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HQ 956227

September 19, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956227 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8516.79.00

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
300 S. Ferry Street
Room 1001
Terminal Island, California 90731

RE: Protest 2704-93-103658; electrothermic rice cooker; oven; subheading 8516.60.40; HQs 082568, 086916, 087064, 088289; EN 84.14; EN 85.16; EN 90.32; EN 94.06; International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System; Kotake Co., Ltd., American Customs Brokerage Co. v. U.S.

Dear District Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 2704-93- 103658, which concerns the classification of electrothermic rice cookers (Models #ECJ-PF10(F) and #ECJ-PF18(F)) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The subject merchandise was entered on June 14 and June 15, 1993, and the entries were liquidated on October 1, 1993. The protest was timely filed on November 18, 1993.


The article in question is an electrothermic rice cooker designed for countertop use. The cooker is a cylindrical vessel with an inner container with a detachable lid. The inner container is removed and filled with rice. After an appropriate amount of water is poured into the vessel, the inner container is placed back into the vessel and is covered with its lid. An outer lid is then closed, sealing the vessel. Both lids have steam outlets. There is an internal heating resistor at the bottom of the cooker. The resistor boils the water and the steam cooks the rice. On the exterior of the vessel, there is a "cooking" and "keep warm" lamp, along with a cook switch.

The cooker was entered under subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS, which provides for cooking stoves, ranges and ovens. The - 2 -
merchandise was classified upon liquidation under subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS, which provides for other electrothermic appliances.


Whether the electrothermic rice cooker is classifiable as a cooking stove, range or oven under subheading 8516.60.40, 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 . . . ."

There is no dispute that the electrothermic rice cooker is classifiable under heading 8516, HTSUS, which provides for electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes. However, the following subheadings must be considered:

8516.60 Other ovens; cooking stoves, ranges, cooking plates, boiling rings, grillers and roasters:
8516.60.40 Cooking stoves, ranges and ovens

8516.60.60 Other (5.3% ad valorem)

Other electrothermic appliances:
8516.79.00 Other (5.3% ad valorem)

The protestant argues that the electrothermic rice cookers are "ovens" for tariff purposes, and cites two rulings in support of this proposition: HQ 082568 and 087064. In 082568, dated December 7, 1989, we held that four models of pressureless convection steam cooking appliances, of the type used in restaurants, hotels and similar locations, were classifiable under subheading 8419.81.50, HTSUS, which provides for other cooking stoves, ovens and ranges, other than machinery of a kind used for domestic purposes. Because the term "oven" is not defined in the HTSUS or the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes, we consulted Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary, pg. 837 (1984), which defines the term as follows: "[a]n enclosed compartment supplied with heat and used for cooking food and for heating or drying objects - 3 -
placed within." We determined that the four pressureless convection steam cooking appliances met the above definition "because they are enclosed compartments (with a door), supplied with convection heat and are used for cooking food. Furthermore, they look and act like conventional ovens except they are faster and more efficient by using steam convection as a heat source. However, they cannot brown or bake foodstuffs [underlining added]."

In HQ 087064, dated August 5, 1991, we held that "Jet-Stream Ovens" were classifiable under subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS. These ovens, which consist of an electric heat source, light, fan and control assembly (a clear cover and base were added after importation), use forced hot air to perform the following cooking functions: air fry, boil, bake, grill, broil, steam, roast and rotisserie. In fact, the ovens can, with the use of height "expander rings," be used to roast an entire turkey in less time than a conventional or microwave oven. We determined that the "Jet-Stream Ovens," which were known and sold as ovens, also met the definition for "oven" used in HQ 082568, because they form an enclosed compartment and utilize convection heat to cook food, "in the same manner as a conventional oven, only more efficiently [underlining added]."

The protestant contends that the rice cookers meet the definition cited in HQ 082568 and 087064. However, the protestant ignores our qualification of this admittedly broad definition. Unlike the devices of HQ 082568 and 087064, the electrothermic rice cookers do not "look and act like conventional ovens," nor do they cook food "in the same manner as a conventional oven." The definition cited by the protestant without qualification would cover devices such as waffle irons and popcorn poppers, which cook food in enclosed compartments, but are obviously not "ovens."

We could have chosen a narrow definition for the term "oven," rather than the broad one cited above, such as the following definition found in The New Grolier Encyclopedia (1994): "a compartment that retains heat in order to bake a material, usually food . . . . Modern electric ovens have a heating element at both top [for broiling] and bottom [for baking]." However, we chose instead to limit the Webster's definition so that devices which are unquestionably not "ovens," such as waffle irons and popcorn poppers, would fall outside of the relevant provisions. Accordingly, it is our opinion that the electrothermic rice cookers cannot be classified as "ovens" under subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS.

The rice cookers also cannot be classified as cooking stoves or ranges under subheading 8516.60.40, HTSUS. The protestant, citing the international text of the Harmonized System, argues that the phrase "cooking stoves, ranges" must be interpreted to - 4 -
encompass all "cookers."

The United States, as a party to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, completed at Brussels on June 14, 1983, is obligated by Article 3(1)(a)(ii) to "not modify the scope of the Sections, Chapters, headings or subheadings of the Harmonized System." However, Article 3(2) allows for textual adaptations, as necessary, to give effect to the Harmonized System in domestic law.

The international text of the HTS for subheading 8516.60 is as follows: "[o]ther ovens; cookers, cooking plates, boiling rings, grillers and roasters [underlining added]," while subheading 8516.60, HTSUS, provides for "[o]ther ovens; cooking stoves, ranges, cooking plates, boiling rings, grillers and roasters [underlining added]." This change, from "cookers" to "cooking stoves, ranges," was intended to Americanize the language of the subheading and to simplify the classification of this type of merchandise. See HQ 086916, dated February 6, 1991; HQ 088289, dated February 11, 1991 (concerning the addition of the term "sweatshirts" to the text of heading 6110, HTSUS). The change did not, and in fact, cannot, modify the scope of subheading 8516.60, HTSUS.

Further, there is ample evidence elsewhere in the HTSUS and the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) to demonstrate that the term "cookers" refers to articles which are, at the very least, in the same class of goods as "cooking stoves and ranges." The ENs 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).

There are several references to "cookers" in the ENs. For example, EN 84.14, pg. 1164, states that the ventilating or recycling hoods incorporating a fan of heading 8414, HTSUS, include "cooker hoods incorporating a fan, for use in the home or in restaurants, canteens, hospitals, etc. [emphasis added]." EN 85.16, pg. 1360, states that the electric heating resistors of heading 8516, HTSUS, if assembled with parts other than a simple insulated former and electrical connections, "are classified as parts of the machines or apparatus in question (e.g., base plates for smoothing irons and plates for electric cookers) [emphasis added]." EN 90.32, pg. 1535, states that the thermostats of heading 9032, HTSUS, "are used, in particular, for controlling temperature in houses or other buildings, in ovens, cookers, boilers, water heaters, cold storage installations, chimneys or flues . . . [emphasis added]." EN 94.06, pg. 1582, states that - 5 -
the prefabricated buildings of heading 9406, HTSUS, may have built-in equipment normally supplied with the particular building, including "kitchen equipment (sinks, hoods, cookers, etc.) . . . [emphasis added]."

Devices in the class of the electrothermic rice cookers do not incorporate hoods with fans, plates or thermostats, nor are they the type of equipment normally supplied in a building. On the other hand, an electric stove or range generally does include these features, and would normally be supplied in a building.

Moreover, while stoves, ranges and cookers are listed together in heading 7321, HTSUS, the heading states that the cookers include those "with subsidiary boilers for central heading)." Obviously, devices in the class of the electrothermic rice cookers are not the type of merchandise contemplated by heading 7321, HTSUS.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the U.S. Customs Court's decision in Kotake Co., Ltd., American Customs Brokerage Co. v. United States, C.D. 2934 (March 30, 1967). In Kotake Co., the Court determined that an electric device for steam cooking rice and other foods, consisting of an inner and outer pot over a heating element, was not an "oven," for purposes of paragraph 353 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended.


The electrothermic rice cookers (Models #ECJ-PF10(F) and #ECJ-PF18(F)) are classifiable under subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS.

The protest should be DENIED. In accordance with section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

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