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HQ 085760

January 25, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:CV:G: 085760 JLV; 845769


TARIFF NO.: 7308.10.00

Mr. Matthew Chang
C. Itoh & Co. (America) Inc.
335 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10017

RE: Unassembled bridge sections; structural girders and beams built up from steel plate; substantial transformation; Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

Dear Mr. Chang:

In a letter of September 26, 1989, on behalf of C. Itoh & Co. (America) Inc., you request a ruling on the tariff classification and rate of duty, country of origin, and GSP status of certain disassmbled bridge sections. This letter is our decision on the issues.


Steel plate, manufactured in Japan, will be shipped to the Philippines and fabricated into bridge sections. The processing performed in the Philippines will consist of the following: layout and flame cutting of top and bottom flanges, webs, and vertical and horizontal stiffeners; welding the flanges to the top and bottom of each web, and then the stiffeners to the web to form built-up girders or beams; drilling of the ends of these structurals; temporary assembly of sections and then disassembly after painting and marking.

The built-up structurals are girders or beams which, upon assembly, form the skeleton or structural framework for individual sections of decking. You call the various assemblies "bridge sections" which will be joined together to form the superstructure framework of a plate girder type bridge. These sections will be shipped unassembled; each shipment will include complete, unassembled sections.

You state that the cost of fabrication in the Philippines will be 37.5 percent of the total cost of the goods. The actual breakdown of the costs of processing was not submitted.


1. Are the unassembled articles classified as bridge sections?

2. Is the steel plate substantially transformed in the Philippines for purposes of country of origin of the articles to be imported into the United States?

3. Do the articles qualify for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)?


Structures and parts of structures of iron or steel, and plates, rods, angles, shapes, sections, tubes and the like of iron or steel, prepared for use in structures, are covered by heading 7308, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUS). Subheading 7308.10 provides for bridges and bridge sections; subheading 7308.90 provides for the products of heading 7308 other than bridges and bridge sections and the products of subheadings 7308.20, 7308.30, and 7308.40, which are not pertinent to this case.

The classification issue is whether the imported articles are bridge sections within the meaning of subheading 7308.10, HTSUSA; if not, then are they classifiable as other parts of structures or as shapes or sections prepared for use in structures within subheading 7308.90, HTSUSA. General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1 applies. GRI 6, HTSUSA. As used in heading 7308, the term "bridge-section" is an exemplar of the type of structures and parts of structures provided for in heading 7308. Structural supports, such as pillars and columns are also used as exemplars in heading 7308. Girders and beams are structural supports which, like pillars and columns, are load-bearing parts of structures. Therefore, we conclude that a bridge section is an identifiable bridge part which constitutes an assemblage of structural members, and that a simple built-up girder, by itself, does not normally constitute a bridge section as that term is used in heading 7308, HTSUSA.

In this case, the imported articles constitute dis- assembled, identifiable sections of a bridge superstructure. They are to be temporarily assembled for purposes of testing and for coding so that the components for each section can be properly assembled when the bridge is constructed. These distinct sections, even though they may lack the fasteners and some minor steel components, have the essential character
of articles identifiable and known as bridge sections. Furthermore, the sections are shipped in a unassembled form which is not uncommon for these kinds of large structural articles, and the assembly after importation is by riveting, bolting, and welding. Therefore, these unassembled sections are classifiable as bridge sections in subheading 7308.10.00, HTSUSA. GRI 2(a), HTSUSA.

The cutting of steel plate into distinct parts of built- up structural components, i.e., the flanges, webs, and stiffeners, and the welding of these parts to form the built- up structural components are a manufacturing process that results in new and different articles, i.e., girders, which have a name, character, and use that are distinct from the steel plates. Therefore, these fabricated structural components are products of the Philippines.

Articles classified in subheading 7308.10.00 are designated as eligible for the duty-free benefits of the GSP. For purposes of determining whether the imported articles qualify for the benefits of the GSP, at least 35 percent of the appraised value of the articles must be attributed to the cost or value of materials produced in the Philippines and the cost or value of the direct costs of processing operations performed in the Philippines. 19 CFR 10.176. Although you indicate that the costs of processing in the Philippines are equal to 37.5 percent of the cost of the articles, the value- content requirement is based on a percentage of the appraised value. Therefore, although the articles may be eligible for the benefits of the GSP, we do not have sufficient information to rule on whether they satisfy the 35 percent value-content requirement. For your information, the value-content requirement is explained in sections 10.177 and 10.178 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.177 - 10.178).


1. The unassembled built-up steel components which are identifiable as distinct sections of the bridge, are classi- fied as bridge sections in subheading 7308.10.00, HTSUSA.

2. The steel plate from Japan, when processed by cutting into flanges, webs, and stiffeners, and then by welding to form built-up structurals, is substantially transformed so that the resulting new and different articles, i.e., built-up structural, are products of the Philippines.

3. Articles of subheading 7308.10.00, HTSUSA, from the Philippines, are designated as eligible for the benefits of the GSP and may be entered free of duty if the conditions set forth in General Note 3(c)(ii), HTSUSA, are satisfied.


John Durant, Director

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