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HQ 951525

August 25, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 951525 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 2516.90.0000

Area Director of Customs
110 S. Fourth Street
Room 137
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

RE: Request for Further Review of Protest 3501-1-100403, dated October 7, 1991, Concerning Blue Pearl Granite (Syenite) - Rough Blocks

Dear Mr. Nordness:

This ruling is on a protest that was filed against your decision of October 7, 1991, in the liquidation of several entries covering the referenced item.


The article under consideration is syenite, a hard igneous rock used as monument and building stone.


Is syenite classifiable under the provision for granite, subheading 2516.11.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), or the provision for other monumental or building stone, subheading 2516.90.0000, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative - 2 -
section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

The importer states that the article under consideration is a syenite and has been marketed as granite since the 1930's and that, prior to January 1, 1989, when the HTSUSA was implemented, it was so classified. He notes that the article is used for building and memorial purposes, it has granite characteristics and is fully comparable to geologically "true granite" in all respects pertaining to exterior exposure in buildings and memorials. He also notes that other igneous rocks such as basalt, diabase, diorite, gabbro, gneiss, etc. are also commonly traded under the generic term granite.

In considering this matter we note that prior to January 1, 1989, building stone was often classified by its trade name whether or not it met the geological definition of the stone. However, under the HTSUSA, building stone is classified by its geological definition. While, prior to the above date, many building stones were classified as granite, that is no longer the case. Under the HTSUSA, heading 2516 covers granite, porphyry, sandstone, basalt and other monumental and building stone. Subheadings thereunder group these building stones into granite, sandstone and other monumental and building stone. In consulting the Explanatory Notes (EN's) to the Harmonized System, which represents the opinion of the international tariff classification experts, we note that EN 25.16, after discussing the characteristics of granite, porphyry, sandstone and basalt, specifies that "the heading also includes other hard igneous rock (e.g., syenite,..." (emphasis added). We believe that this clearly shows that under the Harmonized System syenite is not granite.

We note that there are other instances in which stone products are classified by their geological rather than commercial designation. Serpentine, for example, is classified as other stone, not as marble, even though it is sometimes called "marble" in the trade.

In light of the above and since both the importer and analysis by the Customs laboratory confirm that the product is syenite and not geological granite, we believe it is appropriate to classify the product under the provision for other monumental and building stone.


Syenite, a hard igneous rock, is classifiable under subheading 2516.90.0000, HTSUSA, as other monumental and building stone and subject to a general rate of duty of 6 percent ad valorem.

Since the classification indicated above is the same as the classification under which the entry was liquidated, you are instructed to deny the protest in full.

A copy of this ruling should be attached to Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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