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HQ 954582

October 29, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954582 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 7321.83.00

Mr. Stig Karlberg, President
Royal Crown European Fireplaces, Inc.
333 E. State Street, Suite 206
Rockford, Il 61104

RE: Masonry heaters, masonry stones, wood heating units; GRI 1, 2(a) and (b), 3(a) and (b); ENs VIII, 73.21

Dear Mr. Karlberg:

This is in response to your June 28, 1993 letter requesting a binding ruling for a masonry heater kit under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Pictures and descriptive literature were included with your letter.


The wood burning masonry heaters/stoves are made in Sweden and imported in kits. The kits consist of approximately 37 different items including: large concrete blocks, precast concrete panels to create the decorative shell, concrete inspection doors, concrete mortar, steel clamps, ceramic paper for insulation, bags of thin set mortar, a steel flue damper, a brass flue handle, a steel firebox with brass components, a steel plate, a cast iron door with ceramic glass insert, brass control door handles, brass outer firebox doors, a brass and sheet metal round inspection cover for the front of the unit, a round aluminum air intake valve, steel and aluminum louvered grills, bags of fiberglass reinforced mortar, blankets of mineral wool for insulation, brass polishing paste, either ceramic tiles or paint, and an instruction booklet.

When constructed in a house, the stove consists of a functional part, which is present in all kinds of wood burning stoves, and a decorative part unique to these masonry stoves. The firebox, flue damper, and cast iron doors form the functional part of the stove. The firebox is supported by a core of cement blocks. These blocks also create a smoke channel and give the stove its shape. Finally, as a decoration, the cement blocks are either painted or ceramic tiles are applied. ISSUE:

Whether the heater/stove kit is classifiable as an article of cement, a ceramic article, or a steel stove?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1, HTSUS, 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. The headings at issue are as follows:

6810 [a]rticles of cement, of concrete or of artificial stone, whether or not reinforced

6914 [o]ther ceramic articles

7321 [s]toves, ranges, grates, cookers (including those with subsidiary boilers for central heating), barbecues, braziers, gas rings, plate warmers and similar nonelectric domestic appliances, and parts thereof, of iron or steel

Inasmuch as the masonry heater kit is a composite good consisting of items described in three headings, it cannot be classified according to GRI 1.

When goods cannot be classified by applying GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied in descending order. GRI 2(a) states in pertinent part 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 entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

We are of the opinion that the masonry heater kit when imported, has the essential character of a stove. All the necessary elements for creating a stove are contained in the kit. It remains however to determine, whether the kit creates an iron or steel stove, described by heading 7321, HTSUS, a ceramic stove described in heading 6914, HTSUS, or a cement stove described in heading 6810, HTSUS.

GRI 2 (b) states, in pertinent part, that any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule GRI 3.

GRI 3 states that when, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

While heading 7312, HTSUS, specifically describes the article as a stove, it only refers to iron or steel stoves and therefore only describes parts of the subject article. Heading 6810, HTSUS, refers to the cement parts of the stove and heading 6914, HTSUS, refers to the ceramic parts. Therefore, the headings are considered equally specific and GRI 3(b) must be applied.

GRI 3 (b) states in pertinent part that:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be consulted. The Explanatory Notes (EN), although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128, (August 23, 1989).

EN VIII to GRI 3(b), pg. 4, states that:

[t]he factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

We find that iron and steel impart the essential character to this stove. All functional parts of the stove are made of iron or steel; the firebox, doors, damper and grates.

Furthermore, EN 73.21, pg. 1032, states that stoves classifiable in this heading must meet the following requirements:

(i) be designed for the production and utilization of heat for space heating...

(ii) use solid, liquid or gaseous fuel, but not electricity;

(iii) be normally used in the household...

This article is designed for home space heating and uses a solid, wood, for heating.

Additionally, EN 73.21 states that: [a]ll these articles may be enamelled, nickel-plated, copper-plated, etc., fitted with accessories of other base metals or lined with heat-resisting materials. Many of the functional iron or steel parts of the stove are accented with brass and the functional parts themselves are insulated with other, non-metal materials.

We are of the opinion that the cement blocks perform a secondary function. While they create a smoke channel and aid in creating the overall shape of the stove and heat retention, these functions are not the article's primary ones. The functions of the firebox, holding the wood for the fire; the damper, allowing oxygen in and smoke to escape; and the doors, allowing fuel to be placed in the stove, are the primary functions.

Finally, the ceramic tiles are merely decoration and have limited if any functional features. Accordingly, the stove is not classifiable in heading 6914, HTSUS.

Therefore, we find that the masonry heater is classifiable in heading 7321, as an iron or steel stove; specifically in subheading 7321.83.00, HTSUS.


We find that the masonry heater is classifiable in subheading 7321.83.00, HTSUS, which provides for stoves, ranges, grates, cookers (including those with subsidiary boilers for central heating), barbecues, braziers, gas rings, plate warmers and similar nonelectric domestic appliances, and parts thereof, of iron or steel: [o]ther appliances; [f]or solid fuel dutiable at 4.2% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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