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HQ 953948

JULY 6 1993

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 953948 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7208.90.00

Mr. Steve Fugatt
Berg Steel Pipe Corp.
1832-1/2 B Avenue
Panama City, Florida 32402

RE: Hot Rolled Carbon Steel Plate With Bevelled Edges; Angles, Shapes and Sections, Subheading 7216.90.00; Flat Rolled Products of Iron or Nonalloy Steel; Rolled Product of Solid Rectangular Cross Section; Chapter 72, Note 1(k); Statutory Construction, In Para Materia; NY 860075 Affirmed

Dear Mr. Fugatt:

In a letter dated March 23, 1993, Mr. Lewis Leibowitz, Esq., Hogan & Hartson, inquires on your behalf as to the tariff classification of steel plate with bevelled edges.


The merchandise is described as hot-rolled carbon steel plate. It is rectangular shaped, approximately 40 feet long and greater than 600 millimeters in width. The plate is not clad, plated or coated. Subsequent to hot rolling, both the 40-foot sides are bevelled by an edge planer to facilitate welding of the product in the process of producing large diameter steel pipe. The bevelling results in what counsel describes as a product having a cross-section in the shape of an eight-sided (hexagonal) convex polygon.

Counsel maintains that the merchandise is properly classified in subheading 7216.90.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), a provision for other angles, shapes and sections of iron or nonalloy steel. He contends that Customs current classification of this merchandise in subheading 7208.90.00, HTSUS, as other flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, hot-rolled, not clad, plated or coated, is incorrect. The claim is that bevelling of the edges results in a product that does not have a rectangular cross section, a requirement for flat-rolled products of heading 7208. Chapter 72, Note 1(k), HTSUS. - 2 -

Relevant Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) state that flat-rolled products which have been worked after rolling by bevelling remain in heading 7208, provided they do not thereby assume the character of articles or products of other headings. Counsel maintains that the ENs are not controlling in interpreting the HTSUS, and should not be allowed to contravene the clear and unambiguous language of the cited legal note.

In a letter to your counsel, dated February 27, 1991, the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, ruled that identical merchandise was classifiable in subheading 7208.90.00, HTSUS. NY 860075.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

7208.90.00 Flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, hot-rolled, not clad, plated or coated: Other....5 percent

7216.90.00 Angles, shapes and sections of iron or nonalloy steel: Other....4.4 percent


Whether carbon steel plates with beveled edges can be flat- rolled products of heading 7208.


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 Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. - 3 -

The cited legal note states in part that flat-rolled products include those with patterns in relief derived directly from rolling (for example, grooves, ribs, checkers, tears, buttons, lozenges) and those which have been perforated, corrugated or polished. The language of the legal note makes it clear that the named patterns in relief derived directly from rolling are examples only and are not intended to be exclusive, while those derived subsequent to rolling can be interpreted as being exclusive (i.e., they do not expressly include bevelling). We perceive of no logical reason for this distinction.

In our opinion, legal note 1(k) must be interpreted in para materia, that is, by reading the whole note and interpreting the entire context. The different parts of the legal note that do not seem to be in accord must be harmonized, if possible, so as to bring about a result reasonably within the contemplation of the drafters. In our opinion, this can be done only by regarding perforating, corrugating and polishing as only examples of operations to which flat-rolled products can be subjected after rolling.

Alternatively, legal note 1(k) can be viewed as ambiguous. In such cases, to resolve an ambiguity it is appropriate to consult the ENs, as Congress has endorsed them as useful guides to understanding the HTSUS. Ugg International, Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 93-16, decided February 4, 1993.


Carbon steel plates with bevelled edges, as described, are flat-rolled products for tariff purposes. Under the authority of GRI 1, such plates are provided for in heading 7208. They are classifiable in subheading 7208.90.00, HTSUS, as other flat- rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, hot-rolled, not clad, plated or coated.


NY 860075, dated February 27, 1991, is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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