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HQ 966622

January 22, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966622 DBS


TARIFF NO.: 8543.89.96

Port Director
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
610 S. Canal Street, Room 306
Chicago, IL 60607

RE: Protest 3901-02-102097; Degaussing machines

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 3901-02-102097 filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of degaussing apparatus. The entries were liquidated on October 25, 2002, and the protest was timely filed on November 13, 2002.


The merchandise at issue is described by the protestant, Panasonic Logistics Company of America (“Panasonic’), as degaussing machines, models UN60-01 and UN60-00. These machines generate a magnetic field in order to demagnetize cathode ray tubes (CRTs) because CRTs absorb magnetic charges during their assembly process. The tube is magnetized when the air is removed from it with an electric heating system process. In order to demagnetize the tube, the DC power supply charges voltage to the degaussing coils, generating a decaying sinusoidal current. The current matches the magnetic field that is created during assembly, and neutralizes it. The operation is wholly electrical.

Degaussing is also used in color monitors, generally in the form of a "degaussing coil." It is demagnetizing coil that surrounds the outside of the picture tube. Degaussing is defined, with respect to color monitors, as follows:

The action of de-magnetising a CRT-based display. Usually performed automatically when the system is powered on, this function is increasingly provided as a user-control for systems with larger displays or where the monitor is left powered on for prolonged periods. Degaussing is necessary because the Earth's magnetic field is strong enough to 'contaminate' the colour purity of a display when it magnetises steel components in the CRT.

Taxan Europe Ltd. - Technical Glossary Page, http://www.taxan.co.uk/glossary.htm, visited on October 20, 2003.

A degaussing machine also has applications other than those used for CRTs. For example, degaussing machines are used to erase magnetic tape (e.g., floppy disks or magnetic disk platters in computers). A degaussing machine applies an AC-induced electromagnetic field of varying strengths to magnetic tape, nullifying all the magnetic flux patterns stored on the tape. "Degaussing provides for a complete erasure of all information stored on a tape." Integrated Publishing, Electronics Technician, http://www.tpub.com/ content/et/14091/css/14091_236.htm.

You classified the merchandise subject to the protested entries in subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS, as other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in chapter 85. Panasonic contends that because the machines are integral to CRT assembly, the are classified in subheading 8475.10.00, HTSUS, as machines for assembling electric or electronic lamps, tubes or valves or flash-bulbs, in glass envelopes.


Whether electrical machines used to demagnetize CRTs during assembly are classified under heading 8543, HTSUS, as electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in Chapter 85, or under heading 8475, as machines for assembling electric or electronic lamps, tubes or flashbulbs, in glass envelopes.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) may be utilized. ENs, though not dispositive or legally binding, provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The 2002 HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8475 Machines for assembling electric or electronic lamps, tubes or flashbulbs, in glass envelopes; machines for manufacturing or hot working glass or glassware; parts thereof:

8475.10.00 Machines for assembling electric or electronic lamps, tubes or flashbulbs, in glass envelopes.

Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof:

Other machines and apparatus:

8543.89 Other:



8543.89.96 Other.

The protestant contends that the degaussing machine should be classified as a machine for assembling electric or electronic lamps tubes or valves or flash-bulbs, in glass envelopes because degaussing is an integral step in the CRT assembly process. Citing to a general dictionary definition of the term "machine," the protestant argues that a mechanical function is not necessary for classification under heading 8475, HTSUS. Further, the protestant cites to HQ 957754, dated October 19, 1995, in which Customs classified in subheading 8475.10.00, HTSUS, machines that establish colors for the pixels in color picture tubes called lighthouses. Lighthouses mechanically insert phosphorous coated mercury lamps into unfinished tubes and use heat and light to attain a chemical reaction. The protestant claims that if a machine using heat is classified in 8475.10.00, HTSUS, so should a machine using a magnetic field. We disagree.

The terms of the heading state, in part, that the machines of heading 8475, HTSUS, are for assembling electric lamps, etc. In addition, General EN (A) to Chapter 84 describes the scope of the chapter as covering machinery and mechanical apparatus, while Chapter 85 electrical goods. While the EN also states that Chapter 84 does cover certain non-mechanical apparatus, the machines of heading 8475 will generally be mechanical rather than electric because they perform an assembly operation

EN 84.75 (I) describes, in pertinent part, that these machines include "equipment for the heat-treatment of glass (e.g., blowpipes or pressing and closing devices for closing the glass envelope), but remain here even if not including such glass working devices." Further, General EN (A) to Chapter 84 notes that "machinery and apparatus of a kind covered by Chapter 84 remain in the Chapter even if electric, for example (2) Electrically heated machineryand other machinery incorporating electrical heating elements." Emphasis added. The lighthouses classified in HQ 957754 perform a mechanical assembly operation because the mercury lamps are mechanically inserted into the tubes in order to impart color to the tubes. The operation is also electrical because it uses heat and light to impart color. However, the use of heat to treat glass is a function that is included in the scope of the heading, according to the relevant ENs.

Degaussing machines, on the other hand, are solely electrical apparatus that, in the case of CRT assembly, assist in maintaining the necessary conditions to perform assembly operations. That is, they are used in CRT production, but the machines do not perform an assembly operation. The plain terms of heading 8475, HTSUS, provide for machines that assemble electronic tubes and the like in glass envelopes. It does not include machines, like the instant machine, that do not perform assembly operations. Further, as shown in the FACTS section, degaussing is not limited to use in CRT production. Degaussing machines and apparatus (e.g., degaussing coils) are employed in television sets and monitors, and are used to erase magnetic tape, such as that in a hard drive of the central processing unit of a computer. Thus, degaussing machines are outside the scope of a tariff provision that provides for machines that assemble electric tubes, etc, in glass envelopes. Accordingly, the degaussing machines are not classified in heading 8475, HTSUS.

General EN (A) to Chapter 85, as well as the General ENs to Chapter 84, above, states that Chapter 85 covers all electrical machinery and equipment, but for a few exceptions, which do not apply here for the reasons stated above. In addition, General EN (A)(3) specifically refers to heading 8543, among others, in stating that Chapter 85 covers "[c]ertain machines and appliances which depend for their operation on the properties or effects of electricity, such as its electro-magnetic effects, heating properties etc." According to the ENs to heading 8543, HTSUS, the provision covers all electrical appliances and apparatus not falling in any other headings in the chapter, not covered more specifically elsewhere in the nomenclature. The heading includes ion implanters, machines for electroplating, signal generators and other machines and apparatus that produce, use and/or are based on electrical operations. See, e.g., HQ 965730, September 10, 2002 (classifying an underwater magnetometer for metal salvage in heading 8543); HQ 958017, February 13, 1996 (classifying industrial humidifiers that produce steam by means of electrical current in heading 8543 and not anywhere in claimed Chapter 84 provisions); and NY J87676, August 27, 2003 (classifying apparatus that monitors vehicle input signals and sends them the transfer-case electro-magnetic clutch coil to adjust the torque and sends signals to the transfer-case shift motor in heading 8543).

The degaussing machine is an electrical machine that depends on the property or effects of electricity, specifically its electro-magnetic effects. Therefore, it clearly falls to be classified in Chapter 85, HTSUS. As heading 8543, HTSUS, covers machines with similar operations, and there are no other headings in Chapter 85, HTSUS, that more specifically cover degaussing machines, we conclude that degaussing machines are classified heading 8543, HTSUS.

We note that in classifying the degaussing machine in heading 8543, HTSUS, you informed the protestant that the merchandise was not a machine and did not work on glass. Thus, the protestant argued that a "machine" does not have to have a mechanical function. According to the terms of heading 8543, HTSUS, which provides for "electrical machines and apparatus," protestant is correct in that the term "machine" is not limited by mechanical functions. However, the protestant's claim nonetheless fails for the foregoing reasons.


The degaussing machines are classified in subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS, which provides for " Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: Other machines and apparatus: Other: Other: Other: Other.

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 Bureau of Customs and Border Protection Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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