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HQ 962381

DECEMBER 2, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962381 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8419.89.90, 8436.10.00, 9817.00.50

Sean T. Murray, Esq.
Miller & Company P.C.
4929 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64112

RE: Pelletizer, Machine for Making Feed Pellets for Animals; Pelletizer Imported with Counterflow Cooler; Functional Unit, Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS; Agricultural and Horticultural Machinery, Heading 8436; HQ 089935, HQ 961408; Counterflow Cooler, Industrial Machinery for the Treatment of Materials, Heading 8419; Machinery, Equipment and Implements to be Used for Agricultural or Horticultural Purposes, Heading 9817.00.50, ABB Power Transmission v. U.S.

Dear Mr. Murray:

In letters to this office, dated February 18 and August 24, 1998, on behalf of Technostahl Schouten, Inc., you inquire as to the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of machinery for making animal feed pellets. Your inquiry specifically relates to pelletizers imported with counterflow coolers and counterflow coolers imported separately.

You originally sought this ruling in the context of the cited letters wherein you also requested reconsideration of HQ 952442, dated October 5, 1992, concerning dies and roll shells which were parts of the pelletizer. In the process of reconsidering HQ 952442, we did not act on your initial ruling request. We regret the delay in responding.


Pelletizers or pellet mills are machines that compress animal feed into edible pellets. Essentially, in a process called conditioning, an auger mixes animal meal and medicaments,
where necessary, with steam or sometimes molasses that are introduced into the pelletizer from an external source for the purpose of increasing the moisture level of the mixture. Component parts called roll shells or rolls push the feed mixture through the holes in dies of varying sizes. Heat and friction from this process compress the mass into individual pellets.

The temperature of the hot, newly-formed pellets is between 180 to 200 degrees F. To reduce fracture and crumbling due to temperature shock, the pellets are dropped into the top of a cooler which operates by the counterflow principle. The cooler is a receptacle of steel plate construction, mounted on a raised platform. A motor-driven fan draws outside air in through louvers in the discharge grid at the bottom of the cooler and blows it upward to gradually cool the pellets to ambient temperature. This process also reduces moisture in the pellets. The cooler contains no active cooling element but, in addition to the fan, it does have as standard equipment two product level probes and an alarm. When a preset bed depth has been reached, the discharge grid opens to release the cooled pellets as additional hot pellets enter from the top.

At a meeting in our office on August 24, 1998, you stated that the pelletizer is mounted on a subfloor slightly above the counterflow cooler and that the newly-formed pellets drop down a connecting duct into the cooler. Occasionally, due to space constraints, when the cooler is located a sufficient distance from the pelletizer, a conveyor transports the pellets to the cooler. There are no other wires or cables that connect the two machines. The pelletizer is said to be the approximate size of a farm tractor or large riding mower, and the counterflow cooler proportionally smaller.

You maintain that the pelletizer is a good of heading 8436 because the making of animal food pellets bears a sufficient relationship to the raising of livestock for food or clothing as to be a legitimate agricultural pursuit. You maintain further that based on HQ 089935, dated November 6, 1991, a pelletizer imported together with a counterflow cooler, constitutes a functional unit under Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS, with the function described in heading 8436. You do not propose a specific classification for the counterflow cooler. You do, however, make an alternative claim for the pelletizer and cooler, together, and for the cooler itself under heading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, as machinery, equipment and implements to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8419 Machinery...for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature such as...cooling:

8419.89 Other:

8419.89.90 Other

8436 Other agricultural, horticultural... machinery...:

8436.10.00 Machinery for preparing animal feeds

9817.00.50 Machinery, equipment and implements to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes


Whether a pelletizer imported with counterflow cooler is a functional unit provided for in heading 8436; whether a counterflow cooler imported separately is provided for in heading 8419; if it is, whether it is eligible for duty-free entry under heading 9817.00.50.


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.

Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS, states in part that a machine, including a combination of machines, consisting of individual components, whether separate or interconnected by piping,
transmission devices, cables or other devices, that contributes to a clearly defined function covered by one of the headings of chapter 84 or chapter 85 is to be classified in the heading appropriate to that function.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

In HQ 961408, dated November 24, 1998, which revoked HQ 952442 concerning dies and roll shells for animal food pelletizers, we made the preliminary determination that the pelletizers themselves were agricultural or horticultural machinery of heading 8436. For purposes of Section XVI, Note 4, a device's "function" refers to the "activity" it performs. See ABB Power Transmission v. U.S., 19 CIT 1044 (1995). Accordingly, we agree that a pelletizer and counterflow cooler imported together are a functional unit, i.e., a combination of machines that contribute together to the clearly defined function of compressing animal meal into food pellets, which we conclude is an agricultural activity for purposes of heading 8436. See HQ 089935, dated November 6, 1991, and cases cited.

As to the classification of the counterflow cooler, the ENs at p. 1271 state, in part, that with certain exceptions not relevant here, heading 84.19 covers machinery and plant designed to submit materials to a cooling process in order to cause a simple change of temperature, or to cause a transformation of the materials resulting principally from the temperature change. The machinery and plant of heading 84.19 may or may not incorporate mechanical equipment. The ENs continue by stating that the change in temperature, even if essential, must not be secondary to the main mechanical function of the machine or plant. In this case, the opening of the discharge grid to release cooled pellets is a mechanical function, but it is clearly subordinate to the main function of the cooler, which is to change the temperature of the pellets. The counterflow cooler, therefore, meets the 84.19 EN description. We also note that the heading 8436 ENs at p. 1318 specifically exclude from that heading machinery or plant of heading 8419.

Pursuant to Chapter 98, U.S. Note 1, HTSUS, heading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, is not governed by the rule of relative specificity. If the counterflow cooler qualifies under this provision it may be classified therein. As previously discussed, the device reduces fracture and crumbling of the newly-formed animal feed pellets by gradually cooling them to ambient temperature. We conclude that this is a legitimate agricultural purpose. Machinery or plant of subheading 8419.89.90 are not among the exclusions from heading 9817.00.50 listed in Chapter 98, Subchapter XVII, U.S. Note 2, HTSUS. Finally, assuming there is conformity with the actual use requirements of sections 10.131-10.139, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.131-10.139), the conditions for classification in heading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, are met.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the animal feed pelletizer and counterflow cooler, imported together, qualify as a functional unit provided for in heading 8436. They are classifiable in subheading 8436.10.00, HTSUS. The counterflow cooler is classifiable in subheading 8419.89.90, but is eligible for classification in heading 9817.00.50, HTSUS, upon compliance with sections 10.131-10.139, Customs Regulations.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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