CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087076 JMH

Mr. P. Kimball
Valve & Filter Corporation
8041 West 1-70 Frontage Road, #9
Arvada, Colorado 80002

RE: Reconsideration of Headquarters Ruling Letter 086211, dated March 24, 1990; butterfly valves

Dear Mr. Kimball:

This is in response to your April 6, 1990 letter requesting the reconsideration of Headquarters Ruling Letter 086211 ("HQ 086211"), dated March 24, 1990.


The articles in question are rubber encapsulated iron butterfly valves to be imported from France. The valves are to be used in agricultural irrigation systems. The items are manually operated only by a hand lever. The butterfly valves are in sizes of two inches, two and a half inches, three inches, four inches, six inches and eight inches.

HQ 086211 classified the butterfly valves within subheading 8481.80.30, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated ("HTSUSA"), as "Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances...including pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves..." However, HQ 086211 determined that the butterfly valves are "parts" of an agricultural irrigation system and "parts" are not provided for within heading 9817.00.50, HTSUSA. Heading 9817.00.50 describes "Machinery, equipment and implements to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes." Therefore, the butterfly valves were denied duty free treatment under heading 9817.00.50.

You do not contest the classification of the valves within subheading 8481.80.30. You dispute the denial of duty free treatment under heading 9871.00.50.



Whether the butterfly valves qualify for the special agricultural use duty exemption of heading 9817.00.50.


As stated in HQ 086211, the classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1, HTSUSA, requires that before an item may be classified under a heading, that item must first meet the terms of the heading.

The heading in question, heading 9817.00.50, provides duty free treatment to "Machinery, equipment and implements to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes." HQ 086211 provided definitions for the terms "machinery", "equipment" and "implement". In turn, you have provided your own definitions. The definitions quoted in HQ 086211 were meant to be instructive, not determinative of the issue.

The determinative factor in this classification is the intent of Congress. When Congress enacted the HTSUSA, two provisions were included that gave special treatment to articles used for agricultural and horticultural purposes. Heading 9817.00.50 is one of the provisions. The other provision is heading 9817.00.60, HTSUSA. Heading 9817.00.60 describes the following:

Parts to be used in articles provided for in headings 8432, 8433, 8434 and 8436, whether or not such parts are principally used as parts of such articles and whether or not covered by a specific provision within the meaning of additional U.S. rule of interpretation 1(c)... (emphasis added)

Headings 8432, 8433, 8434 and 8436 refer to specific types of agricultural and horticultural machinery.

This specificity of parts within heading 9817.00.60 establishes that Congress considered the issue of parts of machinery. Since heading 9817.00.50 has no reference to parts it appears that Congress did not intend for all items used as a part of agricultural or horticultural equipment to receive duty free treatment.

The test promulgated in HQ 086211 for the determination of when an item is "machinery, equipment, and implements" under heading 9817.00.50, addresses the terms of the heading. We do not find it flawed. Three steps must be met. They are:


(1) The article in question must not be excluded from the heading under Section XXII, Chapter 98, Subchapter XVII, U.S. Note 2, HTSUSA.

(2) The article to be classified must be the article that performs the agricultural or horticultural pursuit in question. If the article only performs a portion of that pursuit, it is a part, not machinery, equipment or an implement within the heading.

(3) The article must have the actual use certification required under 10 C.F.R. 10.138.

The butterfly valves are classified within subheading 8481.80.30. Subheading 8481.80.30 is not excluded from classification within heading 9817.00.50 by Section XXII, Chapter 98, Subchapter XVII, U.S. Note 2(t). The first prerequisite is met.

You state that the valves are to be used in irrigation systems. The valves, by themselves, do not perform irrigation. They are parts of a larger irrigation system. Although the valves are used in agricultural and horticultural pursuits, they are only parts used in such a pursuit. "Parts" are not included within heading 9817.00.50. This office does not have the authority to rewrite legislation enacted by Congress. Therefore, the butterfly valves are denied the duty exemption.


The butterfly valves imported from France are parts of an irrigation system, used for agricultural or horticultural purposes. "Parts" are not included within heading 9817.00.50. Therefore, the butterfly valves are denied the duty exemption provided under heading 9817.00.50.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division