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HQ 959485

NOVEMBER 13, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959485 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8417.80.00

Port Director of Customs
6747 Engle Road
Middleburg Heights, OH 44130-7939

RE: PRD 4101-96-100224; Smokehouse Used in Meat Processing Plant; Steam Heated Oven Suitable for Hot and Cold Smoking, Cooking and Drying; Machinery for the Treatment of Materials by a Process Involving a Change of Temperature, Heading 8419; Stella D'Oro Biscuit Co. v. U.S., F.L. Smidth & Company v. U.S., HQ 959379, HQ 959754

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 4101-96-100224, filed against your classification of a smokehouse from Germany. The entry was liquidated on January 12, 1996, and this protest timely filed on April 10, 1996. In preparing this decision, consideration was given to a supplemental submission from counsel for the protestant, dated May 31, 1996.


The merchandise in issue is described as a steam-operated commercial oven used in large scale production of meat products such as sausage, pepperoni, prosciuto, etc. It is designed to operate at temperatures ranging from 70 degrees to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and is used in heating, cooking, roasting, evaporating, steaming, drying and cooling applications.

The oven was entered under a duty-free provision in heading 8419, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), for other cooking stoves, ranges and ovens which are machinery, whether or not electrically heated, for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature. You determined that the smokehouse was more appropriately described by the terms of HTS heading 8417, as an industrial oven.

The heading 8419 claim advanced by counsel for the protestant is based on the assertion that notwithstanding the principal function of the smokehouse is to heat/cook foods because it is designed to maintain a temperature of between 50 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 93 degrees Celsius), the unit also has the capability of completing the processing of food in the chamber by cooling at temperatures at or near freezing (32 degrees F). This is not a function appropriate to industrial ovens of heading 8417. Counsel maintains that the smokehouse is described both by the terms of heading 8417 and the terms of heading 8419, and that the apparatus operates at temperatures much lower than those required for goods of heading 8417.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8417 Industrial or laboratory furnaces and ovens, including incinerators, nonelectric, and parts thereof:

8417.80.00 Other...the 1995 rate of duty

8419 Machinery...whether or not electrically heated, for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature such as heating, cooking, roasting...other than of a kind used for domestic purposes...:

8419.81 Other machinery, plant or equipment:

8419.81.50 Other cooking stoves, ranges and ovens...Free


Whether the smokehouse, as described, is an industrial oven for tariff purposes.


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 - 3 -
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.

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).

The ENs at p. 1173 exclude the following from heading 84.19: (g) Industrial or laboratory furnaces and ovens, including those for the separation of irradiated nuclear fuel by pyrometallurgical processes (heading 84.17 or 85.14, as the case may be). ENs at p. 1168 state only that heading 84.17 covers non-electrical industrial or laboratory furnaces and ovens, designed for the production of heat in chambers at high or fairly high temperatures by the combustion of fuel. Specific operating temperatures or a range of temperatures are not indicated. While these notes are not helpful in clarifying the scope of heading 8417, it is clear that the provision for furnaces and ovens is to take precedence over a less specific provision for other machinery, plant or equipment. This conclusion was first stated in Stella D'Oro Biscuit Co. v. United States, 79 Cust. Ct. 28, C.D. 4709 (1977), with respect to identical provisions under the Tariff Schedules of the United States, the HTSUS predecessor tariff code.

For purposes of heading 8417, the terms "furnace" and "oven" are not defined in the text of the HTSUS or in the ENS. In such cases tariff terms are to be determined in accordance with their common and commercial meanings, which are presumed to be the same. Circumscribed only by the requirements that they be industry or laboratory types and nonelectric, an oven is a heated chamber or other enclosure used for baking, heating, drying or hardening. See F.L. Smidth & Company v. United States, 59 Cust. Ct. 276, C.D. 3141 (1967), in which the Customs Court established the common meaning of the term "oven" and determined that a kiln was within this common meaning. See HQ 959379, dated August 20, 1996, aff'd. by HQ 959754, dated October 10, 1996.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the smokehouse is provided for in heading 8417. It is classifiable in subheading 8417.80.00.

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, 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

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