CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952239 LTO

Mr. Leo Bertrand
ABI Shipping
153-04 Rockaway Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Jamaica, New York 11434

RE: Electric Floor Mats; EN 84.79; EN 85.43; Note 1(a) to Chapter 85

Dear Mr. Bertrand:

This is in response to your letter of May 5, 1992, requesting the classification of electric floor mats under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter was referred to this office for a response.

FACTS:

The articles in question are plastic, electric floor mats. The mats are plastic grids with resistance wire intertwined within. They are used in commercial areas where the environment must be cold, such as, butcher shops, packing plants, warehouses, ice factories and ski lodges. The mats work on alternating current, although the importer also intends to import a battery operated model for use at football games or on a vessel.

ISSUE:

Whether the electric floor mats are specifically provided for in the HTSUS.

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ." Heading 8543, HTSUS, provides for "[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having

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individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. EN 85.43, pg. 1402, states that Heading 8543, HTSUS, "covers all electrical appliances and apparatus, not falling in any other heading of this Chapter, nor covered more specifically by a heading of any other Chapter of the Nomenclature, nor excluded by the operation of a Legal Note to Section XVI or to this Chapter [emphasis in original]."

The electrical appliances of Heading 8543, HTSUS, must have individual functions. The ENs to Heading 8479, HTSUS ("[m]achines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter"), pg. 1314, which apply mutatis mutandis to the appliances of Heading 8543, HTSUS, state that the following are machines having "individual functions":

Mechanical devices, with or without motors or other driving force, whose function can be performed distinctly from and independently of any other machine or appliance.

The articles in question are electrical devices whose function, to keep a person's feet warm and free of frost, can be performed independently of any other machine or appliance.

The electric floor mats are not covered by any other Heading of Chapter 85, nor more specifically in any other Chapter of the Nomenclature. In reaching this conclusion, we recognize that Note 1(a) to Chapter 85 states that electrically warmed blankets, bed pads, foot-muffs and the like are not covered by this chapter. However, it is our opinion that the mats under consideration are not akin to any of these exemplars, and therefore, the mats are not excluded from classification in Chapter 85. The mats are classifiable under Heading 8543, HTSUS, specifically under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS.

HOLDING:

The electric floor mats are classifiable under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for "[e]lectrical machines and

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apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter . . . [o]ther machines and apparatus . . . [o]ther." The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 3.9% ad valorem.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division