CLA-2 R:C:M 958140 JAS
Mr. Bernard D. Liberati
Morris Friedman & Co.
320 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3883
RE: Wirenut; Cone-Shaped Article of Plastic With Metal Insert
Used to Join Electrical Wires and Provide Insulation;
Heading 8536, Electrical Apparatus for Making Connections to
or in Electrical Circuits
Dear Mr. Liberati:
Your letter to the Regional Commissioner of Customs, New
York, on behalf of PM Fasteners, Inc., has been referred to this
office for reply. Your inquiry concerns the tariff
classification of wirenuts from Taiwan.
Samples you have submitted are cone-shaped articles, each
approximately 3/4 inch long and 3/8 inch in diameter at the open
end. They are threaded internally along 1/4 of their length and
contain a small springlike metal insert. These wirenuts are used
in electrical applications in which two or more wires are joined.
The electrical wires are usually twisted by hand and the wirenut
placed over the joined ends and turned to insure a tight
connection between the wires. The wirenuts also serve as
insulators against the electric current.
The provisions under consideration are as follows:
8536 Electrical apparatus for switching or
protecting electrical circuits, or for making
connections to or in electrical circuits (for
example, switches, relays, fuses, surge
suppressors, plugs, sockets, lamp-holders,
junction boxes) for a voltage not exceeding
8536.30.00 Other apparatus...4.8 percent
* * * * - 2 -
8546 Electrical insulators of any material:
8546.90.00 Other...3 percent
Whether wirenuts, as described, are electrical insulators
for tariff purposes.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
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 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).
Initial consideration was given to the provisions in heading
8536. Relevant ENs at pp. 1389 and 1390 indicate this heading
includes, among other things, apparatus for protecting electric
circuits and apparatus for making connections to or in electrical
circuits. The notes list fuses as primary examples of the first
group. They serve to break a circuit in case of current
overload. There is no evidence that the wirenuts in issue here
function as fuses. The notes list as examples of the second
group plugs, sockets and other contacts for connecting a movable
lead or apparatus to an installation which is usually fixed, as
well as other connectors, terminals and terminal strips.
Articles of this group connect together the various parts of an
electrical circuit. In our opinion, the electrical connection is
made when the wires are first twisted together. The wirenuts
serve to maintain or tighten a connection that has already been
made. For these reasons, we conclude that the wirenuts are not
described by heading 8536.
Relevant ENs at p. 1406 indicate that heading 8546 includes
electrical insulators of any material. They are used for the
fixing, supporting or guiding of electric current conductors
while at the same time insulating them electrically from each
other or from the earth. The wirenuts in issue function in this - 3 -
manner by insuring that the connection in the wires remains
intact and that the joined wires do not touch other wires. In
our opinion, the wirenuts are provided for in heading 8546.
Under the authority of GRI 1, the wirenuts are provided for
in heading 8546. They are classifiable in subheading 8546.90.00,
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division