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HQ 954331

June 10, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954331 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8480.41.00

Mr. Michael Mitchell
Chief, Customs Information Exchange
U.S. Customs Service
6 World Trade Center
New York, NY 10048

RE: Steel Die; Molds for Metal; Manufacturing Processes, Sixth Edition; Explanatory Note 84.54(D)(4); Explanatory Note 84.80; Section XVI, Note 2; 8454.90.00

Dear Mr. Mitchell:

By a memorandum dated June 4, 1993 (CLA-2-84:S:N:N1:105), a National Import Specialist requested our views concerning a "double difference" from the port of Cleveland, Ohio, concerning the classification of steel dies under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of steel dies used to mold aluminum transmission cases for motor vehicle engines. The dies are used in casting machines. It is our understanding that the dies are of the injection or compression type.

The Cleveland port agrees with the importer in claiming that the dies are not molds and are classifiable under subheading 8454.90.00, HTSUS, as parts of casting machines. The National Import Specialist claims that the dies are classifiable under subheading 8480.41.00, HTSUS, as molds for metal.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8454.90.00: [c]onverters, ladles, ingot molds and casting machines, of a kind used in metallurgy or in metal foundries, and parts thereof: [p]arts.

Goods classifiable under this provision receive duty free treatment.

8480.41.00: [m]olds for metal or metal carbides: [i]njection or compression types.

The general, column one rate of duty is 3.9 percent ad valorem.


Whether the steel dies are classifiable under subheading 8454.90.00, as parts of casting machines, or under subheading 8480.41.00, HTSUS, as molds for metal?


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.

It is our position that the subject die is a mold. It performs a molding function, in that it creates transmission cases from molten aluminum by molding the aluminum into the shape of transmission cases. It is stated in Manufacturing Processes, Sixth Edition (p.132) that "[d]ie casting is a process in which molten metal is forced by pressure into a metal mold known as a die."

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). In part, Explanatory Note 84.54(D)(2) (p. 1265) states that:

(2) Machines for casting under pressure. These consist essentially of two adjustable plates to which are fixed the two halves of the mould. The liquid metal from a reservoir is forced into the mould, either by the direct action of compressed air on the free surface of liquid metal in the reservoir, or by the insertion of a piston into a closed reservoir full of the liquid metal. In some cases these machines incorporate cooling devices, to accelerate solidification of the metal, and arrangements for separating the cast article from the mould. They are mainly used for casting small non-ferrous metal articles . . .

The moulds to be used with the machines of this group fall usually in heading . . . 84.80.

In part, Explanatory Note 84.80 (p. 1319) states that:

[t]his heading . . . covers all moulds (whether or not hinged, and whether used by hand or in presses or moulding machines) which are of a kind used for moulding the following materials into blanks or finished articles:

(I) Metals (including metal powders, sintered metal carbides and cermets). . .

Because the die is used with a machine for casting under pressure and molds metal into a finished product (transmission case), we find that it is described under heading 8480, HTSUS. However, the die is also described under heading 8454, HTSUS, as a part of a casting machine.

Section XVI, note 2, HTSUS, states that:

[s]ubject to note 1 to this section, note 1 to chapter 84 and to note 1 to chapter 85, parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading 8484, 8544, 8545, 8546 or 8547) are to be classified according to the following rules:

(a) Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 and 85 (other than headings 8485 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;

(b) Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading (including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the machines of that kind. However, parts which are equally suitable for use principally with the goods of headings 8517 and 8525 to 8528 are to be classified in heading 8517;

(c) All other parts are to be classified in heading 8485 or 8548.

Under section XVI, note 2(a), HTSUS, because the die is classifiable as a mold for metal under heading 8480, HTSUS, it is precluded from classification as a part under heading 8454, HTSUS. Therefore, the die is classifiable under subheading 8480.41.00, HTSUS, as a mold for metal.


The steel dies are classifiable under subheading 8480.41.00, HTSUS, as molds for metal, injection or compression types.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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