CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966038 DSS
Ms. Jenny Davenport
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 Southwest 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716
RE: Modification of NY I84002; alkaline batteries
Dear Ms. Davenport:
This letter is pursuant to Customs reconsideration of New York ruling (NY) I84002, dated July 24, 2002, which was issued to you by the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division with respect to the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of several articles, including alkaline batteries. After review of NY I84002, Customs has determined that the classification of alkaline batteries under subheading 8506.80.00, HTSUS, was incorrect.
Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modification) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), a notice was published on December 4, 2002, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 36, Number 49, proposing to modify NY I84002. No comments were received in response to this notice.
In NY I84002, Customs described several articles, including two AA-alkaline batteries. In NY I84002, Customs classified the subject alkaline batteries under subheading, 8506.80.00, HTSUS, which provides for “Primary cells and primary batteries; . . . Other primary cells and primary batteries.”
What is the proper tariff classification for alkaline batteries?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.
In interpreting the headings and subheadings, Customs looks to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN). Although not legally binding, they provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. It is Customs practice to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the ENs when interpreting the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
Other Customs rulings have classified alkaline batteries under subheading 8506.10.00, HTSUS. See NY G82460, dated October 20, 2000, and NY I85737, dated September 6, 2002.
Thus, the HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
Primary cells and primary batteries; parts thereof:
8506.80.00 Other primary cells and primary batteries
Goods of heading 8506 generate electrical energy by means of chemical reactions. Primary cells of heading 8506 consist of a container holding an alkaline or non-alkaline electrolyte in which two electrodes, an anode and a cathode, are immersed. Each electrode is provided with a terminal or other arrangement for connection to an external circuit. Primary cells may be used individually or they may be grouped together in batteries, either in series, or in parallel or a combination of both. The principal characteristic of goods of heading 8506 is that they cannot be readily or efficiently recharged. Heading 8506 provides for a class of goods eo nominee, by name. See HQ 954373, dated September 14, 1993. Therefore, alkaline batteries are classified under heading 8506, HTSUS.
The EN for subheadings 8506.10, 8506.30 and 8506.40, (p. 1631), provides, in pertinent part “. . . Classification in these subheadings is determined by the composition of the cathode (depolarizing electrode) . . . .” Alkaline batteries generally contain cathodes composed of manganese dioxide. Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia (5th Ed. 1976) provides in pertinent part:
Alkaline Primary Cells. The electrochemical system of alkaline cells is comprised of a zinc anode of large surface area, a manganese dioxide cathode of high density, and a potassium-hydroxide electrolyte . . . Two principal features [of an alkaline battery] are a manganese dioxide cathode of high density in conjunction with a steel can which serves as a cathode current collector and a zinc anode of extra high surface area in contact with the electrolyte.
Therefore, because the cathode for alkaline batteries is made from manganese dioxide, the instant alkaline batteries are specifically provided for under subheading 8506.10.00, HTSUS.
In accordance with the above discussion, the correct classification for alkaline batteries is subheading 8506.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for “Primary cells and primary batteries; . . . Manganese dioxide.”
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY I84002 is MODIFIED. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after publication in the Customs Bulletin.
Myles B. Harmon
Commercial Rulings Division