CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962387 JAS
Donald H. Huber
GE Client Business Services
P.O. Box 60610
Fort Myers, FL 33906-6610
RE: NY D82502 Modified; Two-Cavity Combination Microwave/Convection Oven
Dear Mr. Huber:
In a letter to the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated October 28, 1998, you request reconsideration of a ruling on the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of two-cavity combination microwave/convection ovens, also referred to as double ovens. Your letter has been referred to this office for reply. We have reconsidered the classification of these appliances and determined that it is incorrect.
Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed modification of NY D82502 was published on April 5, 2000, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 34, Number 14. No comments were received in response to that notice.
At a meeting with you in our office on November 17, 1999, counsel for the
General Electric Company presented additional facts and legal arguments to support the classification of the General Electric JTP95WW two-cavity combination microwave/ convection oven in subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS, a provision for other cooking stoves, ranges and ovens. A submission, dated February 21, 2000, confirmed the discussions at that meeting.
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NY D82502, which the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division issued to General Electric Client Business Services on September 25, 1998, in part addressed the tariff status of a two-cavity combination microwave/ convection oven of the household type. This appliance was classified as a microwave oven, in subheading 8516.50.00, HTSUS. The classification of the microwave subassembly, imported separately, was also addressed but is not in issue here.
The model JTP95WW consists of a 27-inch, 1.5 cubic inch capacity microwave oven component mounted atop a 30-inch, 3.8 cubic foot capacity convection oven component. The microwave oven component typically defrosts and prepares frozen dinners, heats soup, water and other liquids, pops popcorn, and heats leftovers. The convection oven component can roast, broil and bake. It can also defrost and prepare frozen dinners and heat leftovers, though not as quickly as the microwave. Each has a separate cooking cavity and its own keypad, but both components are housed together. Traditional over-and-under ovens consist of main and auxiliary convection ovens, the two separate cooking chambers permitting one to bake in one oven, for example, while broiling in the other. The present combination oven is a variation of this style, with the microwave component replacing the auxiliary oven. Through independent inquiry, we have determined that the convection oven component can also cook by resistance or radiant heat.
Counsel agrees that the model JTP95WW is a composite machine for purposes of Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, that is, two or more machines fitted together to form a whole, which is to be classified as if consisting of the machine which performs the principal function. Counsel maintains that it is the convection oven component, classifiable in subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS, which performs the principal function. Alternatively, counsel contends that if a principal function cannot be determined GRI 3(c), applied at the subheading level by GRI 6, compels the subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS, classification because that subheading is last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.
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The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
8516 ...other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes;...
8516.50.00 Microwave ovens
8516.60 Other ovens; cooking stoves, ranges, cooking plates, boiling rings, grillers and roasters:
8516.60.40 Cooking stoves, ranges and ovens
Whether a principal function for the two-cavity combination microwave/ convection oven can be determined.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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. GRI 6 permits a comparison of subheadings within the same heading according to the terms of those subheadings, the relative section and chapter notes unless the context requires otherwise and, by appropriate substitution of terms, to GRIs 1 through 5.
At the November 17 meeting, counsel made the following arguments in support of the claimed classification. Unlike an earlier generation of combination microwave/ convection ovens which shared the same cooking cavity and, thus, were unable to operate simultaneously, each oven component in the model JTP95WW has its own controls and timers that operate independently, as well as simultaneously. The model JTP95WW is designed to be the only oven installed in a kitchen. It will not supplement an existing convection oven but will be brought into a kitchen only to replace one. The convection oven component has nearly three times the capacity of the microwave component. The cost or value of the convection oven component is over three times that of the microwave oven component. Finally, NY D82502 cited as precedent earlier rulings on single-cavity combination ovens. The two-cavity combination oven at issue here is a different appliance employing different technology and, therefore, is factually distinguishable from the single cavity ovens, making the cited rulings inapplicable.
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In HQ 083850, dated June 9, 1989, a microwave component combined with an electric resistive heat-based component that bakes, roasts, broils and toasts - separate components contained in the same housing, each operating independently of the
other but utilizing the same cooking cavity - was held to be a composite machine classifiable in subheading 8516.50.00, HTSUS. This decision was based in large part on the characterization of the device as a Combination Microwave, as well as product literature which accented the microwave component. Similarly, in HQ 953456, dated February 25, 1994, a single cavity tabletop appliance possessing both microwave and convection cooking features was held to be classifiable in subheading 8516.50.00, HTSUS. As in HQ 083850, product literature repeatedly referred to the microwave feature as significant. Likewise, we stated in HQ 953456 that our independent
research indicated that with an increasing number of two-income households, the presence of preschool-aged children and teenagers with varying schedules, the microwave feature increased the household’s flexibility and, based on total number of times each component may be used during a given period, the microwave feature clearly predominated.
Both of the cited rulings concerned single cavity appliances which performed their respective operations consecutively but never simultaneously because they shared the same cooking cavity. The significance of the microwave oven component in those rulings and the rationale for the decisions in each remains undiminished. We agree, however, that these rulings may not be valid precedent in classifying the two-cavity combination microwave/convection ovens at issue here. The fact that the two components can operate simultaneously, each with its own cooking cavity, controls and timers, the fact that the convection oven component can accommodate larger preparations that the microwave cannot, plus the fact that the convection oven component also has resistance or radiant heating capability typical of a conventional floor-standing oven, are factors that take on added significance. In terms of frequency of use, for example, a large roast might be cooking in one oven at the same time popcorn is popping in the other. For this and other reasons, we are unable to conclude that the microwave oven component is any more or less significant than the convection oven component. Therefore, we conclude that a principal function for the two-cavity combination microwave/convection oven cannot be determined.
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Under the authority of GRI 3(c), applied at the subheading level by GRI 6, the General Electric two-cavity combination microwave/convection oven, model JTP95WW, is provided for in heading 8516. It is classifiable in subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY D82502, dated September 25, 1998, is modified. 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