CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962218 JAS
Farmington Industrial Park
Farmington, CT 06032
RE: ProfiWeld Welding System; Laser Welding Machine
Dear Ms. Scanlon:
In letters to Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated August 21 and September 4, 1998, you request a ruling on the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of the Haas ProfiWeld Welding System, a product of Germany. Your letters, with accompanying literature, have been referred to this office for reply. We regret the delay in responding.
The Haas ProfiWeld Welding System (the System) is a 40-watt, welding machine used for the manual spot welding of small objects. It consists of the laser head, air cooling and exhaust systems, gas supply, and welding chamber, together with a binocular eyepiece with 25 power magnification. While looking through the eyepiece, the user holds and manually positions the piece to be worked, then depresses a foot switch which activates the laser beam. This apparatus is typically used by jewelers to remove porosity holes in cast jewelry and to weld chain jewelry. The literature states the System can be fitted with a CCD camera or be software-controlled to ensure consistency of the laser spot size. However, the literature cautions that modifications to the System will be the responsibility of the user and may void the warranty.
- 2 -
You state that Customs officers in Hartford, CT, recommended you seek a ruling to resolve the issue of whether the System is a laser welding machine of heading 8515, HTSUS, or a laser of heading 9013, HTSUS. You informed a member of my staff by telephone that this inquiry relates to a prospective transaction, and that no entries are currently pending at Hartford.
The provisions under consideration are as follows:
8515 ...laser...welding machines and apparatus, whether or not capable of cutting;...:
8515.80.00 Other machines and apparatus
* * * *
9013 ...lasers, other than laser diodes; other optical appliances and instruments...:
9013.20.00 Lasers, other than laser diodes
Whether the Haas ProfiWeld Welding System has been adapted to perform a laser welding function.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).
- 3 -
In accordance with Section XVI, Note 1(m), HTSUS, goods of Chapter 90 are excluded from Chapter 85. Therefore, if the System is within the description in heading 9013, HTSUS, it cannot be classified in heading 8515. In this respect, relevant ENs at p. 1600 state that in addition to the gas or other lasing medium, an energy source, and optical reflector system, lasers of heading 9013 generally also incorporate certain auxiliary components, for example, a power supply, a cooling system, a control unit, and gas supply system. Some of these auxiliary components may be contained in the same housing as the laser head, or be connected to the laser head by cables. However, the ENs exclude from heading 9013 lasers which have been adapted to perform quite specific functions by adding ancillary equipment consisting of special devices (e.g., work-tables, work-holders, devices for feeding and positioning the work pieces, a means of observing and checking the progress of the operation, etc.) and which, therefore, are identifiable as working machines. The heading also excludes machines and appliances incorporating lasers.
In this case, except for the binocular eyepiece, the System lacks special devices of the type described in the referenced ENs which would identify it as a working machine of the type described by heading 8515. See HQ 089170, dated January 4, 1993, for a further discussion of ancillary equipment which would identify a laser of heading 9013 as a working machine of another heading. The System is described by heading 9013. Section XVI, Note 1(m), HTSUS, therefore precludes heading 8515 from consideration.
Under the authority of GRI 1, the Haas ProfiWeld Welding System is provided for in heading 9013. It is classifiable in subheading 9013.20.00, HTSUS.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division