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HQ 084863

August 17, 1989

CLA- 2 CO:R:C:G 084863 BPM


TARIFF NO.: 8514.90.0000

Mr. Robert A. Decamp
F.W. Myers & Co., Inc.
Myers Building
Rouses Point, New York 12879-1091

RE: Steel Anode Pins for Soderberg Reduction Cells

Dear Mr. DeCamp:

By letter dated August 29, 1988, you requested a ruling on the appropriate tariff classification for steel anode pins for Soderberg reduction cells under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, HTSUS.


The Soderberg reduction cell ("cell") is a device used for extraction of aluminum from ore. The process of reduction is summarized as follows:

[A]lumina is dissolved in cells (pots)-- rectangular steel shells lined with carbon--containing a molten electrolyte (bath) consisting mostly of cryolite. . . .Carbon anodes are hung from above the cells with their lower ends extending to within about 1.5 in. (3.8 cm) of the molten metal, which forms a layer under the molten bath. The heat required to keep the bath molten is supplied by the electrical resistance of the bath as current passes through it.... A crust of frozen bath, 1- 3 in. . . .thick, forms on the top surface of the bath, and on the walls of the cell. Alumina is added to the bath or on the crust, where its absorbed moisture is driven off by heat from the cell. While preheating on the crust, the alumina charge serves as thermal insulation. Periodically, the crust is broken and the alumina is stirred into the bath to maintain proper concentration. . . .

The passage of direct current through the electrolyte decomposes the dissolved alumina. Metal is
deposited on the cathode, and oxygen on the gradually consumed anode. . . . The smelting process is continuous. Alumina is added, anodes replaced, and molten aluminum is periodically siphoned off without interrupting current to the cells.

. . . [This type of] electrode is termed a prebaked anode to distinguish it from the Soderberg anode, in which the electrode (single large anode to a cell) is formed in place from a carbonaceous paste which is baked by heat from the pot as it gradually descends into the electrolyte.

1 McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, pp. 418- 19 (1987).

The pins at issue are used as part of the type of cell described at the end of the above quote, the Soderberg reduction cell, serving to support the carbon anode mass, and for hoisting and lowering it into the bath. They also serve as conductors for the electric current, which melts the alumina by dielectric heating and decomposes the molten alumina by electrolysis.


Whether steel anode pins used in Soderberg reduction cells are machines and apparatus for electroplating, electrolysis or electrophoresis classified in subheading 8543.30.0000, HTSUS, or parts of other industrial or laboratory induction or dielectric heating equipment classified in subheading 8514.90.0000, HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), the legal principles by which merchandise is classified, govern classification under the HTSUS. GRI 1 states, in part, that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and to any relative section or chapter notes.

Note 3 to Section XVI states that "machines... performing two or more... complimentary... functions are to be
classified as if ... being that machine which performs the principal function." Reduction of aluminum requires that both functions of the pins, electrolysis and dielectric heating, be performed. Neither function can be said to be the principal function.

Under GRI 3(a), classification shall be made in the heading, which provides the most specific description of the goods. The steel anode pins perform two functions, electrolysis and dielectric heating. Electrolysis is described in subheading 8543.30.0000, and dielectric heating in heading 8514.

Rule 3(a) requires comparison of headings (and by virtue of Rule 6, subheadings within a heading) for specificity. It does not allow comparison of a subheading with a heading. Because 8514, covering, inter alia, other industrial or laboratory induction or dielectric heating equipment, is more specific than 8543, covering electrical machines not specified or included elsewhere (assuming this heading were applicable), classification would be appropriate under 8514.

Although subheading 8543.30.0000, HTSUS, covers parts of machines and apparatus for electroplating, electrolysis or electrophoresis, a subheading cannot broaden the application of a heading, and the language of heading 8543 requires that the goods not be specified or included elsewhere in the chapter to be classifiable in 8543.

Subheading 8514.90.0000 covers parts of industrial dielectric heating equipment. The language of the four digit heading under which subheading 8514.90.0000 is found, covers equipment performing one of the functions performed by the pins being classified (electrolysis), and does not contain any limiting language such as that found in 8543.


The steel anode pins used in Soderberg reduction cells are parts of industrial dielectric heating equipment classified in subheading 8514.90.0000, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director

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