In ruling NY N312893 (July 10, 2020), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the classification of a garden weeding robot. The Tertill™ Model T1 – Garden Weeding Robot is designed to remove weeds from gardens in two ways.  As it moves and turns in the garden, the robot’s wheels scrub the soil, which in turn damages weed sprouts and prevents growth.  The robot also cuts emerging weeds with a nylon string that is affixed to the bottom of the robot.  The string spins rapidly and cuts the weed in place.  The weeding robot is battery operated and weighs approximately 5lbs, with an 11.7” diameter and 7.2” in height.  The battery is solar powered and the robot also incorporates a supplemental USB charging port.

The weeding robot will be imported in a box along with protective plant collars, a wheel wrench and spare nylon weed whacker strings.  In its imported condition, the Tertill™ Model T1 is classified as a “set” pursuant to General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(b). GRI 3(b) states that “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”.  Although sold in a box with plant collars, a wrench, and spare nylon weed whacker stings, CBP states that the robot imparts the essential character of the set. 

CBP determined that the applicable subheading for the Tertill™ Model T1 – Garden Weeding Robot is be 8432.29.0080, HTSUS, which provides for agricultural, horticultural or forestry machinery for soil preparation or cultivation; lawn or sports ground rollers; parts thereof: …harrows, scarifiers, cultivators, weeders, and hoes: other… cultivators, weeders and hoes: other.  The general rate of duty will be free.

Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 8432.29.0080, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty.  At the time of importation, the Chapter 99 subheading, 9903.88.02, in addition to subheading 8432.29.0080, HTSUS, must be reported.