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HQ 956528

DECEMBER 29, 1994

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 956528 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7318.15.50

District Director of Customs
200 east Bay Street, Rm. 121
Charleston, SC 29401

RE: PRD 1601-94-100080; Wheel Hub Bolt, Threaded Fastener for Attaching Automobile Wheel to Hub and Bearing Assembly; Fastener With Round Head and Partially or Fully Threaded Shank, Bolt, Subheading 7318.15.20; Stud, Threaded Protuberance Designed to be Fixed in Place; Gorman Anderson Corp. v. United States, Fastening Devices, Inc. v. United States, S.I. Stud v. United States; Hafele America Co., Ltd. v. United States; NY 825810, HQ 951995

Dear District Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1601-94-100080, filed against your action in classifying certain threaded fasteners for use on automobiles. The entries in question were liquidated on January 3, 1994, and this protest timely filed on March 31, 1994.


The two fasteners under protest, referred to as wheel bolts, wheel hub bolts or U-bolts, are specialty automotive fasteners designated DACF 2097 and DACF 1031D. Fastener DACF 2097 is 40 mm long with an enlarged longitudinally ribbed shoulder beneath the head and fully threaded shank. Fastener DACF 1031D is 50 mm long with a similarly configured shoulder and shank threaded 3/4 of its length. Both fasteners are made of medium carbon steel, and have flat points and M12 or 1/2-20 threads. Fastener DACF 2097 has a flat fillister head while fastener DACF 1031D has more of a D-shaped head. Protestant states these fasteners are used to attach the wheels of an automobile to the hub and bearing assemblies.

The fasteners were entered under a provision of heading 7318 for bolts and bolts and their nuts or washers entered or exported in the same shipment. The import specialist determined the fasteners closely resembled steel broaching studs and liquidated the entries under a provision of heading 7318 for studs.

Counsel for the protestant supports the bolts classification with the following arguments: the fasteners are designed to attach an automobile wheel to the hub and bearing assembly by means of a nut; the fasteners are within the common meaning of the term bolt as established by lexicographic and scientific authorities; the courts recognize that the definition of the term bolt contains both a configurational element and a functional element, both of which these fasteners possess; and, relevant HTS Explanatory Notes support the fact that studs are headless.

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:

7318.15 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 ad valorem

7318.15.50 Studs...4.7 percent ad valorem


Whether the fasteners in question are studs 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 respective provisions for bolts and for studs describe a commodity eo nomine, by name. Absent a contrary legislative intent or judicial decision, and without proof of commercial designation, an unlimited eo nomine designation will include all forms of the named article. Despite the fact these fasteners are specialty items specifically designed for automotive applications, they will nevertheless be regarded as bolts or - 3 -
studs for tariff purposes if they otherwise comport with the common meaning of either term.

Customs traditionally classifies fasteners in accordance with their primary design characteristics. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specification B18.2.1 in part 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 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. While not necessarily encompassing the entire universe of fasteners that may be studs, Customs regards as studs articles that are within this definition, as cited in Fastening Devices, Inc. v. United States, 40 Cust. Ct. 345, C.D. 2004 (1958). Threaded fasteners with flat fillister heads and ribbed necks or shoulders, similar in function to the ones under protest, were held to be studs in NY 825810, dated November 6, 1987. Similarly, in HQ 951995, dated September 15, 1992, we held that similarly configured fasteners that enclosed the two halves of an automotive differential cover were studs for tariff purposes. The head design coupled with the longitudinal threads anchored one end of the fastener in one half of the differential cover allowing the other end to form a threaded protuberance onto which the other half of the cover is fastened by means of a nut.

Counsel maintains that the common meaning of the term stud has been established by the Court of International Trade in S.I. Stud, Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 93-124, aff'd. 24 F 3d. 1394 (Fed. Cir. 1994). In that case, the court found the so- called stud-bolt, a fully threaded headless fastener with chamfered ends, designed to be passed through untapped holes in two flanges and secured with a nut at each end, was a stud for tariff purposes. Counsel concludes that this decision expressly overrules the cited administrative decisions and is authority for classifying the fasteners in this protest as bolts.

We disagree with counsel's interpretation. Initially, the S.I. Stud court's pronouncements on bolts constitute dictum and do not conclusively establish a common meaning for that term. The court stated that the terms "stud" and "bolt" are not defined in the HTSUS and there is little in the legislative history or prior judicial interpretation that defines or distinguishes them.

In its most recent decision in Hafele America Co., Ltd. v. United States, Slip Op. 94-188 (Ct. Int'l Trade, decided December 12, 1994), the court agreed that the dictionary definition of the term "stud" encompasses a wide variety of items which do not necessarily share distinguishing characteristics.

In describing the term stud as "multifaceted" and having "broad application" the S.I. Stud court cited with approval an earlier decision in Gorman Anderson Corp. v. United States, 34 Cust. Ct. 35, C.D. 1674 (1955), and then concluded it was impelled to adopt the definition of the term which most aptly fit the stud-bolt it was considering. The court cited the McGraw- Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms and stated that studs are particular types of bolts which may be threaded on one or both ends, either with heads or headless. In quoting definitions of the terms "bolt" and "stud" the court noted that each contains both a configurational element and a functional element. Since the functional element of bolts and studs is the same, i.e., to fasten one or more things together, it is the configurational element that assumes particular significance in this case; that is, the head design coupled with the ribbed necks allows one end of these fasteners to be anchored firmly in place. See counsel's submission of November 23, 1994, at p. 7.

Of equal importance, the S.I. Stud court rejected plaintiff's attempts to distinguish the stud-bolt from fasteners which the court in Gorman and Fastening Devices held to be studs, thus leaving those decisions undisturbed. It is also noteworthy that while S.I. Stud was affirmed on appeal to the CAFC, a strongly worded dissent noted that studs are threaded fasteners with one end anchored or fixed in place to provide a projection to which something may be attached by a nut or other fastener. For all of these reasons, we find that S.I. Stud is only authority for classifying the particular fastener in that case.

Counsel's final argument is that the Explanatory Notes, at p. 1028, include within heading 73.18 so-called screw studs (short rods threaded at both ends) and screw studding (rods threaded throughout), and concludes that studs must be headless fasteners. These notes only indicate examples of articles that are included in heading 73.18. The fact that fully or partially threaded rods may be studs is not conclusive with respect to headed fasteners like wheel bolts or wheel hub bolts that may also be studs.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the fasteners designated DACF 2097 and DACF 1031D are provided for in heading 7318. They are classifiable in subheading 7318.15.50, HTSUS, as studs.

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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