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HQ 954772

August 25, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954772 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8308.90.60

Mr. Bernard D. Liberati
Morris Friedman & Co.
320 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3883

RE: Modification of NY 884855; Revocation of DD 884859 and DD 884931; Metal Buckles; Explanatory Note 83.08(D); Explanatory Note 83.02(F)(3); U.S. v. Astra Trading Corp.; 8302.49.40

Dear Mr. Liberati:

This is in reference to NY 884855, dated April 16, 1993, DD 884859, dated April 29, 1993, and DD 884931, dated April 29, 1993, all involving the classification of base metal buckles under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). These ruling letters were issued to you on behalf of Keystone Manufacturing.


The merchandise consists of base metal buckles used for harness and saddlery purposes. In part, the merchandise which was the subject of NY 884855 includes two types of zinc buckles (model nos. Q1472 and 121Z), and a steel girth buckle (model no. 10890). The merchandise which was the subject of DD 884859 includes a brass buckle (model no. 5705B), a zinc buckle (model no. 210Z) two types of steel buckles (model nos. 9482ST and 999ST), and a bronze buckle (model no. 5B). The merchandise which was the subject of DD 884931 includes two types of bronze buckles (model nos. 12Z and 75Z), two types of steel girth buckles (model nos. 1130ST and 1230ST), and a zinc buckle (model no. 5705HZ).

All of the above described buckles were held to be classifiable under subheading 8302.49.40, HTSUS, as other harness and saddlery hardware.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8302.49.40: [b]ase metal mountings, fittings and similar articles suitable for furniture, doors, staircases, windows, blinds, coachwork, saddlery, trunks, chests, caskets or the like . . .: [o]ther mountings, fittings and similar articles, and parts thereof: [o]ther: [h]arness and saddlery or riding-bridle hardware, and parts thereof: [o]ther.

The general, column one rate of duty is 4.2 percent ad valorem.

8308.90.60: . . . buckles . . . of base metal, of a kind used for clothing, footwear, awnings, handbags, travel goods or other madeup articles . . .: [o]ther, including parts: [b]uckles and buckle clasps, and parts thereof.

The general, column one rate of duty is 5.7 percent ad valorem.


Whether the buckles are classifiable under heading 8302, HTSUS, as base metal fittings suitable for saddlery, or under heading 8308, HTSUS, as base metal buckles?


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 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 83.08(D) (p. 1124) states that:

[t]his heading includes:

(D) Buckles (with or without tongues) and buckle-clasps, whether or not ornamental, for clothes, belts, braces, suspenders, gloves, footwear, gaiters, wrist-watches, haversacks, travel goods and leather goods.

Explanatory Note 83.02(F)(3) (p. 1120) states that:

(F)(3) Fittings and similar articles for saddlery, such as bits, curbs, saddle-bows, stirrups; trace, harness or rein rings; horse brasses and other fittings for harness.

Buckles are specifically classifiable under heading 8308, HTSUS, an eo nomine provision. An eo nomine designation must, unless a legislative intent to the contrary is clearly indicated, be preferred to terms of general description and to enumerations which are broader in scope and less specific. U.S. v. Astra Trading Corp., 44 CCPA 8, 11, C.A.D. 627 (1956).

It is our understanding that the harnesses and saddlery for which the buckles will be used are made of leather. Therefore, they are leather goods. Also, we note that buckles for harness and saddlery are not mentioned in Explanatory Note 83.02(F)(3).

It is our position that the buckles are specifically classifiable under subheading 8308.90.60, HTSUS. With regard to the classification of buckles for harness and saddlery, we find that heading 8308 must be preferred to heading 8302, HTSUS, which is a provision of more general description.


The buckles are classifiable under subheading 8308.90.60, HTSUS, as buckles.

Accordingly, we are modifying NY 884855 and revoking DD 884859 and DD 884931 pursuant to 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). The modification and revocations will not be applied retroactively to NY 884855, DD 884859, and DD 884931 [19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)], respectively, and will not, therefore, affect past transactions under those rulings. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NY 884855, DD 884859, and DD 884931 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification and these revocations, 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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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