CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962014:AML
Mr. William J. Du
King Star International, Inc.
581 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
RE: Electric powered heat-sealing product; NY 886927 modified.
Dear Mr. Du:
This is in reference to New York Ruling Letter (NY) 886927, issued to you on June 13, 1993, by the Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, in which, among other items not herein relevant, the PFS-200 and PFS-300 impulse bag sealers - electrical devices used to seal/close the ends of a plastic bag by manually pressing down a handle containing a heated electrical filament, were classified under subheading 8515.80.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for electric . . . welding machines and apparatus, whether or not capable of cutting: other machines and apparatus: other. We have reviewed that ruling and determined that the classification set forth is partially in error. The correct classification is set forth below.
Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), notice of the proposed modification of NY 886927 was published on August 25, 1999, in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN, Volume 33, Number 34. No comments were received.
The relevant articles in NY 886927 were described as the PFS-200 and PFS-300 impulse bag sealers - electrical devices used to seal/close the ends of a plastic bag by manually pressing down a handle containing a heated electrical filament. Further information was requested from the importer and provided in April, 1999.
The electric/battery powered heat sealing product roughly resembles a large paper cutter, with a thick base and large handle (instead of the paper-cutting blade) which operates by depressing the arm as one would a paper cutter. The PFS-200 and PFS-300 are constructed of cast iron or steel and are marketed to supermarkets and restaurants. When the interior surface of the hinged arm portion and the inner surface of the base make contact, heat is produced. The article is a product which uses micro-thermal technology to create an airtight seal of plastic bags to keep and preserve unused portions of food stored inside the bags.
Whether the products are classified under subheading 8422.30.90, HTSUS, as other machinery for sealing bags; or subheading 8515.80.00, HTSUS, as electric . . . welding machines and apparatus, whether or not capable of cutting: other machines and apparatus: other; or subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS, as other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes; or subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS, which provides for other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in Chapter 85?
LAW and ANALYSIS:
Classification of imported merchandise is accomplished pursuant to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Classification under the HTSUS is guided by the General Rules of Interpretation of the Harmonized System (GRIs). GRI 1, HTSUS, 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[.]”
The HTSUS headings and subheadings under consideration are as follows:
8422 Dishwashing machines; machinery for cleaning or
drying bottles or other containers; machinery
for filling, closing, sealing or labeling
bottles, cans, boxes, bags or other containers;
machinery for capsuling bottles, jars, tubes
and similar containers; other packing or
wrapping machinery (including heatshrink
wrapping machinery); machinery for aerating
beverages; parts thereof:
8422.30 Machinery for filling, closing, sealing or
labeling bottles, cans, boxes, bags or
other containers; machinery for capsuling
bottles, jars, tubes and similar
containers; machinery for aerating
* * * * * * * * * * *
8515 Electric (including electrically heated gas),
laser or other light or photon beam, ultrasonic,
electron beam, magnetic pulse or plasma arc
soldering, brazing or welding machines and
apparatus, whether or not capable of cutting;
electric machines and apparatus for hot
spraying of metals or cermets; parts thereof:
8515.80.00 Other machines and apparatus.
* * * * * * ** * * * *
8516 Electric instantaneous or storage water heaters and immersion heaters; electric space heating apparatus and soil heating apparatus; electro-thermic hair-dressing apparatus (for example, hair dryers, hair curlers, curling tong heaters) and hand dryers; electric flatirons; other electro-thermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes; electric heating resistors, other than those of heading 8545; parts thereof:
Other electrothermic appliances:
* * * * * * * * * * *
8543 Electrical machines and apparatus, having
individual functions, not specified or included
elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof:
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 ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 8980. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).
Initially we will determine whether the article is a mechanical device of Chapter 84, HTSUS, or electrical machinery of Chapter 85, HTSUS. The General EN to Chapter 84 (page 1233) states, in regard to the general content of the chapter:
Subject to the provisions of the General Explanatory Note to Section XVI, this Chapter covers all machinery and mechanical appliances, and parts thereof, not more specifically covered by Chapter 85 . . . . In general, Chapter 84 covers machinery and mechanical apparatus and Chapter 85 electrical goods . . . .
The only mechanical aspect in the articles is the paper cutter-like arm and hinge which facilitates the compression and union of the heat producing ends of the article. It is the electric aspect of the article which enables it to perform its function: heating bags to seal them. Therefore, pursuant to the General ENs for Chapter 84, we conclude that the article is not machinery for sealing bags or other containers of heading 8422, HTSUS.
Within Chapter 85, the competing headings are heading 8516, which provides for other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes, heading 8515, which provides for welding machines and apparatus, and heading 8543, which provides for electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in Chapter 85. EN 85.15, page 1466, describes the machines and apparatus of that heading (e.g., [b]razing or soldering machines and apparatus . . . in which metal parts are
joined . . . [;] [m]achines and apparatus for resistance welding of metal [;] [m]achines and apparatus for arc or plasma arc welding of metals . . . ). Clearly these exemplars are not at all of the kind of the electrothermic device under consideration, which is incapable of generating the heat or other energy to perform the kind of welding in the exemplars.
EN 85.16 at page 1470 describes products which are classifiable pursuant to the heading and basic criteria for making such a determination. EN 85.16(E) states that “[t]his group includes all electro-thermic machines and appliances provided they are normally used in the household [emphasis in original].” We note that the provision for other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes in heading 8516 is governed by use (see Group Italglass, U.S.A., Inc. v. United States, 17 CIT 226 (1993)). The articles, by their size, weight and construction, are not intended for domestic (in the household) use. Rather, the PFS-200 and PFS-300 are designed as commercial sealers for mass production or food preservation in a larger, e.g., food service industry or restaurant, scale. Commercial sealers, such as those at issue, are of greater durability and larger capacity than those for domestic use and are marketed and made available for use in the commercial setting. Therefore, the articles may not be classified in heading 8516 as other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes, and classification falls to the residual provision for electrical machines and apparatus, in heading 8543, HTSUS. Cf. HQ 962015 of even date.
NY 886927, dated June 13, 1993, is hereby modified as it pertains to the classification of the PFS-200 and the PFS-300 impulse bag sealers. The articles are classifiable under subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS, as other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division