CLA-2 OT:RR:CTF:TCM H081679 JER
William J. Polkinhorn
Bill Polkinhorn, Inc., U.S. Customhouse Brokers
2401 Portico Blvd.
P.O. Box 712
Calexico, CA 92231
RE: Request for Binding Ruling; Classification; Pilot/Igniter Assembly
Dear Mr. Polkinhorn:
This is in response to your letters dated June 16, 2009 and August 27, 2009, on behalf of Robertshaw Control Company, Grayson Control Division (“RSC”) to United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), in which RSC requested a binding ruling pertaining to the tariff classification of a Pilot/Igniter Assembly under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Your request has been forwarded to this office by the National Commodity Specialist Division, for direct reply.
The subject merchandise referred to as the Pilot/Igniter Assembly [Part No. 18164], consists of two components, a pilot burner and a spark igniter mounted onto a single bracket. You state that the instant Pilot/Igniter Assembly can reside in a number of finished products such as gas water heaters, furnaces and other A/C or heating appliances but is almost exclusively used in gas water heaters. The assembly is multi-functional in that it serves as a pilot light which provides small gas flame to act as an ignition source to a larger burner. The product also provides an electrical ignition system through the use of the spark-igniter for gas burning appliances.
You state that the subject “assembly” is used exclusively in water heaters and functions as follows:
The wire from the igniter goes up a manual Piezo Electric device attached to the side of our R110R…When the water heater needs the pilot lit the manual valve of the R110R is put in the pilot position and the reset button depressed. Gas begins to flow to the pilot. The button on the Piezo Electric device is pushed down and a high voltage, very low current, charge travels down the wire to the pilot in the heater. The resulting spark ignites the pilot gas[.]
Whether the subject Pilot/Thermocouple/Igniter Assembly is classifiable under heading 8487, HTSUS, as machinery parts not containing electrical connectors and not included in Chapter 84 or in heading 8419, HTSUS, as a part of an instantaneous gas or storage water heater or in heading 9613, HTSUS, as an electric igniter.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.
The 2009 HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
8419 “Machinery, plant or laboratory equipment, whether or not electrically heated (excluding furnaces, ovens and other equipment of heading 8514), for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature such as heating, cooking, roasting, distilling, rectifying, sterilizing, pasteurizing, steaming, drying, evaporating, vaporizing, condensing or cooling, other than machinery or plant of a kind used for domestic purposes; instantaneous or storage water heaters, nonelectric; parts thereof:
8419.90.1000 For instantaneous or storage water heaters
8487 Machinery parts, not containing electrical connectors, insulators, coils, contacts or other electrical features, and not specified or included in this chapter:
9613 Cigarette lighters and other lighters, whether or not mechanical or electrical, and parts thereof other than flints and wicks:
9613.80 Other lighters:
Section XVI, Note 2 provides in pertinent part as follows:
Subject to note 1 to this section, note 1 to chapter 84 and note 1 to chapter 85, parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading 8484, 8544, 8545, 8546 or 8547) are to be classified according to the following rules:
Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapter 84 or 85 (other than headings 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8487, 8503, 8522, 8529, 8538 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;
Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading (including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the machines of that kind or in heading 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8503, 8522, 8529 or 8538 as appropriate. However, parts which are equally suitable for use principally with the goods of headings 8517 and 8525 to 8528 are to be classified in heading 8517.
Note 2 (b) to Chapter 90, HTSUS, provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Subject to note 1 above, parts and accessories for machines, apparatus, instruments or articles of this chapter are to be classified according to the following rules:
(b) Other parts and accessories, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, instrument or apparatus, or with a number of machines, instruments or apparatus of the same heading (including a machine, instrument or apparatus of heading 9010, 9013 or 9031) are to be classified with the machines, instruments or apparatus of that kind.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While not legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs 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, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).
The ENs to heading 8416, HTSUS, provide, in relevant part, as follows:
(A) FURNACE BURNERS
These project a flame directly into the furnace; and dispense with the need for a grate and ash removal…
* * *
The ENs to heading 8419, HTSUS, provide, in relevant part, as follows:
(I) HEATING OR COOLING PLANT AND MACHINERY
* * *
…the heading also covers non-electric instantaneous water heaters and storage water heaters…
* * *
The ENs to heading 9613, HTSUS, provide, in relevant part, as follows:
This heading includes:
* * *
(2) Electrical lighters.
Current from the mains or a battery produces a spark, or in certain types, a glowing heat in an electric resistor.
* * *
The lighters classified in this heading may be of pocket or table types, or may be designed for…fitting to gas stoves, etc.
* * *
You contend that the subject Pilot/Igniter Assembly is a part used in gas fired storage water heater appliances which consists of more than one component which you believe requires an analysis pursuant to GRI 3. You assert that the subject assembly is classifiable under heading 9613, HTSUS, by application of GRI 3(c), because, as you assert, neither of the components impart its essential character.
In its condition as imported, the subject Pilot/Igniter Assembly is mounted together on a common base plate and is used principally or solely as a part of gas water heaters. In accordance with Note 2 (b) to Section XVI and Note 2 (a) to Chapter 90, HTSUS, if the merchandise is suitable for use solely or principally as a part with a particular machine, such is to be classified with the machine of that kind.
The courts have stated that “a ‘part’ of an article is something necessary to the completion of that article. It is an integral, constituent, or component part, without which the article to which it is to be joined, could not function as such article.” United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc., 21 C.C.P.A. 322, 324 (Court of Customs and Patent Appeals 1933). Cited with approval in Bauerhin Technologies, LP., et al, v. United States, 110 F.3d 774 (Fed Cir. 1997). This definition of a “part” has been applied by CBP in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 966618, dated January 16, 2004, and HQ 967291, dated November 4, 2004.
You state the subject merchandise “is used 99.9% of the time on gas, standing pilot, water heaters.” The purpose of the subject merchandise is to ignite the pilot burner and to provide a small gas flame to act as an ignition source for the larger gas burner within the gas storage tank water heaters. Further, the subject merchandise is fitted into a mounting bracket that has been designed to be installed in a gas storage tank water heater. According to the submission provided by Robertshaw, received October 13, 2009, “a bracket is designed to mate with the manifold receiver.” Specifically, the “mounting bracket of a pilot assembly is used to afford a means of mounting [the] assembly to the appliance burner” and is therefore specifically designed to match the appliance in which it is installed.
According to our research, similar assemblies consisting of a combination of a pilot, igniter and/or thermocouple components have similar components and similar functions. However, for tariff classification purposes, these “assemblies” are distinguished based on the gas appliance in which they are used and by which component is essential to the article’s primary purpose.
For example, in New York Ruling Letter (“NY”) N067141, CBP classified a pilot burner in subheading 8416.90, HTSUS, as a part of a gas furnace burner. Like the subject pilot burner, the pilot of NY N067141 was described as being “a sheet of metal that is bent at a predetermined angle so as to form a hood which precisely directs and controls the flame.” While similar in description and functionality the article of NY N067141 differed in that it was used solely or principally in a furnace (gas burner).
In NY L89917 dated February 24, 2006, a pilot burner pack, item Q90FF-1C, was classified as a furnace burner in heading 8416, HTSUS. Item Q90FF-1C, consisted of three components: a pilot burner, a spark-igniter and thermocouples, all of which were mounted onto a bracket and used to light a gas furnace.
Similarly, in NY I85693 dated September 20, 2002, an Oxypilot which consisted of a burner jet, igniter and thermocouple all mounted onto a bracket used to light gas heaters was classified in heading 8543, HTSUS, because it was principally used in a gas heater.
Based on the foregoing information, the subject merchandise is solely or principally used with gas fired storage water heater. In accordance with Note 2(b) to Section XVI and Note 2(b) to Ch. 90, the subject merchandise is classified under the parts provision of heading 8419, HTSUS.
Since the subject merchandise is solely or principally used with a machine of the kind described in Chapter 84, it is classified as a “part” by application of GRI 1 rather than according to the functions of the individual components by application of GRI 3. See e.g., HQ 957215 dated March 28, 1995 (in which CBP found that ball bearings were parts of rollerblades in accordance with Note 2 to Section XVI).
By application of GRI 1 and pursuant to Note 2(b) to Section XVI and Note 2(b) to Ch. 90, the subject Pilot/Igniter Assembly, [Part No. 18164] is classifiable under heading 8419, HTSUS. Specifically, the merchandise is classified under subheading 8419.90.10, HTSUS, which provides for “Machinery, plant or laboratory equipment, whether or not electrically heated (excluding furnaces, ovens and other equipment of heading 8514), for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature such as heating, cooking, roasting, distilling, rectifying, sterilizing, pasteurizing, steaming, drying, evaporating, vaporizing, condensing or cooling, other than machinery or plant of a kind used for domestic purposes; instantaneous or storage water heaters, nonelectric; parts thereof: Parts: Of instantaneous or storage water heaters.” The 2009 column one, general rate of duty is Free.
Duty rates are provided for convenience only and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/. A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the CBP officer handling the transaction.
Gail A. Hamill, Chief
Tariff Classification and Marking Branch