United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0086217 - HQ 0086302 > HQ 0086289

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 086289

March 13, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086289 CMS


TARIFF NO.: 7308.90.90

RE: Steel Tubular Arms For Power Transmission Towers

Dear ,

This responds to your request dated September 26, 1989, supplemented November 15, 1989, on behalf of , for a binding classification ruling on certain steel arms for power transmission towers imported from Mexico. The matter was referred to Customs Headquarters by the Regional Commissioner of Customs, New York Region. You advised by telephone on March 2, 1990 followed up by facsimile transmission on March 7, 1990 that the grinding operations are limited to the grinding of bracket edges. Our ruling follows.


The merchandise consists of steel tubular arms for electric power transmission towers. Steel plates of U.S. manufacture are exported to Mexico where they are processed into eight sided tapered arms ranging in length from 4' to 15', in width from 3" to 6 1/4", and in thickness from 1/4" to 5/16". Brackets are welded onto the arms for the purpose of mating the arms to the vertical power transmission tower pole(s), and for the attachment of insulated lines and electric wires to the arms.

After their export to the United States, the arms are subjected to one or more of the following operations:

1) hot-dip galvanizing or electro-galvanizing,

2) grinding of bracket edges,

3) deburring.


1) Are the steel arms classified in Heading 7308 as parts of structures, or in Heading 7306 as pipes, tubes and hollow profiles?

2) Which of the three post-import operations satisfy the "further processing" requirement of subheading 9802.00.60?



The steel arms in their condition as imported are dedicated to use as arms for electrical power transmission towers. The arms have welded brackets designed to support insulating lines and electric wires. The arms are manufactured to the proper length and have a larger end designed for the mating of the arms to the vertical tower pole(s). The arms are specifically identifiable as parts of power transmission towers classified in Heading 7308. The arms are much more advanced than the "tubes, pipes and hollow profiles" classified in Heading 7306 and thus cannot be classified there.

The importer takes the position that the arms are classifiable in subheading 7306.30.30, which describes tapered steel pipes and tubes principally used as parts of illuminating articles. Even if the arms were in a class of articles specifically identifiable as parts of illuminating articles they would not be classifiable in this subheading; in order to fall in subheading 7306.30.30 the arms must first satisfy the criteria for Heading 7306. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 7306, p. 1018, provide that "[t]his heading excludes: ...[t]ubes, pipes and hollow profiles made up into specific identifiable articles...". As determined above, the arms are specific identifiable articles. They are excluded from Heading 7306 and thus are not classifiable in subheading 7306.30.30. The arms are classified in subheading 7308.90.90.

Hawthorne v. United States, 572 F. Supp. 1279 (1279), rev'd. 730 F. 2d 1490, a TSUS decision brought to our attention in the ruling request is inapposite. The arms under consideration do not fall within the class or kind of merchandise at issue in Hawthorne. The Hawthorne "class" consisted of articles chiefly used as parts of illuminating articles; the instant "class" consists of articles principally used as parts of power transmission towers.

Further, the Hawthorne masts in their condition as imported required substantial manufacturing including cutting the masts to
proper length, squaring the ends and attaching plates and clamps; the arms under consideration at the time of import have undergone all significant manufacturing except galvanizing. On appeal, the Hawthorne articles were found to be parts of illuminating articles under the TSUS; since the instant articles are more advanced than the Hawthorne articles, Hawthorne lends no support to the position that the instant articles are less than parts of power transmission towers classifiable in Heading 7308.

Applicability Of HTSUSA Subheading 9802.00.60

HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.60 provides a partial duty exemption for:

[a]ny 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.

This tariff provision imposes a dual "further processing" requirement on qualifying metal articles: one foreign, and when returned, one domestic. More specifically, "'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, November 15, 1983.

However, not all "processing" to which articles of metal can be subjected are significant enough to qualify as "further processing" within the purview of subheading 9802.00.60. To satisfy the "further processing" requirement, an article must be subjected to a further manufacturing process. Intelex Systems, Inc. v. United States, 59 CCPA 138, C.A.D. 1055, 460 F.2d 1083 (1972), aff'g, 65 Cust. Ct. 306, C.D. 4093, 318 F. Supp. 515 (1970). The Court in that case stated that it did "...not think that processes to which an already completed article is subjected, incident to using it for the purpose intended, are necessarily part and parcel of manufacturing processes performed on that article." 59 CCPA at 141. (Court's emphasis).

Thus, we have held that operations performed on otherwise finished studs incident to utilizing them at a building site
do not constitute "further processing". HQ Ruling 555001 (December 16, 1988). Similarly, welding performed in the assembly of imported parts does not constitute "further processing" under subheading 9802.00.60. HQ Ruling 025776 (February 14, 1973); C.S.D. 84-49.

Hot-Dip Galvanizing and Electro-Galvanizing. Hot-dip galvanizing or electro-galvanizing are operations which satisfy the "further processing" requirement of subheading 9802.00.60. HQ Ruling 555001 (December 16, 1988); HQ Ruling 067675 (February 12, 1982).

Grinding Bracket Edges. The grinding down of edges is a limited operation which does not constitute "further processing" for these steel arms. The removal of material to make rough edges smooth does not significantly change the shape of the arms. The radius formed by the grinding does not impart any new characteristics to the arms. Prior to the grinding the arms are completed articles under Intelex Systems, Inc., supra.

Deburring. The deburring of protruding metal burrs does not constitute "further processing" for these steel arms. The removal of protruding burrs does not change the shape or impart new characteristics to steel arms 4' to 15' in length. Prior to the deburring the arms are completed articles under Intelex Systems, Inc., supra.


The steel arms are classified in subheading 7308.90.90. The hot-dip or electro-galvanizing performed on the arms after their export to the United States constitutes "further processing" which qualifies the arms for the duty treatment of subheading 9802.00.60. The grinding of bracket edges and deburring performed after export to the United States do not constitute "further processing" under subheading 9802.00.60.


Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: