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HQ 955368

November 17, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955368 DWS

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 7308.90.90

Mr. David M. Blake
Tower Group International, Inc.
128 Dearborn Street
Buffalo, NY 14207-3198

RE: Reconsideration of NY 890936; Galvanized Steel Door Skins; GRI 2(a); Explanatory Notes 3(b)(VIII) and 73.08; 7308.30.50

Dear Mr. Blake:

This is in reference to NY 890936, issued to you on October 13, 1993, in response to your letter of September 28, 1993, on behalf of Stelco Inc., requesting the classification of galvanized steel door skins, products of Canada, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). We have been requested to reconsider that ruling.

FACTS:

The merchandise consists of galvanized steel door skins designed for use on either residential doors or garage doors. The dimensions of the skins are either .021 inch x 32 1/4 inches x 84 inches or .021 inch x 36 1/4 inches x 84 inches. They are comprised of embossed galvanized steel sheets. The skins cover either the inner or outer surface of steel doors. A skin possesses various raised and indented sections on its surface to replicate the panels and molding of an actual wood door.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

7308.30.50: [d]oors, windows and their frames and thresholds for doors: [o]ther.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 2.4 percent ad valorem.

7308.90.90: . . . plates, rods, angles, shapes, sections, tubes and the like, prepared for use in structures, of iron or steel: [o]ther: [o]ther.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 5.7 percent ad valorem.

ISSUE:

Whether, according to GRI 2(a), the door skins constitute unfinished doors.

Whether the door skins are classifiable under subheading 7308.30.50, HTSUS, as doors, or under subheading 7308.90.90, HTSUS, as steel sections and the like, prepared for use in structures.

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

In NY 890936, the door skins were held to be classifiable under subheading 7308.30.50, HTSUS. The basis for this determination was the erroneous belief that GRI 2(a) was applicable. GRI 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 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.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Explanatory Note 3(b)(VIII) (p. 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.

It is now our position that the door skins do not impart the essential character of doors. The skins are merely decorative coverings for doors and could not in any way function as doors themselves. Therefore, the door skins play a minor role in relation to the use of doors.

Because the door skins do not impart the essential character of doors, under GRI 2(a), they cannot be considered unfinished doors and, consequently, they are not classifiable under subheading 7308.30.50, HTSUS.

In part, Explanatory Note 73.08 (p. 1020) states that:

[t]he heading also covers parts such as flat-rolled products, "wide flats" including so-called universal plates, strip, rods, angles, shapes, sections and tubes, which have been prepared (e.g., drilled, bent or notched) for use in structures.

According to Explanatory Note 73.08, we find that the door skins are described and are classifiable under subheading 7308.90.90, HTSUS.

HOLDING:

The galvanized steel door skins are classified under subheading 7038.90.90, HTSUS, as steel sections and the like, prepared for use in structures.

Goods classifiable under subheading 7308.90.90, HTSUS, upon compliance with sections 10.301 - 10.311, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.301 - 10.311), are dutiable at 2.8 percent ad valorem under the U.S.-Canada Free-Trade Agreement.

Accordingly, we are revoking NY 890936 pursuant to 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). The revocation will not be applied retroactively to NY 890936 [19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)] and will not, therefore, affect past transactions under those rulings. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NY 890936 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, you may apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director

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