Mr. Robin A. Huff, General Manager
J. Fanok Services, Inc.
701 Penhorn Avenue
Secaucus, N.J. 07094
RE: “EuroSealer,” electric/battery powered heat-sealing product
Dear Mr. Huff:
This is in response to your request of August 18, 1998, to the Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, on behalf of Trista Products, requesting a classification ruling, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of the “EuroSealer,” an electric/battery powered heat-sealing product. Your request was forwarded to this office for reply. A sample was forwarded for our examination. We regret the delay in responding.
The “EuroSealer,” Style # TS-200, is an electric/battery powered heat sealing product that roughly resembles a stapler, with a thick base and hinged handle which operates by depressing the end opposite to the hinge as one would a stapler. When the ends make contact, heat is produced, according to the user’s guide, in the range of 400-550 degrees Fahrenheit. An opened bag is passed through the heated end and is thereby sealed. The user’s guide describes the article as a household product which uses micro-thermal technology to create an airtight seal to keep and preserve unused portions of food stored inside the bag. Instructions on the package advise the user to “simply slide [the] EuroSealer along the edge of any bag and it’s sealed airtight.” The product itself is marked “for household use only.”
Whether the product is classified under subheading 8422.30.90, HTSUS, as other machinery for sealing bags; subheading 8515.80.00, HTSUS, as other electric welding machines and apparatus; or subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS, as other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes?
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 (GRI’s). 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 headings 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:
Brazing or soldering machines and apparatus:
8515.80 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:
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 must 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 . . . .
To the extent that the exceptions described in the ENs to these general rules are applicable to the merchandise under consideration, they indicate that domestic electromechanical appliances are classified in Chapter 85. The only mechanical aspect in the articles is the staple-like 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 (see also Note 1(e), Chapter 84, HTSUS, which excludes from classification in Chapter 84 “electromechanical domestic devices of heading of 8509[.]” Although the article is precluded from classification in subheading 8509 because it does not have a “self-contained electric motor,” Note 1(e) of Chapter 84 supports the exclusion of the article from Chapter 84 as an electric device with only a minor mechanical aspect).
Within Chapter 85, the competing headings are heading 8515, which provides for welding machines and apparatus, and heading 8516, which provides for other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes. 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 the same kind of the domestic electrothermic device under consideration, which is incapable of generating the heat or other energy to perform the kind of welding of the machines and apparatus 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 article, by its size, weight and construction, is intended for use in the household. Cf. HQ 962014 of even date; see also HQs 962013 and 962015 of even date. The article is primarily used in the home, in order to preserve food products ordinarily consumed in the home. Therefore, the criteria established are satisfied and the product is classified accordingly.
The EuroSealer is classifiable under subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS, as an other electro-thermic appliance of a kind used for domestic purposes.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division