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 1,000 V:

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.


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, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division