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HQ 958906

MAY 29, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958906 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8481.90.50

Port Director of Customs
135 High Street
Hartford, CT 06103

RE: I.A. 59/95; Air Gun Handle Casting, Aluminum Casting for Hand-Held Pneumatic Control Gun; Parts of Pneumatic Hand Tools, Heading 8467; Unfinished Tool Handle Incorporating a Valve; Unfinished Part, Heading 8481, Blank, GRI 2(a); Section XVI, Note 2; 68 F. 3d 1333

Dear Port Director:

Your memorandum, dated October 31, 1995, transmitted a request for internal advice, dated October 24, 1995, from Guardair Corporation, on the tariff classification of die cast aluminum handles made in Taiwan. A sample and descriptive literature were submitted.


The article in question is an aluminum casting measuring nearly 6 inches by 3 inches and has the approximate size and shape of a hand held pneumatic control gun. After importation, it will be further machined to accept a valve seat, spring loaded sealing element and trigger. After further assembly with these other components the device functions as a valve to regulate air flow. The aluminum casting will also be further machined to accept a variety of function-dedicated nozzles, extensions, air hoses, among other components, which will complete it into a control handle for pneumatic hand tools designed for a variety of cleaning, blowing, drying and general maintenance applications.

The importer maintains that it is a manufacturer of pneumatic hand tools designed to siphon liquids, vacuum debris and sandblast. He notes that pneumatic guns for chip removal are regarded in the industry as power-driven hand tools. He concedes that while the handle, as completed, incorporates a pneumatic valve, the handle's primary purpose is as a grip for the tool. - 2 -

As such, the importer claims the aluminum casting is provided for in heading 8467, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as part of pneumatic hand tools. Noting their intended function, your office proposes to classify the castings in the appropriate provision of HTS heading 8481 as parts of hand operated valves.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8467 Tools for working in the hand, pneumatic, hydraulic or with self- contained nonelectric motor, and parts thereof:


8467.92.00 Of pneumatic tools...2 (now 1.5) percent ad valorem

8481 Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances..., including pressure-reducing valves; parts thereof:


Of hand operated and check appliances:

8481.90.50 Of other materials...4.1
(now 3.8) percent ad valorem


Whether the aluminum casting is an unfinished article or part of an article.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (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. GRI 2(a) states, in relevant part, that any reference in a heading to an - 3 -
article shall be taken to include that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, it has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

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 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).

As to whether the aluminum castings are unfinished articles for tariff purposes, ENs for GRI 2(a) provide specific guidance on the application of the rule to articles referred to as "blanks." EN (II) to the GRI states on p. 2:

The provisions of this rule also apply to blanks unless these are specified in a particular heading. The term "blank" means an article, not ready for direct use, having the approximate shape or outline of the finished article or part, and which can only be used, other than in exceptional cases, for completion into the finished article or part.

The ENs address two criteria for articles which are blanks for GRI 2(a) purposes: approximate shape or outline and sole use for completion into the finished article or part. As represented by the submitted sample, the aluminum casting under consideration is not ready for direct use, but has the form and shape of, and is visually identifiable as a handle or grip for hand-held tools. The casting qualifies as an unfinished article for tariff purposes.

Subject to certain exceptions that are not relevant here, goods that are identifiable as parts of machines or apparatus of Chapter 84 or Chapter 85 are classifiable in accordance with Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUS. Nidec Corporation v. United States, 861 F. Supp. 136, aff'd. 68 F. 3d 1333 (1995). Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of Chapters 84 and 85 are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings. See Note 2(a). Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading, are to be classified with the machines of that kind. See Note 2(b). - 4 -

After importation, the casting is further machined to accept a pre-finished valve seat, spring-loaded sealing element, and trigger. It is these elements which constitute the actual flow control elements, but they cannot function in the manner of a valve until mounted into the handle or grip. Then, the aluminum casting is further machined to accept other components such as function-dedicated nozzles, extensions, air hoses, etc. As such, the casting is first assembled into a valve, then further assembled into a pneumatic hand tool.


The aluminum casting under consideration is a blank, and therefore an unfinished article for tariff purposes. Under the authority of GRI 1 and Section XVI, Note 2(b), it is a part suitable for use solely or principally with hand operated valves of heading 8481. It is classifiable under subheading 8481.90.50, HTSUS.

You should mail this decision to the internal advice applicant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date 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

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