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HQ 950015

November 27, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950015 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 8481.80.30

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
701 San Jacinto
P.O. Box 52790
Houston, TX 77052

RE: Steel forged ball valves; hand operated valves; Subheading 8481.80.90; GRI 2(a); The Carrington Co., United Geophysical Corp. v. The United States; Section XVI, note 2(a); Section XVI, note 2(b).

Dear District Director:

Your undated request for internal advice (file number CLA 2- 84:H:CO), on behalf of the Special Agent in Charge, regarding the classification of certain ball valves imported by Process Resources, Inc., has been referred to this office for reply.


The merchandise at issue are steel forged ball valves. They range in inner diameter size from 1/2" to 16". A "wrench" or handle is imported with virtually every valve. In their imported condition the valves are suitable for manual operation by use of the "wrench". After importation the valves are either retained in inventory, sold "as is" to end users, or converted to actuator-operated (electric, hydraulic or pneumatic) valves. In order to convert the valves to actuator operation an adapter plate or kit must be installed on or in place of the "topwork" of the valve.


Whether the subject valves are properly classifiable within subheading 8481.80.30, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for hand operated
valves and similar appliances of steel; or classifiable within subheading 8481.80.90, HTSUSA, which provides for "other" appliances of this heading.


Heading 8481, HTSUSA, provides for "[t]aps, cocks, valves and similar appliances . . ." The subject articles satisfy the terms of this heading. They are steel forged ball valves. Subheading 8481.80.30, HTSUSA, provides for "other appliances" which are hand operated and made of steel. The subject valves satisfy the terms of this subheading. Upon importation, almost all of the valves are complete with a "wrench" for manual operation and made of steel. Accordingly, these valves are classifiable within this subheading.

General Rule of Interpretation 2(a) states that "[a]ny reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article." As stated previously, certain of the subject valves are imported unfinished without a "wrench" for hand operation. However, these unfinished valves possess the essential character of a finished hand operated valve. This conclusion rests on the fact that the valves possess the type of "topwork" which is designed for the attachment of a "wrench", and are not equipped with a mounting plate or conversion kit for actuator-operated adaption. Therefore, the subject valves which are not imported with a "wrench" are classifiable within subheading 8481.80.30, HTSUSA, as unfinished hand operated valves.

It is claimed that some of the valves are converted to actuator-operation after importation, and that therefore these valves are classifiable as "other" valves within subheading 8481.81.90, HTSUSA. However, "[i]t is a well-established principle that classification of an imported article must rest upon its condition as imported." The Carrington Co., United Geophysical Corp. v. The United States, 61 CCPA 77 (1974). As stated previously, the valves are either complete with wrenches for hand operation or unfinished hand operated valves upon importation. Consequently, they must be classified based upon this fact and not the claim that they may be converted to actuator operation after importation. Accordingly, these valves are not classifiable within this subheading.

Your request also raises the issue of whether smaller individual components of the subject valves are to be considered parts of hand operated valves or parts of other valves. If these
components are goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 and 85 (other than headings 8485 and 8548) they are classifiable in their respective headings. Section XVI, note 2(a). From the submitted information we are unable to determine if this is the case. Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading are classifiable with the machines of that kind. Section XVI, note 2(b). If the individual components you are referring to are suitable for use solely or principally with the subject hand operated valves, they are classifiable as parts of these valves. This conclusion is based on the fact that these parts are components of valves that are classifiable as hand operated valves upon importation.


The steel forged ball valves are classifiable within subheading 8481.80.30, HTSUSA, which provides for "other appliances" that are hand operated and made of steel, dutiable at the General Column 1 rate of 8 percent ad valorem. You should advise the internal advice applicant of this decision and forward them a copy.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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