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HQ 086222

April 2, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086222 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7315.12.0020; 7315.12.0080

Janet A. Forest, Esq.
Webster & Sheffield
2000 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

RE: Leaf Chain With Bolts Attached

Dear Ms. Forest:

In your letter of January 4, 1990, as supplemented, on behalf of MHI Forklift America, Inc., you inquire as to the tariff classification of certain leaf chain from Japan. Our ruling follows.

To expedite the administrative process, this decision will apply to the open entries which you state are currently pending at the port of Houston. In the future, however, please note that the internal advice procedure applies in these circumstances.


The merchandise in issue is carbon steel leaf chain with a bolt permanently attached to either one or both ends. The chain is cut-to-length and requires no post-importation processing. You state that the lifting mechanism of a forklift truck, called the mast, consists of an inside portion and an outside portion. The inside portion is permanently attached to the frame of the truck, while the outside portion, fitted with lifting forks, buckets, platform, etc., slides vertically against the inside portion to raise and lower the load. One end of this chain is either welded or bolted to an anchor plate on the truck's carriage while the other end is always bolted to the lift bracket on the mast. In either case, the chain functions to transmit power from the truck's engine to the mast or lifting mechanism.

You state that the merchandise has been advanced beyond the status of chain provided for in chapter 73. You maintain
that because it is cut to a specific length and has attachments dedicating it for use with a specific mast, it is provided for in heading 8431, a provision for parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of headings 8425 to 8430. Actual classification would then be under the provision for parts suitable for use solely or principally with machinery of heading 8427 (fork-lift trucks), in subheading 8431.20.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


Whether the leaf chain with permanent end attachment(s) is classifiable as chain in chapter 73, as a part suitable for use solely or principally with fork-lift trucks, or as a part of general use.


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 such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to GRIs 2 through 6. In addition, Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, they provide a commentary on the scope of each provision in the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the system. See T.D. 89-80.

The expression "parts of general use", applied to section XV, encompasses, among other things, articles of heading 7315. See Section XV, Note 2(a), HTSUS. When presented separately, base metal parts of general use, as defined in this note, are precluded from classification in section XVI. See Section XVI, Note 1(g), HTSUS. Parts of general use presented separately are not considered parts of articles, but are classifiable in the headings of section XV appropriate to them. See General ENs to Section XV, at p. 973. Heading 8431 is in Section XVI. Therefore, if the chain in issue here qualifies as articles of heading 7315 it is precluded from classification in heading 8431.

Heading 7315 provides for chain and parts thereof, of iron or steel. Relevant ENs indicate, at p. 1026, that the heading includes steel chains, among other, regardless of dimensions or intended use. Lifting chains are among the types enumerated. Chains of heading 73.15 may be fitted with terminal parts or accessories (e.g., hooks, spring hooks, swivels, shackles, sockets, rings and split rings and tee pieces). They [the chains] may or may not be cut to length, or obviously intended for particular uses. In our opinion, hooks, swivels, etc. are terminal (end) parts that dedicate the chain to a particular use or enable the chain to perform a specific function. In this case, the bolts attached to the leaf chain permit power to be transmitted from the lift truck's engine to the lifting mechanism. The cited ENs support the conclusion that the leaf chain with bolts permanently attached to one or both ends, is provided for in heading 7315. It is therefore precluded from classification in heading 8431.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the leaf chain in issue with bolt(s) permanently attached to one or both ends is provided for in heading 7315. It is classifiable as other articulated link chain of iron or steel, either in subheading 7315.12.0020 or in subheading 7315.12.0080, HTSUSA, depending on pitch and parts per pitch. The rate of duty in either case is 4.2 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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