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HQ 955818

APRIL 14, 1994

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 955818 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7318.14.10; 7318.14.50; 7318.15.50; 7318.15.60; 7318.15.80

District Director of Customs
55 Erieview Plaza, 6th Fl.
Cleveland, OH 44114

RE: PRD 4115-93-100232; Automotive Fasteners, Self-Tapping Screw, Subheading 7318.14; Bolts, Machine Screws, Studs, Other Screws and Bolts, Subheading 7318.15; ANSI B 18.2.1; HQ 951870, HQ 951995

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Protest No. 4115-93-100232, filed by counsel on behalf of Toyota Motor Mfg., U.S.A., Inc., against your action in classifying certain threaded fasteners from Japan. The entries in question were liquidated on June 25, 1993, and this protest timely filed on September 23, 1993.


The merchandise under protest is represented by one hundred forty four (144) samples. They are threaded steel fasteners, in various configurations, used in automotive applications. These fasteners were entered under the provision for bolts, in subheading 7318.15.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Based on their respective design characteristics, the concerned import specialist reclassified them either as self-tapping screws, in subheading 7318.14, or as studs or other screws, in subheading 7318.15. Alternatively, counsel maintains that certain of the fasteners found to be screws are in fact machine screws of subheading 7318.15.40.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

7318 Screws, bolts, nuts, coach screws, screw hooks, rivets, cotters, cotter pins, washers (including spring washers) and similar articles, of iron or steel

7318.14 Self-tapping screws:

7318.14.10 Having shanks or threads with a diameter of less than 6 mm...6.2 percent

7318.14.50 Having shanks or threads with a diameter of 6 mm or more...9.5 percent

7318.15 Other screws and bolts, whether or not with their nuts or washers:

7318.15.20 Bolts and bolts and their nuts or washers entered or exported in the same shipment
...0.7 percent

7318.15.40 Machine screws 9.5 mm or more in length and 3.2 mm or more in diameter (not including cap screws)... 1 cent/kg

7318.15.50 Studs...4.7 percent

7318.15.60 Other screws and bolts having shanks or threads with a diameter of less than 6 mm ...6.2 percent

7318.15.80 Other screws and bolts having shanks or threads with a diameter of 6 mm or more
...9.5 percent

Whether the fasteners, or any of them are bolts for tariff purposes; whether those that are not are classified in any of the alternative provisions claimed.


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 - 3 -
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.

Customs traditionally classifies fasteners primarily in accordance with their design characteristics. The usual distinction between a bolt and a screw is that a bolt is fastened by torquing a nut onto the bolt, whereas a screw is fastened by torquing the head. This classification criteria has been reinforced by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specification, B 18.2.1, which establishes a recommended procedure for determining the identity of an externally threaded fastener as a bolt or screw, using primary and secondary criteria.

This specification regards as a bolt an externally threaded fastener designed for insertion through holes in assembled parts which, because of head design or other feature, is prevented from being turned during assembly, and which can be tightened or released only by torquing a nut. A screw, on the other hand, is an externally threaded fastener which has a thread form which prohibits assembly with a nut, has a straight thread of multiple pitch length and which must be torqued by its head into a tapped or other preformed hole to perform its intended function. A stud, on the other hand, is a type of bolt, but is distinguished from a bolt by its intended service application. Studs are normally short rods or pins threaded on one or both ends, sometimes with heads on one end to allow them to be fixed in place resulting in a protuberance to which other articles may be suspended or attached by a nut or other means.

As to the application of the primary criteria, while it is possible to use many of the fasteners in issue with nuts, they are not necessarily designed for use with a nut. Specification B 18.2.1 states that because of basic design, it is possible to use certain types of screws with a nut. The specification states further that any externally threaded fastener which has the majority of 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.

All threaded fasteners are made to some recognized standard. Usually, parts manuals or other literature, and sometimes drawings, will show how a fastener is used in its intended service application, i.e., with a nut or by torquing the head. Typically, fillet radius, head angularity or squareness, shank straightness, thread concentricity, and length are closely controlled in screws. Drawings will show dimensions and tolerances that permit us to accurately apply the secondary criteria in specification B 18.2.1. -4 -

Whether or not drawings are available, they are not in the protest file. Lacking this, a visual examination is the only available means of applying the secondary criteria. The concerned National Import Specialist undertook a painstaking and time-consuming visual examination of the submitted samples. This serves as the basis for the following conclusions. Several of the samples were found to closely resemble broaching studs, several to closely resemble weld bolts, commonly known as projection weld studs, and several with free spinning washers permanently assembled under the head to be assembled screws or "sems." We will address each class of fasteners separately.

Broaching studs are classifiable in subheading 7318.15.50, HTSUS, in accordance with HQ 951995, dated September 15, 1992, the principles of which are incorporated by reference in this decision. Projection weld studs are similarly classifiable. Screw and washer assemblies or "sems" are described in Industrial Fastener Institute (IFI) specification 531. They are considered composite articles for tariff purposes, with the fastener portion clearly imparting the essential character. HQ 951870, dated January 29, 1993.

Regarding those fasteners classified in liquidation as self- tapping screws, the Customs Form 6445 cites HQ 951870 as authority. That decision, in part, concerned a type T thread cutting tapping screw of the type described in IFI standard 502. The fastener had a hex head and a fully threaded fluted point which is not suitable for use with a nut, but rather for removing cuttings and dirt from the inside of a tapped hole or self formed hole. Those fasteners classified as self-tapping screws appear to conform to this description.

The remaining fasteners, including the sems, constitute the majority of the submitted samples. A visual application of the secondary criteria in specification B 18.2.1 indicates the following: they all appear to have a controlled fillet; the bearing surface of each is smooth and flat with a washer face, or the equivalent, which serves to minimize frictional resistance and to prevent scoring; all dimensions including body diameter appear to be closely toleranced; the thread length of each appears sufficient to develop the full strength of the fasteners in tapped holes in various materials; most have prepared points to facilitate their use in tapped holes; the threads have the visual appearance of being concentric and the bodies of being straight; and, all appear to have a thread diameter of 6 mm or more. These fasteners have the majority of the design characteristics of screws classifiable in subheading 7318.15.80.

Whether any of the samples have characteristics of machine screws classifiable in subheading 7318.15.40 is inconclusive based solely on a visual inspection. Because protestant has - 5 -
identified no recognized machine screw standard to which these samples are claimed to conform, this claim is not substantiated.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the fasteners in issue are provided for in heading 7318. They are classifiable as self- tapping screws, as studs, and as other screws, as appropriate.

The protest is DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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