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HQ 967593

August 5, 2005

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 967593 KSH


TARIFF NO.: 6506.10.6075

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

RE: Internal Advice Request No. 05/006; Classification of unassembled safety welding helmets from Sweden.

Dear Port Director:

This ruling is in response to a request for Internal Advice initiated by KMZ Rosenman, on behalf of their client, 3M Corporation. At issue is the proper classification of unassembled safety welding helmets. The request for Internal Advice is predicated on a Notice of Action issued by you on the imported unassembled welding helmets. The Notice of Action proposed that the unassembled welding helmets with LCD auto-darkening lenses be classified in subheading 9013.80.9000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) and that helmets without the LCD auto-darkening lenses be classified in subheading 3926.90.9080, HTSUSA. 3M sought internal advice based on its disagreement with the proposed reclassification.


At issue are four configurations of the 3M Speedglas™ 9000 welding helmets. The merchandise in the shipment consists of unassembled welding helmets. There are equal numbers of components comprising the unassembled helmets. Those components include the helmet shell and a “cassette” a.k.a. lens, a.k.a. auto-darkening filter, a.k.a. welding filter. Each cassette includes liquid crystal elements, a cover glass, polarizing lenses and a UV/IR filter. An invoice indicates that the value of the cassette far exceeds that of the welding shell.

Specifications from the 3M website indicate that the Speeglas™ 9000 is intended to provide protection for the eyes, the face, the neck and a portion of the top of the head.


Whether the welding helmets are classifiable as Other articles of plastic under subheading 3926.90.9080, HTSUSA, as Liquid Crystal devices under subheading 9013.80.8000, HTSUSA, or as safety headgear under subheading 6506.10.6075, HTSUSA.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). 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 GRI may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

GRI 1, HTSUSA, 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[.]” GRI 2(a), HTSUSA, provides in pertinent part that “[a]ny reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled..”

Explanatory Note 2(a)(V) (p. 2) states that:

[t]he second part of Rule 2(a) provides that complete or finished articles presented unassembled or disassembled are to be classified in the same heading as the assembled article. When goods are so presented, it is usually for reasons such as requirements or convenience of packing, handling or transport.

Explanatory Note 2(a)(VI) (p. 2) states that:

[t]his rule also applies to incomplete or unfinished articles presented unassembled or disassembled provided that they are to be treated as complete or finished articles by virtue of the first part of this Rule.

Explanatory Note 2(a)(VII) (p. 2) states that:

[f]or the purposes of this Rule, "articles presented unassembled or disassembled" means articles the components of which are to be assembled either by means of simple fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by riveting or welding, for example, provided only assembly operations are involved.

The components of the welding helmets are entered together in a single container and can only be assembled to form the finished product. The helmets appear to assembled by means of simple fixing devices or by riveting or welding. Thus, classification of the articles at issue will be classified in the same heading as the assembled welding helmets.

The applicable subheadings under consideration are as follows:

3926.90.9080 Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Other, Other.

Other headgear, whether or not lined or trimmed: Safety headgear: Other, Other.

Liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings; lasers, other than laser diodes; other optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts and accessories thereof: Other devices, appliances and instruments: Other.

3M argues that the welding helmets are classifiable under subheading 6506.10.6075, HTSUSA, inasmuch as the helmets are worn primarily for safety reasons to protect the wearer’s head. 3M posits that the value and utility of the cassette distinguishes the headgear from other headgear in 6506, HTSUSA, but does not exclude it from classification, therein. 3M further argues that the helmets should not be classified in heading 9013, HTSUSA, because they are more specifically provided for in heading 6506, HTSUSA, and are more than a LCD auto-darkening lens. Lastly, 3M asserts that the helmets are classified in Chapter 6506, HTSUSA, pursuant to GRI 2(a). If the helmets cannot be classified pursuant to GRI 2(a), 3M conjectures that pursuant to GRI 3(b), the helmet shell provides the essential character and all the components must be classified in heading 6506, HTSUSA.

Heading 6506, HTSUSA, provides for other headgear, including safety headgear under subheading 6506.10, HTSUSA. We note that the term “headgear” is not specifically defined within the HTSUSA. A tariff term that is not defined in the HTSUSA or in the ENs is construed in accordance with its common and commercial meaning. Nippon Kogaku (USA) Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982). Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources. C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F.2d 1268 (1982). Reference to lexicographic authorities is proper when determining the meaning of a tariff term. Hasbro Industries, Inc. v. U.S., 703 F. Supp. 941 (CIT 1988), aff'd, 879 F.2d 838 (1989).

The term “headgear” is defined in Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary, (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988), as “something, as a hat or helmet, that covers the head.” The term is identically defined in Webster’s II New College Dictionary, (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999).

The term “head” is defined in the American Heritage College Dictionary, (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993) as “the uppermost or forewardmost part of the body of a vertebrate, containing the brain and the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and jaws.”

In HQ 087539, dated September 20, 1990, we stated that an article need not cover the head or crown in order to be classified as headgear. In so doing, we departed from prior rulings under the TSUS which provided a more limited scope of headgear.

The ENs to heading 6506, HTSUS, at page 1111, provide, in pertinent part, that:

This heading covers all hats and headgear not classified in the preceding headings of this Chapter or in Chapter 63, 68 or 95. It covers, in particular safety headgear (e.g., for sporting activities, military or firemen’s helmets, motor-cyclists’, miners’ or construction workers’ helmets), whether or not fitted with protective padding or, in the case of certain helmets, with microphones or earphones.

Like sports headgear, motorcycle helmets and hard hats, the welding helmets are designed and marketed to protect the wearer’s head, albeit the face which receives most of the protection provided by the welding helmets.

We conclude, based upon consideration of the provisions of heading 6506, HTSUSA, and the ENs thereto, that the complete articles at issue entered unassembled are classifiable under heading 6506, HTSUSA.


The unassembled auto-darkening safety welding helmets are classified in subheading 6506.10.6075, HTSUSA, which provides for “Other headgear, whether or not lined or trimmed: Safety headgear: Other, Other.” The general column one rate of duty is free.

You are to mail this decision to the internal advice requester no later than sixty days from the date of the decision. At that time, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP 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, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division

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