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HQ 088586

AUGUST 9 1991

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 088586 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8448.49.0000; 7616.90.0080

Mr. Damian Kueng
American Scholze Inc.
P. O. Box 8247
Spartansburg, S.C. 29305

RE: Warp Beams; Parts and Accessories for Textile Weaving Machines

Dear Mr. Kueng:

In your letter of January 8, 1991, you ask that we reconsider a New York ruling on textile weaving parts from Germany called warp beams. You provided additional information in a May 13, 1991, facsimile transmittal which confirmed an earlier telephone conversation with a member of my staff. Our decision follows.

You state that several entries of this merchandise have been made at the port of Charleston, but your broker has requested through that port that liquidation be suspended pending this reconsideration.


The articles in issue are cylinders ranging from 31.5 to 49.2 in. in diameter and up to 183 in. long. They consist of a steel barrel weighing approximately 120 to 140 lbs. and two aluminum flanges weighing between 140 and 160 lbs. each. Warp yarns used with textile weaving machines are wound on these beams. A bearing on the warp beam attaches the beam to a bearing support on the machine.

Threads in a woven fabric run in horizontal and vertical directions. Several thousand vertical threads are wound onto the warp beam while one horizontal thread is wound onto a much smaller spool called a beam donut. The weaving machine's "let- off" function permits a measured quantity of yarn to unroll from
the warp beam and the spool at the same time under the same tension to insure precision weaving. The warp beam itself has no mechanical capability.

In a ruling to your Customs broker, dated October 2, 1990 (855987), the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, held that warp beams used with textile weaving machines were classifiable in subheading 7616.90.0080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as other articles of aluminum. Your suggested classification as parts of weaving machines is based on certain HTS Explanatory Notes which specifically list warp beams as articles considered parts and accessories suitable for use solely or principally with weaving machines of heading 8446. However, this argument was rejected because of Section XVI, Note 1(c), HTSUSA, a legal note which was interpreted to preclude that classification.

You now attempt to differentiate warp beams from bobbins, spools and similar supports, which are among the exemplars excluded by Note 1(c) from classification as parts of weaving machines. In addition to a dramatic difference in size - spools weigh up to 5 lbs. and warp beams up to 2,000 lbs., fully loaded - you state that while many looms operate without bobbins and spools, warp beams are essential to the operation of weaving machines. Also, you note that warp beams can only be used on weaving machines while spools are used in weaving but also in a variety of sewing and stitching operations. Finally, spools are static devices while the flanges on warp beam are movable to accommodate the width of the goods to be woven.


Whether warp beams are considered parts and accessories of textile weaving machines for tariff purposes.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not provide otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on
the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80.

Section XVI, Note 1(c), HTSUSA, precludes bobbins, spools, cops, cones, reels or similar supports, of any material, from being classified as parts and accessories of weaving machines. These enumerated articles are classifiable according to their constituent material. Notwithstanding the ENs, therefore, if the warp beams in issue here are holders or supports similar to bobbins, spools, cops, cones or reels, they cannot be classified as parts and accessories of heading 8446.

Whether warp beams are similar supports under note 1(c) depends on whether the words bobbin, spool, cop, cone, and reel have common characteristics, and whether warp beams share these characteristics. The listed exemplars are all cylindrical or tube-shaped articles on which threads, yarns and rovings are wound and which serve as holders. It is evident that warp beams have in common with the named exemplars the characteristics of shape and function.

However, warp beams have characteristics not shared by the supports listed in section note 1(c). The file reflects that warp beams are at times used to ship certain types of yarns from the plant to manufacturers. Unlike general-purpose bobbins and spools, warp beams have precision machined threaded barrels to accommodate adjustable flanges which narrow or expand the width of the cloth to be woven. The barrels are specially microfinished to eliminate snagging. This is a characteristic that complements the electrically controlled let-off motion which permits the controlled feeding of tension-delicate warp yarns and minimizes yarn breakage rates. Further, the dimensions, weight, and strength of a warp beam are much greater than those of the enumerated supports of the legal note. A warp beam must have these attributes so that the weaving loom can release the sometimes hundreds of warp threads evenly under tension during the weaving process.

For these reasons, we conclude that warp beams are not mere holders or supports, and therefore not similar to bobbins, spools, cops, cones and reels. Warp beams are not covered by the exclusion in note 1(c). Their special design leads us to conclude that they are principally, if not solely, used on textile weaving machines of heading 8446.


Under GRI 1, warp beams, as described, are provided for as parts and accessories of heading 8448. They are classifiable as other parts and accessories of machines of heading 8446 (weaving machines), in subheading 8448.49.0000, HTSUSA. The rate of duty is 4.7 percent ad valorem.


New York ruling dated October 2, 1990 (855987) is revoked under the authority of section 177.9(d)(1), Customs Regulations.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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