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HQ 959712

May 2, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959712 HMC


TARIFF NO.: 8516.79.00

Port Director of Customs, Minneapolis
110 South 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401

RE: PRD 3501-95-100245; Wagner USA Power Steamer-Wallpaper Remover; Chapter 85; Headings 8424 and 8516; Subheadings 8516.79.00 and 8424.30.90; Explanatory Notes 84.24 and 85.16; Electrothermic Appliances; Sand or Steam Blasting Machines; Electrothermal; NY 859190; HQ 954781 and HQ 956226.

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 3501-95-100245, filed against your classification of the Wagner USA Power Steamer, wallpaper remover (power steamer). The entries under protest were liquidated on May 5, June 2 and June 9, 1995, and this protest timely filed on June 28, 1995.


The merchandise under protest consists of a one gallon container and a lightweight steamplate connected by an 11« foot steam hose that weighs approximately 4.6 pounds when empty. The machine provides continuous steam for up to 1« hours to remove wallpaper from a wall. The user fills the container with hot tap water which the unit heats to form steam within 15 minutes. The steamplate is placed against a section of the wall for 10 to 20 seconds and moved along the wall to soften the wallpaper glue. After this, the loose paper is completely detached with the help of a scraper.

The merchandise was originally entered and liquidated under subheading 8516.79.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as other electrothermic domestic appliances: other. However, Protestant claims that the merchandise is classifiable as other steam blasting machines under subheading 8424.30.90, HTSUS.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8424 Mechanical appliances (whether or not hand operated) for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders; fire extinguishers, whether or not charged; spray guns and similar appliances; steam or sand blasting machines and similar jet projecting machines; parts thereof:

8424.30 Steam or sand blasting machines and similar jet projecting machines:
8424.30.10 Sand blasting machines
8424.30.90 Other...1.5%

8516 Electric instantaneous or storage water heaters and immersion heaters; electric space heating apparatus and soil heating apparatus; electrothermic hairdressing apparatus (for example, hair dryers, hair curlers, curling tong heaters) and hand dryers; electric flatirons; other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes; electric heating resistors, other than those of heading 8545; parts thereof:
Other electrothermic appliances:
8516.79.00 Other...3.7%


Whether the power steamer-wallpaper remover is classifiable as an other electrothermic appliance of a kind used for domestic purposes under subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS, or as a steam or sand blasting machine and similar jet projecting machine under subheading 8424.30.90, HTSUS.


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.

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 notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Protestant contends that the merchandise is appropriately classified under subheading 8424.30.90, as steam or sand blasting machines and similar jet projecting machines, but provides no arguments to support this claim. EN 84.24 provides, as follows:


Sand blasting machines and the like are often of heavy construction and sometimes incorporate compresors. They are used for de-scaling or cleaning metal articles, for etching or putting a matt surface on glass, stone, etc., by sujecting the articles to the action of high presure jets of sand, metal abrasives, etc. They are usually fitted with dust extractors to remove the residual sand and dust. The heading also covers steam blast appliances used, for example, for de-greasing machined metal, etc.

We believe that the power steamer does not meet the definition of EN 84.24. The power steamer is not of heavy construction and does not produce high pressure jet steam. On the contrary, the power steamer produces low pressure steam, applied by a flat steamplate, to saturate and loosen wallpaper from a wall. This is not the type of machine contemplated in heading 8424.

Chapter 85, HTSUS, provides in pertinent part, for electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof. EN 85.16 at page 1470 states that this group includes all electro-thermic machines and appliances provided they are normally used in the household. Accordingly, we must determine whether the power steamer falls within the definition of electro-thermic machines normally used in the household. The Section and Chapter Notes and the ENs do not provide a clear definition of the term "electro-thermic appliances of the kind used for domestic purposes."

A tariff term that is not defined in the text of the HTSUS and the ENs is construed in accordance with its common and commercial meaning. Nippon Kogaku (USA)Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982). Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources. C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F.2d 1268 (1982).

The term "electrothermal" is defined in Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary 423 (1988) as "[o]f or relating to the production of heat by electricity." The term "domestic" has also been defined as "of or pertaining to the family or household." See Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 954781. Furthermore, heading 8516 has been found to be a use provision. See HQ 956226.

Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUS, states that in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, a tariff classification controlled by use (other than actual use) is to be determined in accordance with the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation, of goods of that class or kind to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use. The subject articles will thus fall under heading 8516 if they are found to produce heat by electricity and are the class or kind of articles principally used in the home.

The Court of International Trade (CIT) has established various factors, which are indicative but not conclusive, to apply when determining principal use within a particular class or kind. They include: general physical characteristics, the expectation of the ultimate purchaser, channels of trade, environment of sale (accompanying accessories, manner of advertisement and display), use in the same manner as merchandise which defines the class, economic practicality of so using the import, and recognition in the trade of this use. See Hartz Mountain Corp. v. United States, 903 F.Supp. 57, 59, CIT Slip Op. 95-154 (Sept. 1, 1995).

In this instance, the power steamer is powered by electricity to heat water and produce steam for wallpaper removal. The container is small and light enough for one person to use in the home. Indeed, the manufacturer describes and advertises the power steamer as an easy to use machine with all the features for safe household applications. Based on the evidence provided, we believe that the merchandise qualifies as electro-thermic, and that it is clearly designed and intended to be principally used in the home. We therefore find that the power steamer is described in heading 8516, as other electrothermic appliances of a kind used for domestic purposes. It is classifiable under subheading 8516.79.00. This is supported by New York Ruling 859190, dated January 8, 1991, which held that a domestic steam cleaning system is classifiable under subheading 8516.79.00.


Under the authority of GRI 1, Wagner USA Power Steamers are provided for in heading 8516. They are classifiable in subheading 8516.79.00, HTSUS.

This 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 Appeals Division

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