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HQ 952139

July 22, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952139 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 6912.00.44

Mr. John Donohue
Donohue and Donohue
421 Chestnut Street
5th Floor, The Bank Building
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: Revocation of NYRL 835664; non-electric coffeemakers; heading 4823; heading 3924; GRI 3(b); Explanatory Note

Dear Mr. Donohue:

On February 2, 1989, Customs issued New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 835664 in response to your letter, dated January 3, 1989. NYRL 835664 dealt with the classification of a "One Cup Coffeemaker" under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The article at issue is a "One Cup Coffeemaker" (coffeemaker) consisting of three component parts: (1) a ceramic coffee mug, (2) ten paper coffee filters each designed to filter one cup of ground coffee, (3) a plastic coffee filter cone designed to hold and filter one cup of ground coffee.

The coffeemaker is imported in a shrink wrap container, each container holding one coffee mug, one plastic filter drip and ten paper filters.

In NYRL 835664, Customs classified the coffeemaker in subheading 3924.10.50, HTSUS, which provides for tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics, tableware and kitchenware, other. The corresponding rate of duty for articles classified in this subheading is 3.4 percent ad valorem.


Is the "One Cup Coffeemaker" classified in subheading 3924.10.50, HTSUS, or in subheading 6912.00.44, HTSUS.


The classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

The three possible headings for classification of the coffeemaker are the following:

Heading 6912 Ceramic tableware, kitchenware. other household articles and toilet articles, other than of porcelain or china.

Heading 3924 Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics.

Heading 4823 Other paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding and webs of cellulose fibers, cut to size or shape, etc....

None of the above headings specifically describe the coffeemaker at issue. Therefore, the coffeemaker cannot be classified based on GRI 1.

GRI 2 provides the following:

(b) ... Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

GRI 3 governs the classification of goods which are prima facie classifiable within two or more headings and provides the following:

When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

Each of the headings at issue refer to only part of the subject merchandise. Therefore, the headings are regarded as equally specific and the classification of the coffeemaker cannot be determined by the application of the doctrine of relative specificity.

GRI 3(b) provides the following:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, page 4, states that:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

Upon review of NYRL 835664, we find that the essential character of the coffeemaker is not readily apparent. The filter cone is specially designed to concentrate the coffee grounds so that, as the water is poured, the grounds are concentrated under the flow of water and complete saturation occurs. The coffee then filters through a hole in the cone and into the ceramic mug. Therefore, it is the plastic cone filter that allows the coffee to be made. However, the coffeemaker is not only designed to make coffee, but it is also designed to hold the coffee and serve it to the user. This function is performed by the ceramic mug. The mug is also the weightier material in this product.

When the component which gives the products at issue their essential character cannot be determined, classification is ascertained by utilizing GRI 3(c). GRI 3(c) provides the following:
(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

Among the headings that equally merit consideration, heading 6912, HTSUS, is the last in numerical order. Therefore, the coffeemaker is classified in heading 6912, HTSUS.


The "One Cup Coffeemaker" is classified in subheading 6912.00.44, HTSUS, which provides for ceramic tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, other than of porcelain or china, tableware and kitchenware, other, other, other, mugs and other steins. The rate of duty is 13.5 percent ad valorem.

NYRL 835664 is revoked pursuant to section 177.9, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9). This decision will not be applied retroactively to NYRL 835664 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of merchandise under that ruling. However, for purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NYRL 835664 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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