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HQ 085222

November 17, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085222 TLS


TARIFF NO.: 8708.10.00

Mr. David R. Ribal
Standun, Inc.
207 Hindry Avenue
Inglewoood, California 90308

RE: Bumper hitch plate made of steel

Dear Mr. Ribal:

You request a ruling on the proper classification of a bumper hitch plate under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Your letter dated November 12, 1987 has been submitted to this office for a reply.


The bumper hitch plate consists of four components: two vertical brackets, one hitch, and one stiffener. Each component is made of steel and is cut and formed to shape before they are assembled. They are assembled together to form the hitch plate through a welding process. The final product is used as a rear bumper with towing capabilities on motor vehicles.

The vertical brackets are manufactured from lengths of hot- rolled steel bar measuring 0.25 of an inch by 6 inches. The bar is fed into a punch press, notched at two corners on the same side, pierced with two holes, and cut to 8 inches in length; the cut-to-length section is then formed, in a press brake, into a left-hand or right-hand bracket measuring approximately 6.7 inches on the long side and 1.25 inches on the short side. The hitch plate is manufactured from the same size of steel bar. The bar is fed into a punch press, punched with three functional holes, and cut to a length of 35.5 inches. It is then placed in a press brake and formed into an angle measuring approximately 0.75 of an inch by 5.25 inches (inside measure). The stiffener is manufactured from the same size of steel bar. It is cut to a length of 24 inches, sheared or split into two pieces, pierced with three holes to match those on the hitch plate, and then formed, in a press brake, into an angle measuring approximately 0.75 of an inch by 2.25 inches. This entire manufacturing process is performed at an in-bond facility in Mexico. The hot- rolled steel bar is exported from the United States for this purpose.


Is the bumper hitch plate properly classifiable under the following HTSUSA heading:

8708, HTSUSA, covering parts and accessories of motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705.

It the bumper hitch plate eligible for partial duty exemption as provided for under the following HTSUSA subheading:

9802, HTSUSA, covering any article of metal (as defined in U.S. note 3(d) of this subchapter) manufactured in the United States or subjected to a process of manufacture in the United States, if exported for further processing, and if the exported article as processed outside the United States, or the article which results from the processing outside the United States, is returned to the United States for further processing.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) govern the classification of articles under the HTS. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. The bumper hitch plate is specifically designed and manufactured to be used as a part of a motor vehicle. In particular, this article will be used on pick-up trucks, which are generally classified under HTSUSA heading 8704. It cannot be used for any other purpose. While it is true that articles made of steel are covered under other HTSUSA headings, heading 8708 provides a more specific description of the subject article. Therefore, we find that the bumper hitch plate is properly classifiable under heading 8708.

Subheading 9802.00.60 (formerly Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) item 806.30) imposes a dual "further processing" requirement on metal articles--one foreign, and when returned, one domestic. Metal articles satisfying these statutory requirements may be classified under 9802.00.60 with duty only on the value of such processing performed outside the United States upon compliance with 19 C.F.R. 10.9. Customs has previously held that for purposes of subheading 9802.00.60, the term "further processing" has reference to processing that changes the shape of the metal or imparts new and different characteristics which become an integral part of the metal itself and which did not exist in the metal before processing. Thus, further processing includes machining, grinding, drilling, threading, punching, forming, plating, and the like, but does not include painting or the mere assembly of finished parts by bolting, welding, etc. C.S.D. 84-49, 18 Cust. Bull. 957 (1983) (emphasis added).

In the present case, the foreign processing by notching, piercing and cutting to length clearly changes the shape of the metal and constitutes further processing within the meaning of the statute. However, the domestic processing by welding just as clearly does not constitute further processing, as it results in the mere assembly of the bumper hitch plate to the center of the bumper. Accordingly, the bumper hitch plate is ineligible for the partial duty exemption available under subheading 9802.00.60 when returned to the United States.


The bumper hitch plate is classified under HTSUSA subheading 8708.10.00 as a part of a motor vehicle of heading 8704.

The bumper hitch plate is not eligible for partial duty exemption as provided for under HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.60 and thus will be dutiable on its full value upon importation.


John Durant, Director

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