CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 956586 JAS

District Director of Customs
1 East Bay Street, Rm 104
Savannah, GA 31401

RE: PRD 1704-94-100071; Inverter for Welding Machine; Current Converting Device; Inverter Power Source; Unfinished Arc Welding Machine, Subheading 8515.39.00, GRI 2(a); Section XVI, Note 2 Dear District Director:

This is our decision on Protest No. 1704-94-100071 filed against your classification of current converting devices from Japan. The entry under protest was liquidated on February 4, 1994, and this protest timely filed on February 15, 1994.


The merchandise in issue is referred to as a welding machine inverter, models W11385 and W11565. In fact, it is a rectifier, a kind of electrical static converter which is apparatus that converts alternating (AC) current to direct (DC) current. The apparatus was entered under the provision for 8515.39.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as machines and apparatus for arc welding of metals. Submitted literature describes an arc cutting process that uses the intense heat of an electric arc flashing between a carbon electrode and a metallic workpiece to melt a portion of the work, while simultaneously blowing a jet of air under the arc to displace the molten metal. Protestant maintains that these goods are unfinished machines of heading 8515, lacking only a cutting torch with cable to be fully functional as cutting and welding machines, with welding being their principal function. - 2 -

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8504 Electric transformers, static converters (for example, rectifiers) and inductors; parts thereof:

8504.40 Static converters:

8504.40.80 Other...3 percent

* * * *

8515 Plasma arc welding machines and apparatus, whether or not capable of cutting; parts thereof:

Machines and apparatus for arc (including plasma arc) welding of metals: 8515.39.00 Other...2 percent


Whether, in its condition as imported, an electrical rectifying machine or apparatus is provided for in heading 8504.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined 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 Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989). - 3 -

The entered classification is based on the claim that the merchandise is an unfinished welding machine under GRI 2(a), HTSUS. However, the GRIs are applied sequentially so that GRI 1 must first be considered. Under GRI 1, the terms of the headings, and any relative section or chapter notes are paramount. In this regard, parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 and 85 are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings. Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUS. Relevant ENs, at p. 1338, state that electric static converters of heading 85.04 are apparatus used to convert electrical energy in order to adapt it for further use. Among this group are Rectifiers by which alternating current is converted to direct current, generally accompanied by a voltage change, and Inverters by which direct current is converted to alternating current. As imported, the machines in issue qualify as static converters which are rectifiers for tariff purposes.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the machines under protest are provided for as static converters in heading 8504. They are classifiable in subheading 8504.40.80, HTSUS.

The protest should be DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division