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HQ 087740

AUG 20 1990

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 087740 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8454.30.0090, HTSUSA

Robert T. Givens, Esq.
Givens and Kelly
950 Echo Lane, Suite 360
Houston, Texas 77024

RE: Continuous Casting Plant

Dear Mr. Givens:

Your letter of July 26, 1990, on behalf of Golden Aluminum Company, Lakewood, Colorodo, concerns the tariff status of the Lauener block caster/reduction/coiler plant. Additional information was submitted in the form of a meeting in our office, supplemental brief, blueprints, color photographs, and a video cassette.

Our previous ruling to you, dated June 7, 1990 (086736), addressed the tariff status of the caster unit, reduction group, and tandem coilers. Lacking sufficient information, we were unable to consider the remaining components. You specifically ask that we reconsider the issue of whether the entire plant, the components of which you now state will be imported in the same shipment, is a composite machine for tariff purposes, and also that we address the status of the steel foundation parts which support the plant.


The material appearing under FACTS in the June 7 letter is incorporated by reference in this decision. The additional components we were unable to consider previously consist of the plant's hydraulics (the system of pumps and tanks containing fluids which supply the power for the machinery), a roller-type conveyor for moving the aluminum slab from the reduction group through the edge trimmer to the shear then to the tandem coilers, and the plant's programmable controlling apparatus in the form of a console with keyboards and CRTs, designed to
control the plant's entire operation. However, the steel foundation which you previously stated was to be imported separately, will now be imported in the same shipment with all the components necessary to complete the plant.

The steel foundation is described as a series of masts and tie-in frames. The masts are vertical support elements consisting of a series of welded plates. H or I beams attach to these masts and bear the weight of the plant's components which rest on them. The bottom of each mast attaches to a tie-in frame which is a steel plate bolted to the concrete floor. The masts and tie-in frames support and stabilize the beams. The masts and tie-in frames supporting the tundish/caster unit also contain hydraulic lifting mechanisms which allow that unit to be tilted at various angles. This permits the hot aluminum slab to be control cooled by adjusting the speed at which it passes through the chilling blocks. The rate at which the slab is allowed to cool depends on the particular aluminum alloy being used. Assemblies of masts, tie-in frames and beams run the entire length of the composite plant on both sides, from the tundish/caster to the tandem coilers. These parallel assemblies are connected by a series of beams running perpendicular between them.


Whether the plant components, as described, constitute a composite machine for tariff purposes.


Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUSA in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided the headings or notes do not provide otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUSA, states in part that composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component of as being that machine which performs the principal function.

The Explanatory Notes (ENs) which constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System, at p. 1133 explain General Explanatory Note 3 to Section XVI and state that for the purposes of [the provisions
relating to composite machines and multi-function machines], machines of different kinds are taken to be fitted together to form a whole when (1) incorporated one in the other or (2) mounted one on the other, or (3) mounted on a common base or frame or in a common housing (emphasis original). The ENs continue by stating that floors, concrete bases, walls, partitions, ceilings, etc., even if specially fitted out to accomodate machines or appliances, should not be regarded as a common base joining such machines or appliances to form a whole.

Our June 7 ruling was predicated on the lack of evidence of sufficient structural interrelationship of the plant's components to warrant the conclusion that they were incorporated one in the other for purposes of note 3. We now find from the additional material submitted that the components arriving in the same shipment are mounted on a common base or frame for purposes of note 3. Therefore, we find that the components of the casting plant constitute a composite machine whose principal function is the casting of aluminum slab.


Under the authority of Section XVI, Note 3, the tundish/caster unit, shears, reduction group, edge trimmer, tandem coilers, conveyor, hydraulics, programmable controlling apparatus and steel framework, as described, all of which are imported in the same shipment, are provided for free of duty in heading 8454 as a casting machine of a kind used in metal foundries. Actual classification is in subheading 8454.30.0090, HTSUSA.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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