUS, listed above.

The HTSUS is subject to periodic amendment so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Note cited above and the applicable Chapter 99 subheading. For background information regarding the trade remedy initiated pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, you may refer to the relevant parts of the USTR and CBP websites, which are available at and, respectively.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, whether directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. In the event that the facts are modified in any way, or if the goods do not conform to these facts at time of importation, you should bring this to the attention of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and submit a request for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2. Additionally, we note that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by CBP.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs and Border Protection 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, please contact National Import Specialist Ann Taub at [email protected].


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division