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HQ 956079

August 29, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956079 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8424.89.00

Mr. Keith B. Newfield
Director of Operations
Carex Systems Inc.
1842 Beacon Street
Brookline, Massachusetts 02146

RE: Automatic Soap Dispenser; HQ 950881 revoked; heading 8413; EN 84.13; EN 84.24

Dear Mr. Newfield:

This is in reference to HQ 950881, issued to you on March 30, 1992, concerning the classification of an automatic soap dispenser under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Based upon a further review of this matter, we have reconsidered HQ 950881. Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. No. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter, "section 625"), notice of the proposed revocation of HQ 950881 was published July 27, 1994, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 30.


The article in question is a battery operated, automatic soap dispenser, imported from the People's Republic of China. The unit is comprised of a rectangular-shaped plastic body that internally houses an infrared sensor, piston-type pump, solenoid switch, two battery cases, and a module containing a red and green lamp. The infrared sensor, located on the bottom of the dispenser, sends out an infrared beam which reflects back to an electromagnetic solenoid. This beam is broken when an individual's hand is placed under the bottom of the dispenser. This action activates the solenoid, which in turn activates the liquid pump motor, which in turn automatically dispenses liquid soap onto the individual's hand.

In HQ 950881, Customs classified the automatic soap dispenser as a reciprocating positive displacement liquid pump under subheading 8413.50.00, HTSUS, rather than as a mechanical appliance for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids under subheading 8424.89.00, HTSUS.


Whether automatic soap dispensers are classifiable as other mechanical appliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids under subheading 8424.89.00, 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 that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The headings at issue are as follows:

8413 Pumps for liquids, whether or not fitted with a measuring device . . .

8424 Mechanical appliances (whether or not hand- operated) for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders . . .

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

EN 84.13, pg. 1161, states that heading 8413, HTSUS, excludes appliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids. Thus, if the article in question is described in heading 8424, HTSUS, it cannot be classified under heading 8413, HTSUS.

EN 84.24, pg. 1188, states that heading 8424, HTSUS, "covers machines and appliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying steam, liquids or solid materials . . . in the form of a jet, a dispersion (whether or not in drips) or a spray." The fact that an article "dispenses" a liquid does not necessarily mean that it is covered by heading 8424, HTSUS. For an article to be covered by this heading, it must either project, disperse or spray that liquid. - 3 -

In HQ 950881, we held that a device that "merely allows a fixed amount of liquid (soap) to pass through an orifice . . . is not the type of machine or appliance contemplated by Heading 8424, HTSUS." While we adhere to this conclusion--that the dispensing of a liquid in a fixed amount is not a projection, dispersion or spray--we erroneously believed that the automatic soap dispenser in question dispensed a fixed amount of liquid. In fact, the automatic soap dispenser would continuously project soap as long as an individual's hand remained underneath the sensor.

The soap dispenser is not simply a pump--it incorporates one. However, unlike an appliance incorporating a metered pump, the soap dispenser does, in fact, spray, project or disperse a liquid, as those terms are commonly defined. Accordingly, the soap dispenser is classifiable under subheading 8424.89.00, HTSUS.


The automatic soap dispenser is classifiable under subheading 8424.89.00, HTSUS, which provides for other mechanical appliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 3.7% ad valorem.

In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director

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