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HQ 953619

June 23, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 953619 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8516.60.60

Mr. Samuel Zekser
Sobel Shipping Co., Inc.
170 Broadway
Suite 1501
New York, NY 10038-4184

RE: Grill Express; electric grill; electric oven; EN 85.16; sets put up for retail sale; GRI 3(b); essential character; ENs VIII and X to GRI 3(b)

Dear Mr. Zekser:

In a letter dated February 24, 1993, to the Regional Commissioner of Customs in New York, you inquired as to the tariff classification of the Grill Express under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter and sample were referred to this office for a direct response.


The merchandise, labeled as a Grill Express, is an electro- thermic cooking device with a hinged cover, locking knob and timer. Inside the plastic casing are two non-stick surface heating plates, measuring 9 inches in length by 6 inches in width. The upper heating plate moves by use of a spring in order to adjust to the thickness of the food which is grilled. On top of the casing are an on/off power switch and the timer slide knob which is used to set the length of time the Grill Express will cook the food. The Grill Express also has a latch to keep the cover closed while cooking and an A.C. cord which is plugged into a household 110 volt outlet. The Express Grill is capable of grilling chicken, pork, shrimp, lamb, steak, and vegetables.

The Grill Express also comes with a plastic beaker for accurate water measurement which is required in order to use the Grill Express. A special cleaning utensil for the non-stick surface heating plates, made of plastic, is also included. In addition to the instructions manual, a videotape is included which demonstrates how to properly use the Grill Express.


Is the Grill Express classifiable as an oven or as a griller 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 shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

There is no dispute that the Grill Express is provided for in heading 8516, HTSUS, as other ovens and grillers. In your letter, you indicate that although the merchandise is called a grill, it only "captures the taste and appearance of grilling" by cooking with moist heat in a sealed chamber. Unlike a grill, the subject merchandise can cook a steak in 1.5 minutes. You argue that the merchandise merely simulates grilling, but its function and design is more like an oven and, therefore, should be classified under subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS, as other ovens.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. EN 85.16, page 1359, states that other electro-thermic appliances used for domestic purposes include "other ovens and cookers, cooking plates, boiling rings, grillers and roasters. . ." EN 85.16 does not provide direction as to what characterizes "other ovens" and "grillers".

When a tariff term is not defined in the HTSUS or in the EN's, then it is construed in accordance with its common and commercial meaning. Nippon Kogasku (USA) Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982). Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources. C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F.2d 1268 (1982). Webster's New Riverside Dictionary, page 837, defines "oven" as: "[a]n enclosed compartment supplied with heat and used for cooking food and for heating or drying objects placed within." Webster's defines "grill", page 548, as: "A cooking utensil with parallel metal bars: gridiron." A "gridiron" is a "flat framework of parallel metal bars for broiling meat or fish."

According to the brochure, videotape and packaging, the merchandise, labeled as a Grill Express, allows the user to: "capture the taste and appearance of grilling"; grill meats, poultry, fish and vegetables to perfection; keep food moist and taste delicious because none of the nutrients or juices are lost in the grilling. Furthermore, both of the heating plates have parallel metal bars to give the food that grilled-seared look. Based upon the definition of "grill" and "gridiron" and from all of the merchandise's supporting information, we find that the item is commonly and commercially known and sold as a grill. The Grill Express is classifiable under subheading 8516.60.60, HTSUS, as other grillers.

However, the Grill Express is considered part of a set which includes the plastic water beaker, plastic cleaning utensil, and the instructional videotape. Each item in the set is prima facie classifiable within two or more headings. Both the plastic water beaker and the plastic cleaning utensil are provided for in heading 3924, HTSUS. The instructional videotape is provided for in heading 8524, HTSUS.

GRI 3(a) states that if a product is classifiable in two or more headings by application of GRI 2(b), or for any other reason, then 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.

GRI 3(b) provides that "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."

To determine what is a "set put up for retail sale", EN X to GRI 3(b), page 4, states

[f]or the purposes of this Rule, the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which:
(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g., in boxes or cases or on boards).

The subject merchandise is a set, because: the items in it are provided for in headings 3924, 8516, and 8524, HTSUS; all of the products put together carry out the specific activity of grilling food; and it is packaged in one box to be sold directly to the user.

Because the item is a set, we must determine which component provides the essential character. Based upon examination, it is clear that the essential character of the set is imparted by the griller. Therefore, we find that the set which constitutes the Grill Express is classifiable within subheading 8516.60.60, HTSUS.


The Express Grill is classifiable under subheading 8516.60.60, HTSUS, which provides for: "[o]ther ovens; cooking stoves, ranges cooking plates, boiling rings, grillers and roasters: [o]ther. . ." The general, column one rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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