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NY 859672

FEB. 12, 1991

CLA-2-84:S:N:N1:102 859672


TARIFF NO.: 8481.80.9005, 9817.00.96

Mr. Willis Walters
Nippon Express U.S.A. Inc.
20444 South Reeves Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90810

RE: The tariff classification of automatic faucets and automatic toilet and urinal flush valves from Japan

Dear Mr. Walters:

In your letter dated January 12, 1991, on behalf of your client, Toto Kiki U.S.A. Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The literature submitted with your inquiry describes three types of sanitary plumbing products: a hands free lavatory faucet, an automatic flush valve for a toilet, and an automatic flush valve for a urinal. All three units utilize a combination infrared sensor and battery powered solenoid valve. In the case of the faucet, when the users hand breaks the infrared beam the solenoid valve is activated and a thermostatically-controlled flow of water commences. The flush valves on the other hand operate after the infrared sensor detects an individual in near proximity for more than 5 seconds. After that time the controller activates the valve when the person moves away.

The applicable subheading for all three units will be 8481.80.9005, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances, other, other than hand-operated; solenoid valves. The rate of duty will be 3.7 percent ad valorem.

In your letter you raised the question over whether or not these valves would qualify for duty free treatment under the chapter 98 provision covering articles for use by the blind or handicapped. Subheading 9817.00.96 provides free entry for articles specially designed or adapted for the use or benefit of the blind or other physically or mentally handicapped persons: ... other.

The subject devices are designed for use by the general public in toilet facilities at such places as airports or train stations where, because of the large number of users (not necessarily handicapped) with different toilet habits, certain measures must be taken to safeguard the sanitary conditions of these facilities. There are many benefits to be derived from the use of these automatic devices, including the prevention of flooding, which is a common occurrence in public toilets.

We do not doubt that your devices would be of benefit to the handicapped but so would a number of modern conveniences such as an automatic transmission for a car or the remote control of a television set or VCR. We conclude therefore that subheading 9817.00.96 does not apply to the automatic devices under consideration.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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