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HQ 951711

May 29, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951711 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8504.31.40

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
Lincoln Juarez Bridge, Bldg. #2
P.O. Box 3130
Laredo, TX 78044-3130

RE: IA 69/91; Transformers; Rated vs. Unrated; HQ 081407; 8504.31.20

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your memorandum of November 26, 1991, requesting internal advice, on behalf of John Cain, customs broker, concerning the tariff classification of transformers under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of transformers, designed for use in computer power supplies. The transformers are built to customer specifications and are designed to operate at under 1 kVA (voltage-amperes). Power ratings are not provided by the customers, but they do specify the wire size and number of turns needed to create a customized transformer.


Whether the subject transformers are classifiable as "rated" or "unrated" under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Subheading 8504.31.20, HTSUS, provides for: "[electrical transformers, static converters and inductors: [o]ther transformers: [h]aving a power handling capacity not exceeding 1 kVA: [u]nrated." Subheading 8504.31.40, HTSUS, provides for: "[o]ther transformers: [h]aving a power handling capacity not exceeding 1 kVA: [o]ther."

It is claimed that the transformers are unrated and, therefore, are classifiable under subheading 8504.31.20, HTSUS. The importer argues that "[o]ur transformers are under 1 kVA and are unrated by generally recognized industry definition. Rated transformers have the ratings on the labels and indicate the input/output voltage that gives you the rating. . . . None of our labels specify the input/output."

HQ 081407, dated November 23, 1990, dealt with the issue of whether certain ignition transformers were classifiable as "rated" or "unrated" under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). It was ruled that:

[c]ustoms has long held that transformers may not be regarded as unrated if they are of a class or kind which are rated or are for uses in power circuits where the capacities of the transformers must be known even if they are not included on any labels. Currently, signal transformers and current transformers (that work as circuit breakers or large power transformers) are the only types of transformers that have been found by Customs and the Courts to be unrated.

It is our position that, under the reasoning in HQ 081407, the subject transformers are rated. They are of a class or kind of transformers which are rated. In fact, the importer both acknowledges that the power capacities of the subject transformers do not exceed 1 kVA, and includes, in supplied specifications, power capacity ratings. It is not essential to the classification of the transformers that their power capacities be included on their labels.

As stated, the importer does provide that part no. BE24514- 001 is rated at 400 W, and part no. BE2414 9-001 is rated at 315 W. Measurement in watts is calculated by multiplying voltage by amperes. Therefore, by using this formula, the transformers are rated under 1 kVA.


The subject transformers are rated and, therefore, are classifiable under subheading 8504.31.40, HTSUS. The general, column one rate of duty is 6.6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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