CLA-2 RR:CTF:TCM 967975 JAS
John C. Sciaccotta, Esq.
Shefsky & Froelich
111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2800
Chicago, Illinois 60601
RE: MCI 711, MCI 721 Crimping Presses; NY L85348 Affirmed
Dear Mr. Sciaccotta:
In a letter to the Customs Information Exchange, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), New York, dated September 22, 2005, on behalf of Komax Corporation, you request reconsideration of a ruling issued to the client on the classification of certain wire crimping modules, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Descriptive literature and an affidavit from a Komax staff member were included. Your letter has been referred to this office for reply.
In NY L85348, which the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, CBP, New York, issued to a representative of Komax on June 24, 2005, two wire crimping presses, the mci 711 and mci 721, were held to be classifiable under the provision for other bending, folding, straightening or flattening machine tools (including presses), in subheading 8462.29.8055, HTSUSA. For the reasons that follow, you maintain that subheading 8479.89.9897, HTSUSA, machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84], represents the correct classification.
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The mci 711 and mci 721 are crimping presses described in the literature as ideal processing stations for all Komax fully automatic crimping machines.
These modules can process wires up to 6mm2 with maximum crimping force of 20kN. Powered by brushless servomotors, the mci 711 and mci 721 can be used as stand-alone machines. In addition, they are often used with wire processing machines which process a wide range of cables and other insulated copper wire products by cutting the wire, stripping off insulation, and crimping contacts, connectors or terminals to the exposed end of the wire. The processed wires are installed in wire harnesses for use typically in the automotive and home appliance industries. The mci 711 and mci 721 crimp contacts, connectors or terminals to the ends of the bare wire. Neither module, however, is imported with a precast die which is necessary to crimp the metal contacts to the wire ends.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
[m]achine tools (including presses) for working metal by bending, folding, straightening, flattening, shearing, punching or notching;…:
Bending, folding, straightening or flattening machines
* * * *
Machines and mechanical appliances, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84];…:
Other machines and mechanical appliances:
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Whether the mci 711 and mci 721 are incomplete or unfinished bending or folding machine tools of heading 8462.
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.
GRI 2(a) states, in part, that any reference in a heading to an article shall include that article incomplete or unfinished provided that, as imported, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs and Border Protection (or CBP, as appropriate) believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).
You maintain that the mci 711 and mci 721 are classifiable as machines or mechanical appliances of heading 8479 and make the following arguments in support of this classification. In describing machinery of general use, the 84.79 ENs provide for presses not designed for particular goods or industries. You contend that without the precast die necessary to crimp the metal contacts to the wire ends, the mci 711 and mci 721 constitute such generic presses. You also contend that the mci 711 and mci 721 are not similar to any of the exemplars in the 84.62 ENs. In addition, you cite several CBP rulings that purportedly support your proposed classification. NY 859752, dated February 11, 1991, classified a terminal crimping machine, said to be substantially similar to the modules at issue here, in subheading 8479.89.9090, HTSUSA. Also, in a factual situation analogous to the one here HQ 962945, dated September 17, 1999, classified
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welding robots, each consisting of an articulated structure similar to an arm, on a base, with stand-alone process controller and software, but without welding heads, in subheading 8479.50.00, HTSUS.
Initially, the Gamma 333 PC automated, numerically controlled wire processing machine, of which the mci 711 and mci 721 crimping modules are advertised as “ideal processing stations,” is classifiable in subheading 8462.21.8085, HTSUSA, as other bending and folding machine tools. See
HQ 967974, addressed to you on February 17, 2006. The referenced affidavit from a Komax staff member essentially attests to the manner of operation of the Gamma 333 and the mci 711 and mci 721 crimping modules.
We agree that the heading 84.79 EN, (I) MACHINERY OF GENERAL USE, under (2), identifies presses not designed for particular goods or industries. However, by its terms, heading 8479 provides for machines and mechanical appliances that are not provided for more specifically in chapter 84. The 84.79 ENs limit the heading even further by excluding machines and mechanical appliances that are covered elsewhere in the HTSUS. Your contentions concerning the 84.62 ENs and the import of NY 859752, dated February 11, 1991, were addressed in HQ 967974, supra, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein. Finally, the merchandise in HQ 962945 was sought to be classified as a functional unit in accordance with Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS. The finding in that ruling was based on the conclusion that there is no legal authority that provides for incomplete or unfinished functional units. The mci 711 and mci 721 do not qualify as functional units. Moreover, HQ 962945 and numerous others that stated this erroneous tariff concept were revoked, effective 60 days after the final notice of modification and revocation was published in the Customs Bulletin. See Customs Bulletin, dated July 31, 2002, Volume 36, Number 31 and cases cited therein.
Initially, the 84.62 ENs describe bending machines for working flat products either by means of forming rollers or by press bending, and folding machines for working non-flat products in which the folding is akin to forming. There is no dispute that the term “crimping” connotes a type of forming, the term crimp being defined generally as “a: to form into a desired shape…c: to pinch or press together…in order to seal.” See www.britannica.com/dictionary. In addition, the terms crimp, close, and fold are synonymous terms. See
www.thesaurus. reference.com. HQ 967974, supra. Clearly, then, crimping machines perform a forming function and qualify as bending or folding machine tools of heading 8462.
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The central issue, therefore, is whether the mci 711 and mci 721 crimping presses, imported without precast dies necessary to crimp the metal contacts to the bare wire ends, constitute incomplete or unfinished bending or folding machine tools under GRI 2(a), HTSUS. The term essential character under Rule 2(a) applies to articles that are imported substantially complete. CBP has consistently interpreted the term to mean the attribute that serves to distinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure, core or condition of
the good; the aggregate of distinctive component parts that establishes the identity of an article as what it is, its very essence. For example, complete motor vehicles minus engine and transmission are classifiable as motor vehicles of heading 8703, HTSUS, incomplete or unfinished. See HQ 967894, dated October 26, 2005. Microwave oven modules for a combination microwave/ convection ovens, minus the operating controls and plug and cord, are classifiable as electrothermic household appliances of heading 8516, incomplete or unfinished. See HQ 956226, dated September 13, 1994. Three-wheeled, battery-operated, motorized carts for carrying a golf bag with clubs, consisting of the frame, carry platform, motor and controls, minus the rear wheels and battery, are classifiable as motor vehicles for the transport of goods, in heading 8704, incomplete or unfinished. See HQ 962985, dated December 13, 1999. In each case, the imported assembly was found to represent a substantially complete article.
The mci 711 and mci 721 crimping presses are complete and fully operational in every respect, lacking only the precast die. Though this die performs a significant function, under the analysis in the above-cited cases, these presses are substantially complete machine tools. The mci 711 and mci 721 crimping presses, as imported, are the aggregate of distinctive component parts that establishes the identity of the articles as what they are, bending and folding machine tools of heading 8462.
Under the authority of GRI 1, the mci 711 and mci 721 crimping presses are provided for in heading 8462. They are classifiable in subheading 8462.29.8085, HTSUSA, as other bending, folding, straightening or flattening machines.
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EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY L85348, dated June 24, 2005, is affirmed.
Gail A. Hamill
for Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division