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HQ 083363

June 13, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G: 083363 DPS


TARIFF NO.: 7308.30.5000 and 7308.90.9090

Sidney N. Weiss, Esq.
757 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10017

RE: Classification of insulated wall and roof panels, and insulated doors

Dear Mr. Weiss:

Your letter of November 17, 1988, on behalf of Multypanel S.A. de CV (Multypanel), and Insulated Building Products, Inc. (IBP), to our New York office, has been referred to this office for a ruling on the tariff classification of insulated wall and roof panels and insulated doors imported from Mexico under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise requiring HTSUSA classification consists of: (a)insulated wall and roof panels; and (b) insulated doors. Each of the items is constructed by injecting plastics materials (polyurethane) between two sheets of galvanized steel. The rigid polyurethane foam serves as insulation and fills the entire space between the internal and external steel sheets. Both the doors and the panels are used in various buildings requiring insulation.

The importer asserts that these items should be classified in subheading 3925.20.0000 as "Doors," subheading 3925.90.0000 as "Builders' ware of plastics, other," or under subheading 3921.90.5050 as "Other plates," etc. of plastics. Our New York office classified the merchandise under subheading 7308.90.9090 (File No. 834289).

This inquiry has been submitted to Headquarters for a proper tariff classification.


Whether the insulated doors, roof panels and wall panels are properly classifiable as builders' wares of plastics under subheading 3925.20.0000, HTSUSA or 3925.90.0000, HTSUSA; as other plates ...of plastics under subheading 3921.90.5050, HTSUSA; or as structures and parts of structures of iron or steel under subheading 7308.30.5000, HTSUSA and 7308.90.9090, HTSUSA.


The General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System (GRI's) govern classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. According to GRI 1, the primary consideration in determining whether merchandise should be classified in a heading should be given to the language of the heading and to any relevant chapter or section notes. Inasmuch as the articles in question are constructed using two distinct materials, plastic and steel, at least two headings apply to the insulated panels and doors at issue in this case. The headings at issue in this case include:

(a) 3925.20.0000, builders' ware of plastics, not elsewhere specified or included: doors, windows and their frames and thresholds for doors;

(b) 3925.90.0000, builders' ware of plastics, not elsewhere specified or included: other;

(c) 3921.90.5050, other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip of plastics, other;

(d) 7308.30.5000, structures (excluding prefabricated buildings of heading 9406) and parts of structures (for example,...roofs, roofing frameworks, doors and windows and their frames and thresholds for doors...) of iron or steel: doors, windows and their frames and thresholds for doors: other;

(e) 7308.90.9090, sheet-metal roofing, siding, flooring and roof drainage equipment...; other: other.

Because proper classification cannot be determined by applying GRI 1 alone, reference to the subsequent GRI's is necessary.

GRI 2 contains two clauses, the second of which pertains to mixtures or combinations of a material or substance, and goods consisting of two or more materials or substances. GRI 2(b) further provides: "The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of Rule 3." Because the insulated panels are constructed of steel and plastics materials, each of which is provided for separately in the HTSUSA (heading 7308 provides for structures and parts of structures made of iron and steel, heading 3925 provides for builders' ware of plastics, not elsewhere specified or included), the principles of GRI 3 must be applied to determine the proper classification of the insulated doors and panels.

Pursuant to GRI 3(a), heading 3621 may be eliminated from further consideration since it is less specific than either of the other competing headings. According to 3(b), mixtures and composite goods consisting of different materials, or made up of different components, shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The factor that determines the essential character of an article varies amongst different types of articles. It may be the nature of the material or component, its weight, value, bulk or quantity, or its role in relation to the use of the goods.

The doors and panels at issue here consist of two galvanized steel sheets and injected plastics materials. One steel sheet serves as the external panel or door structure, the other serves as the internal structure. Plastics materials are injected between the two galvanized steel sheets thereby creating an insulated panel or door.

The importer argues that the polyurethane core of the doors and panels gives them their essential character, because it comprises a larger part of the value of the items, and because the product is bought and sold exclusively for its commercial insulating qualities which the plastics materials provide.

We agree with the importer that these factors are to be considered in determining essential character. However, they are not dispositive of the issue. The role that the steel sheets play in relation to the use of the insulated panels and doors on or in buildings as walls, roof components and doors, strongly suggests that the steel components give the panels their essential character. The steel sheets provide the exterior and interior walls of the structure. They also give the panels their outward appearance. The injected plastic portion of the panels and doors performs the subsidiary function of supporting
the steel structures and providing insulation. Under these facts, the steel components give the insulated panels and doors their essential character.

Based on the facts presented in this case and the language of headings 3925 and 7308, the appropriate heading for classifying the insulated panels and doors is heading 7308. To be classified in this heading, an article must: (1) be a structure; and (2) be made of iron or steel. There are no relevant section or chapter notes under chapter 73. The Explanatory Notes to heading 7308 indicate that the heading covers complete or incomplete metal structures, as well as parts of structures. The Explanatory Note further provides, in pertinent part:

For the purpose of this heading, these structures are characterized by the fact that once they are put in position, they generally remain in that position. They are usually made up from bars, rods, tubes, angles, shapes, sections, sheets, plates, wide flats including so-called universal plates, hoop, strip, forgings or castings, by riveting, bolting, welding, etc. Such structures sometimes incorporate products of other headings.....

The panels and doors at issue have some of the characteristics described above. They are made of two galvanized steel sheets which encase the injected polyurethane insulation. Once the steel sheets are put together and injected with plastic, the panels and doors make up the interior and exterior walls and roofing components of the structure, thereby remaining in a fixed position. Since the steel components give these panels their essential character, they meet the requirement that they be made of iron or steel.


The insulated wall and roof panels are properly classified as structures in heading 7308, subheading 7308.90.9090 and subject to a duty rate of 5.7 percent ad valorem. The insulated doors are properly classified in heading 7308, subheading 7308.30.5000 and subject to duty rate of 2.4 percent ad valorem.

Articles from Mexico classified in heading 7308 are subject to Voluntary Restraint Agreements (VRA's) which require the procurement of an original valid Export Certificate to enter the Commerce of the United States. Further information regarding this requirement and its applicability to the insulated steel doors, wall panels and roof panels classified above, is available from the Office of Agreements Compliance, Department of Commerce, 14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20230 (202) 377-4037.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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