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HQ 955605

DECEMBER 13, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955605 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7318.12.00

District Director of Customs
2nd and Chestnut Streets, Rm. 102
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2999

RE: PRD 1101-93-100434; Wood Screws, Woodgrip Screws; Threaded Fasteners Designed for Use in Wood; Metal Tapping Screws, Subheading 7318.14.10; HQ 072945

Dear District Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1101-93-100434, filed against your action in classifying certain threaded fasteners from Taiwan. The entry was liquidated on May 7, 1993, and this protest timely filed on August 5, 1993.


The fasteners under protest, designated Woodgrip No. 9-15, are represented by five (5) samples ranging from 1 3/4 to 3 1/4 inches in length. They are made from American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) 1019 carbon steel, each having a fully threaded shank with double lead thread, recessed hexagon washer head, and gimlet point. After importation, a zinc-aluminum coating is applied for corrosion resistance. These fasteners are said to be used generally in the manufacture of easily fabricated buildings such as barns and warehouses.

The fasteners were entered under a provision in heading 7318 for self-tapping screws. The import specialist determined that the fasteners more closely resembled standard wood screws and liquidated the entry under the provision in heading 7318 for wood screws. Counsel for the protestant makes the following arguments in support of the self-tapping screw classification: the fasteners are built for performance specifications designed to join metal to metal and that while they are capable of joining metal to wood they cannot successfully join wood to wood; these fasteners are of case hardened AISI 1019 carbon steel of the type specified in American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard B 18.6.4 for recessed head tapping screws; tapping screws are usually fully threaded whereas the screws in issue are 2/3 threaded; the rolled threads of these fasteners exceed 2/3 the nominal screw length which is not characteristic of wood - 2 -
screws; the special gimlet point allows the fasteners to penetrate 26 gauge sheet metal.

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:

Threaded articles:

7318.12.00 Other wood screws...12.5 percent

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


Whether the fasteners designated Woodgrip No. 9-15 are wood screws or self-tapping screws for tariff purposes.


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, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard B 18.6.1 is a recognized designation for wood screws while standard B 18.6.4 is a similar designation for slotted and recessed head tapping screws. The fasteners under protest are special screws that may have some features of one standard or the other, but do not conform fully to either standard.

Relevant ENs state, at p. 1029, that screws for wood differ from bolts and screws for metal in part by the fact they have a steeper cutting thread and almost always have slotted or recessed heads. Self-tapping screws, on the other hand, are said to resemble wood screws in that they have a slotted head, a cutting thread and tapered point. The screws in issue here do not have slotted heads; however, they do have double lead threads which indicates a steeper thread pitch. Double lead is a thread type specifically identified in ANSI standard B 18.6.1 for wood screws. Double lead threads are not specified in ANSI designation B 18.6.4 or any other recognized tapping screw standard. Therefore, under the HTSUS, double lead threads which would be indicative of a steeper cutting thread, while not conclusive, are considered significant.

It is clear even before the Tariff Act of 1930 that the term wood screw meant a screw intended for use in wood. The provision in subheading 7318.12.00 describes wood screws eo nomine, by name. However, the use or uses of an article is often relevant in establishing its identity as the named article. In HQ 072945, dated May 31, 1984, Customs discussed, among other things, the significance of twin threads in establishing the identity of a threaded fastener as a wood screw or a metal tapping screw under the HTSUS predecessor tariff code, the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). The decision noted that wood screws and tapping screws are both available with twin threads, and concluded that this feature, while normally characteristic of wood screws, should not be controlling if the fastener is otherwise designed, marketed and actually used as a tapping screw. This conclusion was predicated on the fact the screws under consideration in that decision were neither intended for use in wood nor were they primarily used in wood.

The evidence in this case, when fairly and comprehensively evaluated, suggests a different conclusion. An engineer's drawing submitted with the protest identifies a Woodgrip fastener; the packing list and seller's invoice contain an identical reference; protestant's literature identifies the Woodgrip screw "for all metal-to-wood applications"; a mock-up presented by counsel at a meeting with Customs officials on November 9, 1994, showed the screws in a metal-to-metal application as well as a metal-to-wood application. It was indicated that a majority of service applications involved the fastening of metal sheets to the wood framework of structures so that the shank of the fastener would be embedded in wood. - 4 -

There are numerous indications in the protest file that the principal service application of these fasteners involves use in wood. This, together with the reference in the cited EN to a steeper cutting thread as characteristic of wood screws, is evidence which, in our opinion, establishes the identity of these fasteners as wood screws.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the fasteners in issue here are provided for in heading 7318 as screws. They are classifiable in subheading 7318.12.00, HTSUS, as wood screws.

The protest should be 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, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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