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HQ H017694

December 26, 2007



TARIFF NO.: 8467.21.00

Sidney H. Kuflik, Esq.
Lamb & Lerch, Counsellors at Law
233 Broadway
Suite 2702
New York, NY 10279

RE: Classification of the BDF451 cordless driver drill hand tool

Dear Mr. Kuflik:

This is in response to your request, dated August 10, 2007, in which you requested a binding ruling on behalf of Makita Corporation of America (“Makita”). At issue is the correct classification of a cordless hand tool, a driver drill (or, “drill/driver”) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). A sample of the merchandise at issue was included with your request. In reaching our decision we have also taken into consideration additional arguments and product demonstrations made to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) during a meeting with you and a representative of Makita on December 18, 2007.


The merchandise at issue, the Makita cordless tool model BDF451, is described in the Makita 2007/2008 General Catalogue as a “cordless driver drill”. Product specifications are listed as follows:

Capacity Steel: 13 mm (1/2”)
No load speed (rpm) 3rd: 0-1,700
2nd: 0 – 600
1st: 0 – 300
Max fastening torque Hard/Soft: 80/40N.m
Voltage 18V

According to the submitted information, the BDF451’s gear assembly has a clutch and is able to switch between drilling holes and driving screws. An action mode change lever on the top of the tool engages or disengages the clutch as needed. The BDF451’s clutch controls its torque, that is, the rotational force exerted by the tool, by disengaging the drive shaft when a preset level of resistance is reached. The result is that the motor still turns but the bit does not. This is important when driving screws because the clutch prevents the stripping or overdriving of screws once they are snug. The term “driver” relates to this screwdriving function. During our meeting, you informed us that there are some drills with clutches that are not drivers; the clutch serves as a safety mechanism for certain types and sizes of drills.

In its imported condition, the BDF451 is a cordless driver drill hand tool that does not have a battery, charger, or accessories such as drill or screwdriver bits.

It is your contention that the cordless driver drill is classified in subheading 8467.29.00, HTSUSA, as “other” tools for working in the hand with self-contained electric motor because it incorporates the functionalities of both an electric screwdriver and drill.


What is the correct classification of the Mikata cordless driver drill?


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 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8467 Tools for working in the hand, pneumatic, hydraulic or with self-contained electric or nonelectric motor, and parts thereof: With self-contained electric motor:
8467.21.00 Drills of all kinds ..
8467.29.00 Other ..

Note 3 to Section XVI provides:

Unless the context otherwise requires, composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines designed for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative function are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function.

Note 7 to Chapter 84 provides, in relevant part:

A machine which is used for more than one purpose is, for the purposes of classification, to be treated as if its principal purpose were its sole purpose.

Subject to note 2 to this chapter and note 3 to section XVI, a machines the principal purpose of which is not described in any heading or for which no one purpose is the principal purpose is, unless the context otherwise requires, to be classified in heading 8479.

There is no dispute that the subject merchandise is classified in heading 8467, HTSUS, because it is a tool for working in the hand with a self-contained electric motor. It is also not in dispute that the hand tool at issue functions as both a drill and a driver and is used to both drill holes and drive screws. What is at issue is whether the hand tool is included in the scope of subheading 8467.21.00, HTSUS, as a drill, or whether it should be classified under subheading 8467.29.00, HTSUS, as a hand tool other than a drill.

GRI 6 provides that the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes and, mutatis mutandis, to GRIs 1 through 5, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. For the purposes of this rule, the relative section, chapter and subchapter notes also apply, unless the context otherwise requires.

Subheading 8467.21.00, HTSUS, provides for “drills of all kinds”. The term “drill” is not defined in the HTSUS or in the Explanatory Notes

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80. for heading 8467. A tariff term that is not defined in the HTSUS 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). Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed., defines a “drill” as, among other things, “an instrument with an edged or pointed end for making holes in a hard substance by revolving or by a succession of blows; also: a machine for operating such an instrument.”

Subheading 8467.21.00, HTSUS, is an eo nomine provision for drills. Eo nomine provisions include all forms of the named article, unless specifically excluded. In this instance, there are no exclusions manifest in the HTSUS; in addition, the subheading specifically provides for “all kinds” of drills. It is a canon of statutory interpretation that if the language of a statute is plain, it must be applied as written. There is no ambiguity in the text of subheading 8467.21.00, HTSUS. Further, the product at issue is commercially known as a “driver drill”, that is, a hand tool that functions as both a driver and a drill. We find, therefore, that the BDF451 meets the term “drills of all kinds”. This conclusion is consistent with previous CBP decisions on the classification of driver drills (drill/drivers) in subheading 8467.21.00, HTSUS. See, for example, New York Ruling Letter (“NY”) H80997, dated May 25, 2001 (Note: CBP classified a drill driver hand tool in subheading 8508.80.4000, HTSUS. Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 7515, dated December 18, 2001, the goods of heading 8508 were transferred to subheading 8467, HTSUS.); NY J80129, dated February 3, 2003; NY J88673, dated September 30, 2003; NY M84706, dated June 29, 2006.

Note 3 to Section XVI directs that, “unless the context otherwise requires”, a multifunction machine is to be classified according to its principal function. In your submission you point out that neither GRI 3(b) nor Note 3 to Section XVI apply to the tool at issue because subheading 8467.29.00 is broad enough to embrace the entire apparatus. You reason that since subheading 8467.29.00, HTSUS, encompasses the driver drill in its entirety, it must prevail over subheading 8467.21.00, which describes only the drill element of the driver drill.

We agree that GRI 3(b) is not applicable in this instance. CBP finds that the expression “of all kinds” is a context which requires that Note 3’s direction regarding the classification of multifunction machines not be applied in this instance. Accordingly, there is no basis to discuss your alternative arguments concerning the principal function of the BDF451. The hand tool can be classified by application of GRI 1 through the provisions of GRI 6.

In our meeting you argued that the expression “of all kinds” referred to the method by which a drill operates, for example, rotary or hammering action. You further argued that “drills of all kinds” does not provide for hand tools that incorporate a drill as well as some other tool. In support of this statement, you directed our attention to several provisions in the HTSUS in which the word “combination” (or some variation thereof) is used to describe articles with more than one component. You believe that if subheading 8467.21.00, HTSUS, was meant to include drills combined with other hand tools, the text would include the word “combination” or some variation thereof. In addition, you argued that the expression “of all kinds” does not mean the same thing as the word “combination” and that, therefore, subheading 8467.21.00 does not provide for drills that are combined with other hand tools.

In addition, you contend that the Makita BDF451 is properly classified under subheading 8467.29.00 (“other”) because it is a composite machine incorporating the functionality of a cordless screwdriver and a cordless drill into a single hand tool. In your submission you stated, “[w]hat is unique about Makita’s driver/drill that distinguishes it from a drill hand tool is the incorporation of the clutch mechanism within the gear assembly to control the torque slip.” Further, “the clutch mechanism serves no purpose for the BDF451’s drilling function, only for its driving functionality.” At our meeting you conceded that there are certain sizes and types of drills that do in fact include a clutch, which you indicated was for safety reasons. A hammer drill was cited as an example of a drill that sometimes contains a clutch. Our own research confirms that some kinds of drills may contain clutches. See, for example, the Makita 2007/2008 General Catalogue which contains several examples of hammer drills with a “torque limiter [that] stops bit rotation when hitting reinforcements.” 2-Speed Hammer Drill - HP2051 series (pg. 77), - 2071 series (pg. 78). See also the Diamond Core Hammer Drill, 8506 series with a “torque limiter [that] disengages clutch at preset level” (pg. 78). Accordingly, we find that a clutch does not distinguish a drill from a driver.

You also argue that the term “driver” does not modify or describe the type of drilling that the hand tool performs unlike, for example, when the term “hammer” is used in the expression “hammer drills”. You state that the adjective “hammer” modifies the word “drill” but does not refer to the presence of a hammer with the drill. Instead the word “hammer” describes the type of drilling which the hand tool performs, which you state is by means of a punching or hammering action. On the other hand, you believe that the terms, “driver” and “drill”, represent two independent and entirely different capabilities and functions that have been combined into a single hand tool, that is, the ability to drive screws and to bore holes.

We reiterate that if the language of a statute is plain on its face, then it must be applied as written. The use of the expression “of all kinds” All: “1 a the whole amount or quantity needed b: as much as possible 2: every member or individual component of ”.

Kind: “ 3: fundamental nature or quality: ESSENCE 4 a : a group united by common traits or interests b : a specific or recognized variety c : doubtful or barely admissible member of a category ”.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed., as opposed to “combination”, indicates that every variety of drill is provided for in subheading 8467.21.00, HTSUS. Accordingly, we find that the expression “of all kinds” includes composite machines with a drill function as well as drills that operate by different methods.

Finally, we address your contention, made at our meeting, that Note 7 to Chapter 84 should be applied to the product at issue. Note 7 is subject to Note 3 to Section XVI, and directs, in relevant part, that machines, the principal purpose of which is not described in any heading, and machines which have no principal purpose are to be classified in heading 8479, unless the context otherwise requires. We have already discussed the reasons why the principal function analysis pursuant to Note 3 cannot be applied. For the same reasons, we find that the principal purpose analysis pursuant to Note 7 to Chapter 84 also cannot be applied.


By application of GRI 1 through GRI 6, the MAKITA BDF451 driver drill is classified in heading 8467, HTSUS. It is specifically provided for in subheading 8467.21.00, HTSUS, which provides for: “Tools for working in the hand, pneumatic, hydraulic or with self-contained electric or nonelectric motor, and parts thereof: With self-contained electric motor: Drills of all kinds.” The 2007 column one, general rate of duty is 1.7% ad valorem.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the CBP officer handling the transaction.


Gail A. Hamill, Chief
Tariff Classification and Marking Branch

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