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HQ 086287


March 13, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086287 CMS

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.90

Ms. Rosemarie Pottage
Operations Manager
Primex, Inc.
555 California St., Ste. 1415
San Francisco, CA 94104

RE: Stainless Steel and Impregnated
Polyester Fabric Pipe Supports

Dear Ms. Pottage,

This responds to your December 7, 1989 request for a binding classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for certain pipe supports. The matter was referred to Customs Headquarters by the Regional Commissioner of Customs, New York. Our ruling follows.

FACTS:

The merchandise consists of pipe supports which are manufactured with stainless steel and an acrylic impregnated non- woven polyester fabric. The sample submitted is approximately 11 1/2" in length, 6" in width and 1/16" in thickness. The article is formed in the shape of a shallow "U" so that it will fit securely around sections of pipe. The outer surface is stainless steel while the inner surface is lined with impregnated polyester fabric. The corners of the pipe support are rounded.

The merchandise is designed to be glued onto the underside of above-ground pipes in places where metal bracings or similar supports come into contact with the pipes. Instead of metal bracings or similar supports coming into direct contact with the pipe, they are secured to the articles under consideration. The articles prevent corrosion at support points by resisting the effects of accumulated moisture, reducing friction and resisting possible galvanic action.

ISSUE:

Are the supports classified as steel angles, shapes or sections in Heading 7222, or as other articles of steel in Heading 7326?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

The pipe supports are GRI 3(b) composite goods consisting of different materials (i.e. stainless steel and impregnated polyester fabric). The material which gives the article its essential character is the stainless steel. The fabric which is applied to the support's inner side assists in forming a secure seal between the pipe and support, so that the steel outer side can perform the essential functions of providing support and preventing corrosion at support points.

Heading 7222 describes steel angles, shapes and sections of steel. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 7222, p. 1008, provide that the "...Explanatory Notes to Headings 7214 to 7216 apply, mutatis mutandis..." to Heading 7222 articles. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 7216, p. 1003 provide that steel shapes and sections may be worked "...provided they do not thereby assume the character of articles or of products falling in other headings." (emphasis in original).

Heading 7326 describes other articles of steel. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 7326, p. 1038, provide that Heading 7326 includes "...hangers, stays and similar supports for fixing piping and tubing...". Most, if not all the Heading 7326 articles listed in the Explanatory Notes to Heading 7326 are described as finished articles intended for a specific use.

The articles under consideration are finished products which function with conventional pipe bracings and similar supports to provide a highly effective means of pipe support. The articles perform a support function by forming a structural shell around sections of pipe through which the weight of the pipe is distributed to hangers and other supports. The articles also improve the long-term effectiveness of conventional supports (e.g. bracings, hangars) by reducing friction and resisting galvanic action and the effects of water accumulation.

Heading 7326 also covers steel articles which protect other articles (e.g., "boot or shoe protectors"; see Explanatory Notes to Heading 7326, p. 1038). Pipe protectors are not specifically listed in the Explanatory Notes to Heading 7326; however, the Explanatory Notes to this heading are illustrative, not restrictive.

The pipe supports under consideration assume the character of specific finished articles which are similar to the Heading 7326 articles described in the Explanatory Notes to Heading 7326. They are classified as other articles of steel in 7326.90.90, HTSUSA.

HOLDING:

The stainless steel and impregnated polyester fabric pipe supports are classified in 7326.90.90, HTSUSA.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director

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