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HQ 087606

November 23, 1990

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 087606 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8465.95.0015

District Director of Customs
300 South Ferry Street
Terminal Island, California 90731

RE: Drill Press; Machine Tool; Drilling Machine for Metals and Wood; Principal Use

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application For Further Review of Protest No. 2704-9-002299, dated June 29, 1989, filed by counsel on behalf of Delta International Machinery Corp., Pittsburgh. The merchandise is certain 8 inch, 14 inch and 16 1/2 inch drill presses from Taiwan (ROC).


The machine tools in issue here are the Delta models 11-950, 14-040 and 17-900. The 11-950 is an 8 inch drill press with the following advertised specifications: 1/4 hp. 1720 rpm motor, 5 spindle speeds, spindle housing (quill) diameter of 1.58 in. with 1.97 in. stroke, 0-1/2 in. capacity key chuck. The model 14-040 is a 14 inch drill press with 1/2 hp. 1720 rpm motor, 5 spindle speeds (in a range lower than the 11-950), quill diameter of 1.89 in. with 3.35 in. stroke, and 0-1/2 in. capacity key chuck. The model 17-900 is a 16 1/2 inch drill press with a 3/4 hp. 1720 rpm motor, 12 spindle speeds, quill diameter of 2.047 in. with 3.35 in. stroke, and 0-5/8 in. capacity key chuck. The size of the press is denoted by the distance in inches from the edge of the column to the center of the spindle. All are bench-type machines with tilting tables.

The advertising literature notes the general purpose drilling operations these models are capable of and the fact that the varying spindle speeds can accommodate metals, plastics, wood or other hard composites. All models specify "maximum" hole diameter drilling capability in steel or cast iron.

Protestant states this is to warn the user of the maximum parameters of the machine should he use one of these models occasionally to drill metals.

Protestant maintains the three models in issue have specifications geared to woodworking rather than metalworking and are therefore classifiable as other machine tools for working wood, drilling machines valued under $2,500, in subheading 8465.95.0015, HTSUSA, dutiable at the rate of 3 percent ad valorem. The reference to subheading 8565.91.00 is a typographical error. Your office notes the multiple uses advertised and concludes that principal use in woodworking has not been documented. You therefore liquidated the entries under the provision for other machine tools for drilling by removing metal, in subheading 8459.29.0020, HTSUSA, dutiable at the rate of 4.2 percent ad valorem.


Whether a principal use for the Delta drill press models 11-950, 14-040 and 17-900 can be established.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) 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 drill presses in issue have one function, to drill. However, because they have the capability to drill metal as well as wood and hard composites, they have more than one purpose. For purposes of classification, a machine used for more than one purpose is to be treated as if its principal purpose were its sole purpose. See Chapter 84, Note 7, HTSUSA.

In the context of headings 8459 and 8465, "for" is a function word indicating suitability or fitness. In such cases, Customs examines the overall design features of a machine to determine if it has a principal purpose. In this respect, the manner in which goods are marketed, displayed or advertised has probative value in determining the target market.

Therefore, from our review of the submitted literature, together with information obtained from persons involved in the selling and distributing of drill presses, we make the
following observations. In general, while there may be some overlap, the top spindle speeds of wood-working machines are normally higher than the top spindle speeds of metal-working machines with 2-1 and 3-1 reduction motors and their horsepower ratings are generally lower. Metal-working machines normally require lower top end spindle speeds but higher horsepower (typically 1 1/2 hp. motors) for more torque. Specifically, the drill press models in issue here all lack the following features common to those targeted for the metal working market: a cone-shaped or Morse taper shank to accommodate large diameter metal bits; torque control and "reverse" function; automatic power feed capability; non-tilting table with oil trough to collect oil used in lubricating metal drilling bits (tilt tables accommodate the multiple angles normally required for woodworking).

The overall design characteristics of the drill press models in issue here lead us to conclude that their principal purpose is in working wood. This eliminates heading 8459 from consideration.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Delta drill press models 11-950, 14-040 and 17-900, are provided for in heading 8465 as machine tools for working wood, cork, bone, hard rubber, hard plastics or similar hard materials. Actual classification is in subheading 8465.95.0015, HTSUSA. The rate of duty is 3 percent ad valorem.

The protest should be allowed. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19, Notice of Action, to be mailed to protestant's counsel.

This decision is limited to the Delta drill press models discussed. It should not be interpreted to mean that all 8, 14 and 16 1/2 inch drill presses are necessarily woodworking.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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