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HQ 086927

April 25, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086927 JMH


TARIFF NO.: 7325.10.00

S. Richard Shostak, Esq.
Stein Shostak Shostak & O'Hara
Suite 1240
3580 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2597

RE: Cast iron tree grates

Dear Mr. Shostak:

Your letter of March 14, 1990, requesting a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUSA") for certain cast iron tree grates, on behalf of AIM and Ironsmith, Inc., was referred to this office for a reply.


The articles in question are cast iron, nonmalleable tree grates to be imported from Mexico. The grates are made of grey castings per ASTM A-48. They are placed around the base of a tree and are both functional and decorative.

As a functional item, the tree grates act to prevent people from stepping into a tree well and keep trash and debris from falling into a tree well. The gratings also hold dirt and fertilizer within a tree well and the slots in the grating allow air and water to reach a tree's roots.

As a decorative article, the tree grate's pattern may be selected by a landscape architect to contribute to the atmosphere of a project.

The analysis of the tree grates you submitted establishes that the grates consist of 0.64% manganese, 0.15% phosphorus, 0.13% sulfur, 1.75% silicon, 3.50% total carbon, and the base product is iron.


Whether the cast iron, nonmalleable tree grates are properly classified within heading 7308, HTSUSA, as "Structures..and parts of structures...of iron or steel", or within heading 7325, HTSUSA, as "Other cast articles of iron or steel..."


The classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1, HTSUSA, states in part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes..."

Articles of iron or steel are classified within Chapter 73, HTSUSA. The headings in contention are headings 7308 and 7325, HTSUSA. These headings describe:

7308 Structures (excluding prefabricated buildings of heading 9406) and parts of structures..of iron or steel; plates, rods, angles, shapes, sections, tubes and the like, prepared for use in structures, of iron or steel...

7308.90.90 Other...Other

7325 Other cast articles of iron or steel...

7325.10.00 Of nonmalleable cast iron...

You contend that the appropriate classification is subheading 7325.10.00, HTSUSA. An applicable note, Chapter 73, Note 1, HTSUSA, states the following:

In this chapter the expression "cast iron" applies to products obtained by casting in which iron predominates by weight over each of the other elements and which do not comply with the chemical composition of steel as defined in Note 1(d) to Chapter 72.

Chapter 72, Note 1(d), HTSUSA, provides that steel is usefully malleable and contains by weight 2% or less of carbon.

The tree grates in question are cast products of which iron is the dominant material. The content of carbon within the tree grates is greater than that allowed by Chapter 72, Note 1(d). Therefore, the tree grates are cast iron products in accordance with Chapter 73, Note 1.

For classification within heading 7308, the terms of the heading must be met, in accordance with GRI 1. The tree grates must be structures or parts of structures. This office has considered a structure to be assemblies of structural members with load-carrying or weight-bearing capability; the grouping of various parts of an assembled entity; any construction, production, or piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner; and things made up of more or less interdependent elements or parts or having a definite or fixed pattern of organization. See Headquarters Ruling Letter 086482, dated April 3, 1990. The tree grates in question are not structures, nor are they parts of any structure.

Since no other heading's terms within Chapter 73 describe the tree grates, heading 7325 appears to be the appropriate heading for the tree grates. This is supported by the Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Explanatory Note 73.25 states that heading 7325 "covers all cast articles or iron or steel, not elsewhere specified or included." (original emphasis) Explanatory Note 73.25, Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System ("HCDCS"), Vol.3, p. 1037. The Explanatory Note lists "inspection traps, gratings, drain covers and similar castings for sewage, water, etc. systems..." as a few of the items included in heading 7325. The articles under consideration are in our opinion akin to these exemplars.

Thus, it is the opinion of this office that the tree grates are included in the scope of heading 7325. The tree grates are properly classified within subheading 7325.10.00, HTSUSA, as "Other cast articles of iron or steel...Of nonmalleable cast iron..."


The cast iron, nonmalleable tree grates imported from Mexico are not structures, nor are they part of any structure. The grates are properly classified within subheading 7325.10.00, HTSUSA, as "Other cast articles of iron or steel...Of nonmalleable cast iron..."


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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