United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1996 HQ Rulings > HQ 958636 - HQ 958741 > HQ 958641

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 958641

APRIL 29, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958641 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8441.40.00, 8479.89.90

Port Director of Customs
610 S. Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60607

RE: PRD 3901-95-101028; Components of Foam Surround Manufacturing System; Machinery for Making Paper Cones for Loudspeakers; Cone Molding Machine With Trimmer, Conveyor With Drying Oven, Urethane Foam Forming Machine and Attaching Machine; Heading 8441, Machinery For Making Up Paper Pulp,
Paper or Paperboard, Heading 8479, Machines Having Individual Functions Not
Elsewhere Specified or Included; Functional Unit, Combinations of Machines
That Contribute to a Clearly Defined Function, Section XVI, Note 4

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 3901-95-101028, filed against your classification of machinery made in Japan used in the manufacture of paper cones for loudspeakers. The entry under protest was liquidated on February 3, 1995, and this protest timely filed on May 4, 1995.


In a letter, dated January 15, 1996, counsel for the protestant provided a blueprint of the machine layout, together with specifications provided by the manufacturer. No product literature was provided. The specifications describe the functions of each machine or component that, together, comprise the foam surround cone manufacturing system. In a subsequent letter, dated March 28, 1996, counsel provided a video tape, with appropriate narration, depicting the machines in operation and each stage of the cone manufacturing process.

The four (4) machines in issue are the LMT-106-2, LKO-106-2, LFS-106-2 and the LAS-106-2. The LMT-106-2 is a cone molding machine which forms a paper cone from pulp slurry, presses the cone under heat into its final shape and density, and trims excess paper from the cone's inner and outer edges. The cone is then transferred to - 2 -
the LKO-106-2 machine which meters out an unspecified material into which it dips the apex of the cone to stiffen the neck. The cone enters a dryer which forms both the stiffening agent and a previously applied glue. The LSF-106-2 is a machine at the other end of the production line that utilizes heated press dies to form urethane surround material into a ring. Finally, the LAS-106-2 uses a heated head to attach the formed ring onto the outer periphery of the paper cone to make a finished loudspeaker cone. The cone then undergoes resonance frequency testing in machinery that is not a part of the entry under protest.

These components were entered under a provision in heading 8441, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as machinery for making up pulp. paper or paperboard. Counsel for the protestant maintains that the four components are a composite machine under Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, whose principal function is to make up paper. Your office maintains that the two machines which form the paper cone (the LMT-106-2 and the LKO-106-2) are a functional unit provided for under a provision in heading 8441 for other machinery for making up paper, and that the LFS-106-2 and LAS-106-2 constitute a separate functional unit that performs an assembly function. Their being no HTS heading for machines of this type, they are provided for in heading 8479, as machines having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in chapter 84.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8441 Other machinery for making up paper pulp, paper or paperboard, including cutting machines of all kinds, and parts thereof:

8441.40.00 Machines for molding articles in paper pulp, paper or paperboard...1.2 percent ad valorem

8441.80.00 Other machinery...1.2 percent ad valorem

8477 Machinery for working rubber or plastics or for the manufacture of products from these materials, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84]; parts thereof:

Other machinery for molding or otherwise forming:

8477.59.00 Other...3.6 percent ad valorem

8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter parts thereof:

8479.89 Other:

8479.89.90 (now 95) Other...3.2 percent ad valorem


Whether the four machines, imported together, or any of them, constitute a functional unit for tariff purposes.


Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS, states, in relevant part, that where a combination of machines, whether separate or interconnected by piping, by transmission devices, by electric cables or by other devices, is intended to contribute together to a clearly defined function covered by one of the headings in chapter 84 or chapter 85, then the whole falls to be classified in the heading appropriate to that function.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Counsel's argument that the four machines, as described, are a composite machine under Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, is not compelling because, among other reasons, composite machines must be "fitted together to form a whole." As explained on p. 1133 of the ENs machines are taken to be fitted together to form a whole when incorporated one in the other or mounted one on the other, or mounted on common base or frame or in a common housing. The blueprint, manufacturer's specifications and other data are not helpful in resolving this issue. The video depicts the four machines in operation. They are floor mounted and operate side-by-side. There is a - 4 -
certain degree of functional interrelationship among the four machines for purposes of Note 4, but there is no clear indication that they are fitted together to form a whole within the cited ENs.

We agree with your office that the LMT-106-2 and the LKO-106-2 are a functional unit the components of which contribute to the function of making up paper. As these machines do more than mold articles in paper, they are provided for as other machinery of heading 8441. We do not agree, however, that the LFS-106-2 and the LAS-106-2 comprise a functional unit, as there is no HTS heading for machines that perform an assembly function. The LSF-106-2 performs a plastics forming operation appropriate to machines of heading 8477.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the LMT-106-2 and LKO-106-2 are provided for in heading 8441. They are classifiable in subheading 8441.80.00, HTSUS. The protest should be DENIED as to these machines.

The LFS-106-2 forms urethane, a plastics material, into a ring, Under the authority of GRI 1, this machine is provided for in heading 8477. It is classifiable in subheading 8477.59.00, HTSUS. Since the rate of duty under this provision is more than the liquidated rate, the protest should be DENIED as to this machine.

Under the authority of GRI 1, the LAS-106-2 is provided for in heading 8479. It is classifiable in subheading 8479.89.90 (now 95), HTSUS. The protest should be DENIED as to this machine.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing 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 to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification
Appeals Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: