United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2002 HQ Rulings > HQ 965512 - HQ 965587 > HQ 965544

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 965544

JULY 19, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 965544 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8420.10.90

Port Director of Customs
301 E. Ocean Blvd., 14th floor
Long Beach, CA 90802

RE: Protest 2704-01-102994; Laminating Machine

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 2704-01-102994, filed on behalf of GBC Quartet Mfg., against your classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a laminating machine. The entry under protest was liquidated on July 27, 2001, and this protest timely filed on October 25, 2001.


Product literature and an accompanying schematic depict the General Binding Corporation (GBC) DocuSEAL 2700 Roll Laminator. Advertised for the business, commercial and school markets, this high speed motor-operated laminator measures 34 1/2 inches wide x 13 1/8 inches high x 20 1/2 inches deep, and weighs 125 lbs. It can accommodate articles of a combined width up to 27 inches and can adjust for 12 inch, 18 inch and 25 inch size rolls. The device utilizes preset pressure speed and roll tension to permanently seal a variety of documents of different constituent materials with a clear plastic finish. In use, documents are manually placed onto the device’s feed table. A set of pressure rollers pulls the document and the plastic film past a Teflon-coated heat shoe which melts adhesive on the film. The document and film then pass between the pressure (“nip” and/or “pull”) rollers, causing the adhesive-coated film to adhere to the upper surface of the document. A film trimmer integrated into the rear of the unit removes excess plastic.

The GBC 2700 was entered under a provision in heading 8420, HTSUS, for calendering or other rolling machines. Your office determined that the device was similar to laminators classified as other office machines, in heading 8472, HTSUS, and liquidated the entry accordingly.

Counsel for the protestant makes the following arguments in support of the heading 8420, HTSUS, classification: (1) the GBC 2700 is within the common and commercial meaning of the term calendering machine; (2) corresponding Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) for heading 8420 describe the GBC 2700; (3) a legal note in Chapter 84 requires that heading 8420 take precedence over heading 8472; and finally, (3) several rulings have classified substantially similar laminators in heading 8420. Counsel makes an alternative claim under heading 8439, HTSUS, as machinery for finishing paper or paperboard.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Calendering or other rolling machines, other than for metals or glass, and cylinders therefor; parts thereof:

8420.10 Calendering or other rolling machines:

Calendering or similar rolling machines for making paper pulp, paper or paperboard


Other office machines:

8472.90 Other:

8472.90.95 (now 90) Other


Whether the GBC 2700 Roll Laminator is a good of heading 8420.


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.

Chapter 84, Note 2, HTSUS, states in relevant part that a machine or appliance which answers to a description in one or more of the headings 8401 to 8424 and at the same time to a description in one or more of the headings 8425 to 8480 is to be classified under the appropriate heading of the former group and not the latter.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. 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).

The ENs for heading 8420 state, in relevant part, that the heading covers calendering or other rolling machines, whether specialized for a particular industry or not, consisting of two or more parallel cylinders or rollers revolving with their surfaces in more or less close contact so as to perform the following operations, either by pressure of the cylinders alone or by pressure combined with friction, heat or moisture: (2) the production of certain effects on the surface of sheet materials (other than metal or glass) passed between the rollers, e.g., smoothing (including ironing), lustring, glazing, polishing, embossing or graining(3) the application of dressings or surface coatings. In certain industries particular names are given to calendering machines (e.g., ironing machines in laundries, finishing mangles for the textile industry, or supercalenders for the paper industry), but they are classified in [heading 8420] whether called calendering machines or not...The heading also covers smoothing or ironing machines of the calender type, whether or not for domestic useOn the other hand, calendering machines which merely incorporate auxiliary appliances, such as impregnating baths or rollers, winding or cutting devices, remain in [heading 8420]. The GBC 2700 operates by the pressure of two parallel rollers (depicted in the schematic and identified as part 607040562), combined with heat, to apply a plastic coating to the surface of documents of varying constituent materials. The GBC 2700 is clearly described by the heading 8420 ENs.

The ENs for heading 8472, on the other hand, state, in relevant part, that the heading covers all office machines not covered by the preceding three headings or more specifically by any other heading of the Nomenclature. These have a base for fixing or for placing on a table, desk, etc. The term “office machines” is to be taken in a
wide general sense to include all machines used in offices, shopsworkshops, schools for doing “office work” (i.e., work concerning the writing, recording, sorting, filing, etc., of correspondence, documents, forms, records, accounts, etc.). The GBC 2700 is also described by the heading 8472 ENs.

By operation of Chapter 84, Note 2, HTSUS, the GBC 2700 is to be classified in heading 8420 and not in heading 8472. HQ 950948, dated May 29, 1992, classified in subheading 8420.10.90, HTSUS, machines performing a laminating/coating function utilizing sets of steel/rubber rolls or cylinders that apply adhesive to paper or plastic film substrates passing between them, followed by impression cylinders that apply a transparent film to the substrate, often utilizing heat. The competing heading in that case was 8439, HTSUS - counsel’s alternative claim in this case - which the ruling dismissed by application of Chapter 84, Note 2, HTSUS. Also, HQ 955929, dated May 25, 1994, classified a substantially similar thermo-sealing machine in subheading 8420.10.90, HTSUS.

On the other hand, in HQ 959287, dated October 21, 1996, one of the rulings apparently relied upon to support the liquidated provision, desk top laminating machines for heat sealing small articles in plastic sleeves as other office machines, were found to be classified as other office machines, in subheading 8472.90.90, HTSUS. Despite being categorized as an appliance of the “household-type,” this machine had small feet at the four corners as a base, for placement on desks or tabletops. This description was suggestive of an office machine. More significantly, however, after the machine was pre-heated for a few minutes, the article to be sealed was said to be placed in a plastic sleeve, bonded edge first, and the edges heat sealed. There is no indication that this machine utilized parallel cylinders or rollers to apply pressure alone, or combined with heat, to apply a surface coating, in the manner of machines contemplated by the 8420 ENs. HQ 959287 is clearly distinguishable. NY 864424, dated July 2, 1991, and NY 888918, dated August 6, 1993, both of which classified nearly identical machines in the same provision are similarly distinguishable.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the GBC 2700 Roll Laminator is provided for in heading 8420. It is classifiable in subheading 8420.10.90, HTSUS. In view of this holding, we will not discuss counsel’s alternative claim under heading 8439, HTSUS.

The protest should be 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.


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: