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HQ 958882





April 25, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958882 LTO

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 8425.42.00

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

RE: Protest 2704-96-100027; floor jack and jack stands; GRI 3(b) ("sets"); EN to GRI 3(b); heading 7326

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 2704-96-100027, which concerns the classification of jacks and jack stands under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The subject merchandise was entered on June 11, 1995, and the entry was liquidated on October 6, 1995. The protest was timely filed on January 4, 1996.

FACTS:

The three-ton capacity floor jack is packaged together in a single carton with two jack stands (Sears Model No. 50133). The jack (No. 50115) has a wheeled-base and a lifting range of 5 1/4 inches to 20 1/8 inches. The jack stands (No. 50118) feature a saddle which can be manually raised or lowered by means of a ratchet mechanism. Unlike the jack, the stands are incapable of lifting a heavy object.

The jack and jack stands are used in conjunction with each other. After the jack is used to raise one corner of the automobile to the desired height, a jack stand is adjusted and positioned to support the raised vehicle. The jack can then be removed and re-positioned at the other corner, and the process repeated. This allows the entire front or rear of the automobile - 2 -
to be raised, making it easier or safer for an individual to perform maintenance or repairs.

The jack and jack stands are packaged together in a single carton which displays a description of its contents, model number, Sears name and address, country of origin of the merchandise and the words, "Special Purpose." The jack and jack stands can be ordered separately under their individual stock numbers at a Sears retail store, or can be purchased together as stock no. 50133 at a reduced price.

The jack and jack stands were entered, as a General Rule of Interpretation 3(b), HTSUS, "set," under subheading 8425.42.00, HTSUS, which provides for other hydraulic jacks. They were classified separately upon liquidation under subheading 8425.42.00, HTSUS (jack), and subheading 7326.90.85, HTSUS (jack stands), which provides for other articles of iron or steel.

ISSUE:

Whether the jack and jack stands constitute a GRI 3(b)

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

The General Rules of Interpretation 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 Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, and therefore not dispositive, 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 (August 23, 1989).

If imported separately, the jack would be classified under subheading 8425.42.00, HTSUS, which provides for other hydraulic jacks, while the jack stands would be classified under subheading 7326.90.85, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of iron or steel. However, the jack and jack stands are packaged together in a single box. Thus, it is necessary to consider whether the articles constitute a GRI 3(b) "set."

GRI 3(b) states that "[w]hen, by the 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:

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 [underlining added]."

The Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b), pg. 4, state that "[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) [emphasis in original]."

The jack and jack stands clearly meet parts (a) and (c) of the above-stated requirements. The jack and jack stands are prima facie classifiable in different headings--heading 8425 and heading 7326, HTSUS, respectively. The jack and jack stands are packaged together in a single carton for sale directly to users without repacking. The carton is marked with a description of its contents, model number, Sears name and address, country of origin of the merchandise and the words, "Special Purpose."

With regard to requirement (b), the jack and jack stands are used in conjunction with each other to carry out a specific activity. After the jack is used to raise one corner of the automobile to the desired height, a jack stand is adjusted and positioned to support the raised vehicle. The jack can then be removed and re-positioned at the other corner, and the process repeated. This allows the entire front or rear of the automobile to be raised, making it easier or safer for an individual to perform maintenance or repairs. - 4 -

Accordingly, the jack and jack stands constitute a GRI 3(b) "set," and must be classified as if consisting of the component which gives the "set" its essential character.

Essential character may 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." EN to GRI 3(b), pg. 4. All of these factors (except "quantity") support a finding that the essential character of the "set" is represented by the jack, which can be used in the absence of the jack stands (while the jack stands cannot be used in the absence of the jack). Thus, the "set" is classifiable under subheading 8425.42.00, HTSUS.

HOLDING:

The jack and jack stands are classifiable, according to GRI 3(b), under subheading 8425.42.00, HTSUS.

The protest should be GRANTED. 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.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director

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