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HQ 963154

FEBRUARY 3, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963154 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8479.89.97

Port Director of Customs
33 New Montgomery Street, Room 1501
San Francisco, CA 94105

RE: Protest 2809-99-100407; Winding Machines

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 2809-99-100407, filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of machines for winding carbon coated foil material into coils. The entry under protest was liquidated on April 2, 1999, and this protest timely filed on June 14, 1999.


The machines at issue, designated the M-1 and M-2 winders, are parts of the 14-component Sony Prismatic Assembly Line for producing small electrical storage batteries. The machines wind or coil two pieces of carbon coated foil into configurations called “Jelly Rolls,” which constitute the positive and negative electrodes of the battery. A conveyor then feeds the “Jelly Rolls” to another component in the assembly line that inserts them into a cell or battery can. Subsequently, header caps are inserted onto the battery can and an electrode tab welded to the header. Filling the can with electrolyte solution and sealing the fill port in the header completes the battery.

The winders were entered under a provision of HTSUS heading 8420 for other rolling machines. They were reclassified in liquidation under a provision of heading 8479, HTSUS, as other machines and mechanical appliances. Counsel for the protestant cites rulings on similar merchandise and maintains that the winding operation “treats” the pieces of metal foil. He contends that a provision of heading 8479, machines and mechanical appliances for treating metal, including electric wire coil-winders, is the correct classification.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8420 Calendering or other rolling machines, other than for metals or glass:

8420.10 Calendering or other rolling machines:


8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84]:

Other machines and mechanical appliances:

8479.81.00 For treating metal, including electric wire coil-winders

8479.89 Other:

8479.89.97 Other


Whether winders M-1 and M-2 that wind carbon coated foil pieces “treat” metal for tariff purposes.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The liquidated provision was based on NY D83615, dated October 28, 1998, in which a hydraulically controlled downcoiler for coiling strip steel onto a mandrel by means of wrapper rollers, was found to be classifiable in subheading 8479.89.97, HTSUS. The ruling noted the downcoiler did not form the metal strip, but simply takes metal strip which has already been formed and winds it around a roll.

In support of his proposed classification counsel cites the heading 84.79 ENs on p. 1425, which read in relevant part:

Machinery for treating metals, including electric wire coil- winders, e.g.:

(6) Special machines for winding or covering electric cables with layers of textile yarn, impregnated paper strips, asbestos tapes or other insulating or protective material; but excluding gimping machines of the kind falling in heading 84.47.

Electric wire coil-winders (e.g., for motors, transformers or inductors).

In support of the claim that winders M-1 and M-2 are “legally analogous” to either exemplars (6) or (7) above, counsel cites dictionary definitions of the word foil, as constituting thin sheets of metal, and concludes, presumably because the foil has electrical properties, that the winding of this foil somehow “treats” metal for subheading 8479.81.00 purposes. Counsel then cites three rulings issued by Customs in New York to support his contention that machines may be classified in subheading 8479.81.00 even if they are not akin by function to the exemplars (E)(6) or (7) cited in the referenced 84.79 ENs.

NY 859750, dated February 14, 1991, concerned three machines used in the manufacture of armatures and stators, coils of wire wound around an iron core and used as components for electric motors. Those machines performed specific operations in the manufacture of armatures, but none functioned either to wind or cover electric cables or to wind coils of electric wire. NY 859751, dated February 11, 1991, concerned a machine for winding insulated copper wire around an armature shaft, a machine for controlling the wires’ tension during winding, and a machine for cutting paper/mylar insulation material into wedges or cells and inserting them over the exposed end portion of the wire as insulators. Finally, NY 859754, dated February 14, 1991, in part
concerned a machine for cutting paper wedge sections and inserting them into stators as insulation. Without discussion or legal analysis, the three cited rulings classified the machines they addressed in subheading 8479.81.00, HTSUS. We note that notwithstanding the classification expressed in the cited rulings, none of the machines functioned to wind or coil two pieces of carbon coated foil. Moreover, assuming for purposes of argument, that the coating of the foil with carbon as an insulating agent or protective material may be said to treat the foil, the machines at issue do not perform this function. For these reasons, the cited rulings are not authority for classifying the M-1 and M-2 winders.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the M-1 and M-2 winders are provided for in heading 8479. They are classifiable in subheading 8479.89.97, 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 are to 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 make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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