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HQ 951230

June 29, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951230 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 8505.90.80

District Director
U.S. Customs
620 East 10th Ave., Rm 101
Anchorage, Alaska 99501

RE: Protest No. 3195-91-100144; Solenoid; Electromagnet

Dear Sir:

This is our response to Protest Number 3195-91-100144, dated June 13, 1991, on behalf of Densitron Corp., regarding classification of a "Solenoids," imported from Japan, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


A "solenoid" is defined by Webster's New World DIctionary, Third College edition (1988) as "a coil of wire, usually wound in the form of a helix, that acts like a bar magnet when carrying a current: used in brakes, switches, relays, etc." The instant solenoids are electromagnetic devices used by the Department of Defense in Mavrick missiles.


What is the classification of "solenoids" used in the manufacture of Mavrick missiles, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part:

...classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...

The importer argues that the instant solenoids function as electromagnets. We agree. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), page 1340, for heading 8505, states in pertinent part:

This heading covers electro-magnets, those electro-magnet operated appliances specially listed in the heading, permanent magnets and permanent magnet work holders.

(1) Electro-magnets

These are of various sizes and shapes according to the use for which they are intended. They consist essentially of a coil of wire wound around a core of soft iron, this core being either in one piece or laminated. The passing of electric current in the coil confers magnetic properties on the core, which can be used either for attraction or repulsion.

The port classified the instant solenoids under subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUS, which provides for: [e]lectric motors and generators (excluding generating sets): [m]otors of an output not exceeding 37.5 W: [o]f under 18.65 W: [o]ther."

However, GRI 3.(a) provides in pertinent part that: "[t]he heading which provides the most specific description shall be prefered to headings providing a more general description." The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) regarding GRI 3(a), page 3, state:

(IV) It is not practicable to lay down hard and fast rules by which to determine whether one heading more specifically describes goods than another, but in general it may be said that:

(a) A description by name is more specific than a description by class (e.g., shavers and hair clippers, with self-contained electric motor, are classified in heading 85.10 and not in heading 85.08 as electro-mechanical tools for working in the hand or in heading 85.09 as electro-mechanical domestic appliances with self-contained electric motor).

Therefore, similarly, it is our position that the description by the name of "Electro-magnets" is more specific than the description by class of "electric motors."


The "Solenoids" are properly classifiable in subheading 8505.90.80, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[e]lectromagnets: [o]ther, including parts: [o]ther."

The protest should be allowed in full. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director

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