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HQ 084532

July 14, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084532 VEA


TARIFF NO.: 7308.10.00; 7308.90.90

Gage R. Johnson
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker
Forty-Seventh Floor
9 West 57th Street
New York, New York 10019

RE: Steel; Structural steel; barrier rail; steel bracing; South Africa; bridge section; parts of structures

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Your submission of May 5, 1989, requests a ruling on behalf of your client, Williams Brothers Construction Co., on the tariff classification of steel articles imported from South Africa under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The submission categorizes the articles in three groups: structural steel for prefabricated deck units, a truck barrier rail, and deck construction temporary bracing, including fastners. They are manufactured by a non-parastatal South African Company, Group Five Construction (Pty) Ltd., and will be used in the construction of a bridge.

The structural steel for prefabricated deck units consist of several components including: (1) fabricated structural steel (main girders, floor beams, splice and fill plates, shear connectors, and high strength bolts and nuts); (2) roadway deck drains; (3) sway bearings (stainless steel plates, neoprene pads, and shear connectors); (4) wind bearings; and (5) main girder bearings (bolts and sleeves). The combined weight of these units is approximately 10,369,465 pounds. They will be shipped to the U.S. unassembled, and will be used in the main span portion of the bridge, which measures 2400 feet long. Surface materials, such as concrete, are placed over this portion of the bridge to form the roadway. These articles require assembly in the U.S. using additional parts, including approximately 66,000 nuts, bolts, washers, a series of stay cables, stay cable anchors and structural concrete.

The roadway deck drains listed in item 2 provide water drainage off of the bridge sections and are located under the bridge. The bearings referred to in items 3-5 are flat pieces of steel placed at various locations in the main span of the bridge. Their purpose is to allow for movement within the structure. The girders are located at the extreme ends of the deck and the sway bearings within the towers.

The second article consists of a heavy truck barrier rail. The rail sections comprise posts, shaped pipe rail, and anchor bolts and are hot-dipped galvanized or painted after they are put together. They are shipped in panels up to 33 feet long. These items are shipped to the U.S. in complete form, but must be assembled. Assembly includes casting the anchor bolts in concrete and attaching them to the panels.

The third article consists of deck construction temporary bracing including fastners. It weighs approximately 288,000 lbs. and is not a permanent part of the bridge. It provides support for the pre-fabricated deck units during their construction and while the concrete decks are being installed.

The importer argues that articles one and three should be classified in subheading 7308.90.30, or in subheading 7308.90.60, and article two in these same subheadings if it is shipped with the other bridge components.


Whether the structural steel for prefabricated deck units, the heavy truck barrier rail, and the temporary bracing are properly classified in subheading 7308.90.30, or in subheading 7308.90.60 under the HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpertation, the legal principles by which merchandise is classified, govern classification under the HTSUS. According to GRI 1, the primary consideration in the classification of goods is the terms of the heading and any relative section or chapter notes. The headings and subheadings at issue include:

7308 Structures (excluding prefabricated buildings of heading 9406) and parts of structures (for example, bridges and bridge sections, lock gates, towers, lattice masts, roofs, roofing frameworks, doors and windows and their frames and thresholds for doors, shutters, balustrades, pillars and columns) of iron or steel; plates, rods, angles, shapes, sections, tubes and the like, prepared for use in structures, of iron or steel:

7308.10.00 Bridges and bridge sections

7308.90 Other:
Columns, pillars, posts, beams, girders and similar structural units:

7308.90.30 Not in part of alloy steel

7308.90.60 Other

7308.90.90 Other

There are no section or chapter notes under Chapter 73 relevant to this issue. Based on the facts presented in this case and the language of heading 7308, it is the appropriate heading for classifying the steel articles. Classification in this heading requires first, that an article be a structure, part of a structure, or certain articles that have been prepared for use in a structure; and two, be made of iron or steel. The heading specifically provides for bridges and bridge section.

The Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUS at the international level, although not legally binding, provide some guidance on interpreting provisions under the HTSUS. The Notes for heading 7308 state that these structures generally remain in the position in which they are placed; and they are made from bars, rods, tubes, angles, shapes, sections, sheets, plates, wide flats including so- called universal plates, hoop, strip, forgings or castings, by riveting, bolting, welding, etc.

The fabricated structural steel items are classified as bridges and bridge sections in subheading 7308.10.00. Bridges and bridge sections are specifically listed as examples of structures and parts of structures in heading 7308. Also, once these articles are located in a position, they remain in that position. Removing them is impossible without destroying the bridge. Although these articles are shipped to the U.S. unassembled, once assembled, they comprise a major section of the bridge, the main span portion of the bridge. Under GRI 2(a), incomplete or unfinished articles that have the essential character of the complete or finished article are classified in the same way as those that are complete. These articles are identifiable as sections to be used in the construction of an unassembled bridge. GRI 2(a) also requires that an unassembled article, including an uncomplete or unfinished article, which is treated as a complete or finished article, is to be classified in the same manner as the assembled article.

The Heavy Duty Truck Barrier Rail is classified as part of a structure in subheading 7308.90.90. It is a steel barrier located on the side of the bridge to prevent vehicles from falling off the bridge. They are permanently placed in this position.

The Deck Construction Temporary Bracing is also classifiable as a structure in subheading 7308.90.90. Although this article is not a permanent part of the bridge and only provides support for the pre-fabricated deck units during the construction process, a 1979 decision, S.G.B. Steel Scaffolding & Shoring Co., Inc. v. United States, 82 Cust. Ct. 197, C.D. 4802 (1979), held that similar articles, which are used as a temporary support for concrete formwork and for other structural purposes are classified as structures.

The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 prohibits the importation of articles, which are grown, produced, or manufactured in the Republic of South Africa, on or after a certain date. Articles classified in heading 7308 are not subject to the provisions of this Act. However, articles classified in this heading do require an original valid Export Certificate to enter the commerce of the United States. If you need additional information regarding this requirement, you should contact the Office of Agreements Compliance, Department of Commerce, 14th and Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20230 (202-377-4037).


The unassembled structural steel for prefabricated deck units is classified as a bridge section in in subheading 7308.10.00, HTSUS. The temporary bracing is classified as a structure, and the heavy duty truck barrier rail as part of a structure in subheading 7308.90.90, HTSUS.


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