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HQ 960936

JANUARY 29, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960936 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8419.89.90

Mr. F. M. Pfeil
Pamran Co., Inc.
1900 William Street
Racine, Wisconsin 53404

RE: HQ 083 699 Modified; Pistol Shaped Hot Air Guns, Hand-Held Devices for Blowing Hot Air; Machinery, Plant or Laboratory Equipment, Whether or not Electrically Heated, for the Treatment of Materials by a Process Involving a Change of Temperature, Heading 8419; Electrical Machines and Apparatus, Heading 8543; HQ 950571, HQ 954370

Dear Mr. Pfeil:

In HQ 083699, issued to you on May 26, 1989, we held that eight models of a hot air gun were classifiable in subheading 8543.80.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed modification of HQ 083699 was published on December 24, 1997, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 31, Number 52.


The hot air guns in HQ 083699 included, among others, the models HJ-300, HJ-302, HJ-500, HJ-502, HJ-700, HJ-702, HJ-700X and HJ-702X. They were described as industrial-type, pistol shaped hot air guns having different nozzle openings and heat ratings. Each has an electric motor and fan that blows air heated over an electric element wound on a mica core. These hot air guns were said to be used to shrink plastic film and tubing, cure epoxies, preheat materials, remove paint, remove or bend
tiles. Two models used in thermoplastic welding applications, are not in issue here.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8419 Machinery, plant or laboratory equipment, whether or not electrically heated, for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature such as heating...; parts thereof:

Other machinery, plant or equipment:

8419.89 Other:

8419.89.90 Other

8543 Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 85]; parts thereof:

Other machines and apparatus:

8543.89 Other:

8543.89.96 Other


Whether the hot air guns in issue are provided for in heading 8419.


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.

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).

Relevant ENs at p. 1518 state in part that heading 8543 covers electrical apparatus not falling in any other heading of Chapter 85 nor covered more specifically by a heading of any other Chapter of the Nomenclature. The principal electrical goods covered more specifically by other Chapters include electrical machinery of Chapter 84. Therefore, hot air guns provided for in an appropriate heading of Chapter 84 should be classified there.

HQ 083699 specifically discounted the applicability of heading 8419 by stating, on p. 3, that although the hot air guns were used to heat various materials, the purpose of the heating was not to "treat" the materials but to achieve a manufacturing process by soldering or desoldering components, wrapping an article in heat-shrink plastic, or softening paint for easy cleaning of a surface. The ruling then cited relevant ENs stating that heading 8419 excludes machinery in which the heating, even if essential, is a secondary function designed to facilitate the main mechanical function of the machine. The ruling concluded that while the hot air guns performed no mechanical function, they were used to facilitate mechanical functions.

In fact, the hot air guns do treat epoxies, plastic, paints, tiles or other materials by causing a transformation of those materials resulting principally from the temperature change. Machinery or plant of heading 8419 may or may not incorporate mechanical equipment. The fan and motor in the hot air guns are mechanical equipment, but they do not perform the main function of these devices. The functions of the fan and motor are clearly subordinate to the primary function of the hot air guns which is to produce hot air. We conclude that the hot air guns are described by heading 8419. For this reason, they are not classifiable in the provisions of heading 8543. HQ 950571, dated February 12, 1992, classified thermal breakout machines, which utilized propane or natural gas torches to melt or otherwise transform glass shapes, in an equivalent provision of heading

8419. HQ 954370, dated September 1, 1993, similarly classified electric hot air tools, nearly identical to the hot air guns in issue here.


Under the authority of GRI 1, hot air gun models HJ-300, HJ-302, HJ-500, HJ-502, HJ-700, HJ-702, HJ-700X and HJ-702X are provided for in heading 8419. They are classifiable in subheading 8419.89.90, HTSUS.

HQ 083699, dated May 26, 1989, is hereby modified with respect to the listed hot air gun models. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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