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HQ 963789

OCTOBER 10, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963789 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8431.39.00

Port Director of Customs
300 S. Ferry St.
Terminal Island, CA 90731

RE: Protest 2704-99-102939; Wicket Leaves, Parts of Machines for Drying Screen Printed Material

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 2704-99-102939, filed against your classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of wicket leaves. The entries under protest were liquidated on July 23, 1999, and this protest timely filed on October 15, 1999.


The merchandise at issue is wicket leaves. These are articles of chrome- plated steel wire that incorporate a gripper mechanism. They attach to a conveyor and hold paper sheets as they move from a screen printing press through what is referred to as a wicket dryer. Wicket leaves insure correct spacing of the sheets and eliminate bending and creasing as the ink dries and solvent fumes dissipate. Submitted literature indicates that the wicket dryer is used immediately after printing ends and that wicket dryers may use either an open air drying method, a circulating air method or, where certain inks are used, a heat enclosed cabinet that generates temperatures of up to 150˚ F. Wicket leaves are used exclusively with wicket dryers and have no other viable commercial uses. The chrome plating on the wicket leaves at issue in this protest is apparently intended to keep the leaves from deteriorating during use, and are more expensive than enamel-coated wickets. This is a strong indication that they are principally used with heated wicket dryer machines.

The wicket leaves were entered under a provision of heading 8443, HTSUS, as machines for uses ancillary to printing. However, the leaves were reclassified in liquidation under a provision of heading 8419 as parts of 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 or drying. On protest, an alternative claim is made under heading 8431 as parts suitable for use solely or principally with goods of heading 8428, elevators or conveyors.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8419 Machinery, plant, whether or not electrically heated, for the treatment of materials bya change of temperature such asdrying; parts thereof:



8431 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of headings 8425 to 8430:

Of machinery of heading 8428:

8431.39.00 Other

8443 Printing machinery; machines for uses ancillary to printing; parts thereof:

8443.90 Parts:

8443.90.50 Other


Whether the wicket leaves are parts of machines ancillary to printing, parts of conveyors, or parts of machinery or plant of heading 8419.


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 HTSUS. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

In support of the heading 8443 classification, protestant cites the ENs on p. 1341 which under (II) MACHINES FOR USES ANCILLARY TO PRINTING lists groupings of machines for uses considered ancillary to printing. These are exclusively designed to operate with printing machines during or after the printing operation for feeding, handling or further working the sheets or rolls of paper. Protestant claims that although not within one of the six classes of machines listed, the wicket dryer of which the wicket leaves are claimed to be parts, is an end process to the printing operation that insures a high standard of print quality and avoids undesirable ink flow. This drying also constitutes “further working” of the sheets or rolls of paper. The alternative claim under heading 8431 is that the wicket leaves are parts of a conveyor which moves the printed paper through the wicket dryer. Protestant discounts the liquidated classification under heading 8419 because, at least when using the open air circulation method, drying is accomplished without a change in temperature. Finally, it is claimed the drying function is secondary to the main mechanical function of the machine, which protestant states is printing.

In our opinion, the preliminary issue is whether the wicket leaves qualify as “parts,” either under heading 8443, the entered provision, or under heading 8419, the liquidated provision. In this case, the conveyor and the wicket dryer, a chamber or hood which generates heated air, are separate articles of commerce, each retaining its individual commercial identity. The available information indicates that the wicket leaves are integral, constituent component parts of the conveyor which functions to transport paper sheets through the wicket dryer. In accordance with Section XVI, Note 2(b), HTSUS, wicket leaves suitable for use solely or principally with conveyors of heading 8428 are classifiable in heading 8431. See HQ 087016(I.A. 19/90, dated July 16, 1990).


Under the authority of GRI 1, the wicket leaves of chrome-plated steel wire are provided for in heading 8431. They are classifiable in subheading 8431.39.00, HTSUS.

The wicket leaves should be reclassified as indicated and the protest ALLOWED. 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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