CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964783 GOB
Mr. William J. Du
King Star International, Inc.
581 Boyleston Street
Boston, MA 02116
RE: HQ 962014 revoked; Impulse bag sealers
Dear Mr. Du:
This letter is with respect to HQ 962014, issued to you on October 1, 1999, concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), of impulse bag sealers. In that ruling, the PFS-200 and PFS-300 impulse bag sealers were classified in subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS. We have reviewed that classification and determined that it is incorrect. This ruling sets forth the correct classification.
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 HQ 962014, as described below, was published in the Customs Bulletin on February 21, 2001. No comments were received in response to the notice.
The impulse bag sealers are described as follows in HQ 962014:
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.
What is the tariff classification of the subject impulse bag sealers?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRI’s”). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI’s may then be applied.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“EN’s”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN’s provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
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 ... :
8515.80.00 Other machines and apparatus
* * * * * *
8543 Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof:
Other machines and apparatus:
* * * * * *
Heading 8516, HTSUS, which includes “other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes,” is not considered as the impulse bag sealers are not intended for domestic use. In HQ 962014, we stated: “The articles, by their size, weight, and construction, are not intended for domestic (in the household) use.”
EN 85.15 (I) provides in pertinent part as follows:
This group covers certain soldering, brazing or welding machines and apparatus ...
Welding operations may be performed manually or be fully or partly automatic.
(H) Machines and apparatus for welding thermoplastic materials.
(2) Welding with electrically heated elements (heating element welding).
The surfaces to be joined are warmed by means of electrically heated elements and joined under pressure with or without additives.
[Emphasis in original.]
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1986) defines “weld” as: “1 a: to unite or consolidate (as metallic parts) by heating to a plastic or fluid state the surfaces of the parts to be joined and then allowing the metals to flow together ... b: to unite (plastics) in a similar manner by heating ...” Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary (1994) defines “thermoplastic” as: “softening under heat and capable of being molded into shape with pressure, then hardening on cooling without undergoing chemical change.”
We have carefully considered whether the impulse bag sealers are welding apparatus within the meaning of heading 8515, HTSUS. It is our conclusion that they are welding apparatus in that they are machines for welding or sealing plastic bags. EN 85.15 (I) (H) gives us guidance on the scope of the term “welding” in heading 8515, HTSUS, and it includes the welding of thermoplastic materials. The PFS-200 and PFS-300 impulse bag sealers are described by this EN.
Because heading 8515 is more specific than heading 8543 (“electrical machines and apparatus ... not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter ... “), we determine that the impulse bag sealers are provided for in heading 8515, HTSUS, and that they are classified in subheading 8515.80.00, HTSUS.
The impulse bag sealers are classified in subheading 8515.80.00, HTSUS, as: “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 ... : ... Other machines and apparatus.”
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
HQ 962014 is revoked. 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