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HQ 951362

June 24, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951362 EJD


TARIFF NO: 7318.15.80

Nicholas R. Devine
Assistant District Director
U.S. Customs Service
Commercial Operations Division
Patrick V. McNamara Building
477 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48266

RE: Protest No. 3801-91-100494; Hex head shoulder bolts; HQ 074950; HQ 075964; HQ 084581; Subheading 7318.15.20; EN 73.18

Dear Mr. Devine:

This is in response to the Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3801-91-100494, dated February 19, 1991, which pertains to the tariff classification of steel fasteners (hex shoulder bolts with flange head) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The articles in question are steel fasteners imported by Marli Manufacturing from Canada. The protestant refers to the fasteners as "hex washer head bolt". The corrected invoice described the fasteners as "hex head shoulder bolts". The file includes drawings, but no samples. The fasteners in issue have indented hex flange heads. The bottom portion of the fasteners are threaded. The shoulder portion of the fasteners are unthreaded. The fasteners are M8 X 1.25 X 83 and M10 X 1/5 X 81.8. The fasteners have no washer face and do not include nuts. The M8 is used with a normal nut and M10 bolt is used with a locking-type nut.

The protestant contends that the correct classification of the fasteners is subheading 7318.15.20, HTSUS, which provides for

Screws, bolts, nuts, coach screws, screw hooks, rivets, cotters, cotter pins, washers (including spring washers) and similar articles, of iron or steel... [o]ther screws and bolts, whether or not with their nuts or washers...[b]olts and bolts and their nuts or washers entered or exported in the same shipment.

The protestant claims that the liquidation of this entry is inconsistent with Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 074950, dated February 15, 1985, which cites the American National Standard Institute (ANSI, Standard B 18.2.1, 1965) definition of bolts and screws.

Your office determined that the indented flange hex head shoulder bolts are flange screws with design characteristics which indicate that they are intended to be tightened by torquing the head. You liquidated these entries under subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS, which provides for

Screws, bolts, nuts, coach screws, screw hooks, rivets, cotters, cotter pins, washers (including spring washers) and similar articles, of iron or steel... [o]ther screws and bolts, whether or not with their nuts or washers...[o]ther...[h]aving shanks or threads with a diameter of 6 mm or more.


Whether the subject fasteners are classified under subheading 7318.15.20, HTSUS, or classified under subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 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, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

"The tariff classification of a threaded fastener is determined primarily by its design characteristics and not necessarily by the chief service application or the trade name given by the manufacturer or seller." HQ 075964, dated January 31, 1986. This classification criteria is reinforced by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specification which establishes a recommended procedure for determining the identity of externally threaded fasteners. ANSI describes bolts and screws as follows:

A bolt is an externally threaded fastener designed for insertion through holes in assembled parts, and is normally intended to be tightened or released by torquing a nut.

A screw is an externally threaded fastener capable of being inserted into holes in assembled parts, of mating with a preformed internal thread or forming its own thread, and of being tightened or released by torquing the head.

A bolt is designed for assembly with a nut. A screw has features in its design which makes it capable of being used in a tapped or other preformed hole in the work. Because of the basic design, it is possible to use certain types of screws in combination with a nut. Any externally threaded fastener which has a majority of the design characteristics which assist its proper use in a tapped or other preformed hole is a screw, regardless of how it is used in its service application.

ANSI/ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) B 18.2.1 (1981).

ANSI provides four Primary Criteria and nine Supplementary Criteria for consideration in distinguishing bolts from screws. If the fastener conforms to any of the Primary Criteria for either a bolt or a screw, it is classified accordingly. If none of the Primary Criteria are met, one must look to the Supplementary Criteria. "The Supplementary Criteria detail the principal features in the design of an externally threaded fastener which contribute to its proper use as a screw. A fastener having a majority of these characteristics shall be identified as a screw." ANSI/ASME B 18.2.1 (1981).

The Explanatory Notes (ENs) are the official interpretation of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS) at the international level. The protestant cites EN 73.18 in support of his claim that the proper classification for the subject fasteners is under subheading 7318.15.20, HTSUS, which pertains to bolts. EN 73.18 states "[a] bolt is designed to engage in a nut, whereas screws for metal are more usually screwed into a hole tapped in the material to be fastened and are therefore generally threaded throughout their length whereas bolts usually have part of the shank unthreaded." HCDCS, at p. 1028. The ENs, although not dispositive, are to be looked to for the interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 24, 1988).

In classifying another shoulder fastener in the provisions for screws, we relied on the procedure established by ANSI.

The design characteristics which the ANSI considers to determine if a fastener is a screw include the following: the presence of a controlled fillet at the junction of the head with the body, a smooth and flat under head bearing surface, the angularity of the under head bearing surface, a closely controlled body, a straight shank, concentric threads, the length of the threads, a specially prepared point on its end, and the length of the fastener.

HQ 084581, dated August 28, 1990.

After examining the drawings submitted by the protestant, they indicate that neither of these samples meets any Primary Criteria. Examination of the protestant's drawings show: 1. Both fasteners have a controlled fillet. 2. The bearing surface of both fasteners is smooth and flat with the equivalent of a washer face to minimize frictional resistance and prevent scoring. 3. The drawing specifications include close tolerances for all dimensions including the body diameter. 4. The length of thread for both fasteners appears to be sufficient to develop the full strength of the fasteners in tapped holes in various materials. 5. Both drawings show chamfered points. 6. The length of both fasteners is to close tolerance.

Examinations of the drawings show that these fasteners meet six of the nine Supplementary Criteria and they are clearly screws according to the Criteria. These fasteners are not standard shoulder screws, but in appearance and function, they closely resemble shoulder screws. Additionally, both the fasteners have hex washer heads intended to facilitate torquing with a wrench. The washer-like flange on the underside of the head is the functional equivalent of a washer face. We have had a long-standing practice of treating a washer face, or its equivalent as a characteristic of screws. See Heads and Threads v. The United States, 417 F. 2d 637, CAD 960 (1969).

These fasteners are not bolts, anymore than standard shoulder screws are bolts. It is our opinion that these fasteners are properly classified under subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS, which provides for other steel screws.


The hex head shoulder bolts are classified in subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS, which provides for other steel screws.

The protest should be denied. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and mailed to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division?

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