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HQ 961522

AUGUST 10, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 961522 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8423.20.00

Port Director of Customs
200 Granby Street, Suite 839
Norfolk, VA 23510

RE: PRD 1401-98-100001; Grader System; Continuous Weighing Machine, Grader and Sizer; Weighing Scales, Scales for Discharging a Predetermined Weight of Material, Subheading 8423.30.00; Composite Good, Essential Character, GRI 3(b), GRI 6

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1401-98-100001, filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a grader system or weight grader from Iceland. The entry under protest was liquidated on October 10, 1997, and this protest timely filed on December 29, 1997.


The merchandise in issue is a grader system, also called a sizer or weight grader, used in the weighing, grading and sizing of chicken fillets and tenders, chunk meats, fish, and other food products. It consists essentially of infeed and take-away conveyors, a weighing machine or scale and, in this case, a batching bin. The product moves by infeed conveyor to the weighing machine which utilizes a weight sensor or load cell. This machine operates without interruption to weigh individual pieces and, based on weight, activates mechanical discharge arms that pull the product from the scale into the pneumatically-operated batching bin. When a predetermined weight of product is reached, the door to the batching bin closes and a signal light activates. A button is then pushed which permits the batched product to fall down the chute into bags or boxes which the take-away conveyor removes. The machinery does not mechanically wrap or package the product, nor does it replace full bags with empty
ones. These functions are performed by a technician. There is no indication that this machinery is capable of detecting and removing defective product. The computer that monitors and controls the entire process is not a part of this importation.

The entry was liquidated under a provision in HTS heading 8423 for scales for continuous weighing of goods. The importer/protestant describes the machinery as a catch weighing unit that, unlike the flow scale which the company also produces, is not able to operate as a continuous weight scale. He claims that another provision in heading 8423, scales for discharging a predetermined weight of material into a bag or container, represents the correct classification.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8423 Weighing machinery...:

8423.20.00 Scales for continuous weighing of goods on conveyors

8423.30.00 [s]cales for discharging a predetermined weight of material into a bag or container, including hopper scales


Whether the weight grader is a scale for continuous weighing of goods.


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 3(a) states, in part, that where goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, each of which refers to part only of the materials or substances contained in composite goods, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods. GRI 3(b) states that composite goods made up of different components shall be classified according to their essential character.

GRI 6 states, in part, that goods are classifiable in the subheadings of a heading according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes and, by appropriate substitution of terms, to GRIs 1 through 5, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. The relative section, chapter and subchapter notes also apply, unless the context requires otherwise.

The parties agree that the grader system under protest is weighing machinery of heading 8423. To compare the competing subheadings, however, it is necessary to apply the GRIs at the subheading level of heading 8423 through GRI 6. Subheading 8423.20.00 describes scales that weigh continuously. In our opinion, it includes scales that operate in a continuous process with brief intervals or with continued recurrence. Subheading 8423.30.00 describes scales for discharging a predetermined weight of material into a bag or container. As each subheading describes part only of the grader system, they are deemed to be equally specific under GRI 3(a).

Whether the conveyors, weighing machine and batching bin are attached together to form a practically inseparable whole or are, in fact, separable, the components are adapted one to the other, are mutually complementary, and there is no indication they are normally offered for sale separately. Under GRI 3(b), this machinery qualifies as a composite good which is to be classified as if consisting of that component which imparts the essential character to the whole. In this case, the collection of pieces into batches of predetermined weight is necessarily predicated on the continuous weighing function. We conclude, therefore, that the weighing component imparts the essential character to the grader system.


The grader system or weight grader is provided for in heading 8423. Under the authority of GRI 3(b), applied at the subheading level through GRI 6, it is classifiable in subheading 8423.20.00, HTSUS.

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
Commercial Rulings Division

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