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Microbiology Equipment Classified as Machine Part

Friday, January 04, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued ruling HQ H289239 classifying a cuvette as other parts of electrical machines with individual functions in HTSUS 8543.90.88 (1.3 percent duty).

The item at issue is a small tube with a circular or square cross section that is sealed at one end to hold samples for spectroscopic experiments. It is made of plastic, contains aluminum electrode plates, and has caps. It is used solely with electroporation machines and is specifically designed to work with two particular models with specifically designed chambers that enable the cuvettes to be inserted directly. 

According to CBP, electroporation is a technique used to create pores in cell membranes by applying an electrical field to increase the permeability of the cells and allow for the introduction of a substance into the cell. Cells are suspended in a liquid and placed within the cuvette, which is placed in the electroporator. There are electrical contacts within the electroporator that make contact with the electrodes on the side of the cuvette, creating an electromagnetic field in the cell solution that allows substances such as chemicals, drugs, or DNA to be introduced into the cells. 

CBP rejected the argument that the cuvette is a part of an instrument for analysis under HTSUS 9027 because the electroporation machines do not perform or facilitate a physical determination of the quantity, quantities, or composition of a substance. Instead, CBP states, the function of these machines is to deliver calibrated electrical pulses to cell samples, which they can do distinctly and independently of any other machine. As a result, they are properly classified as machines with individual functions and the cuvette, because it is integral to the operation of these machines and is dedicated for use solely with them, is properly classified as a part thereof.

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