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HQ 956811

APRIL 10, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:M 956811 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7318.15.20, 7318.15.60, 7318.15.80

District Director of Customs
110 South 4th. Street, Rm. 154
Minneapolis, MN 55401

RE: PRD 3501-93-100390; Threaded Fasteners; Hex Head Bolt, Hex Head Structural Bolt; Square Neck Bolt, 7318.15.20; Hex Socket Cap Screw, Cap Screw With Washer Face, Heads and Threads, Inc. v. United States

Dear District Director:

This is our decision on Protest 3501-93-100390, filed against your classification of certain threaded fasteners. The entry under protest was liquidated on May 28, 1993, and this protest timely filed on August 25, 1993.


The fasteners in issue are represented by five (5) samples designated DIN 931, 933, 960, 961 and 912. They were entered under subheading 7318.15.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as bolts and bolts and their nuts or washers entered or exported in the same shipment. You determined that each of these fasteners had a washer face on the underside of the head and that they conformed to a recognized standard for screws. You reclassified these fasteners as screws, in subheading 7318.15.60 or subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS, depending on shank or thread diameter. Two other fasteners, the mushroom head square neck bolt, designated DIN 603, and the hex head structural bolt, designated DIN 6914, were liquidated as entered, under the provision for bolts, in subheading 7318.15.20. These fasteners are not in issue here.

Protestant contends the fasteners are classifiable as bolts because (1) they must be used with hex nuts in order to perform their intended service application; and, (2) screws are generally threaded throughout their length whereas bolts generally have a part of their shank unthreaded. Three of the five samples in contention here have a portion of their shanks threaded.

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:

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
...0.6 percent


7318.15.60 Having shanks or threads with a diameter of less than 6 mm...6.2 percent

7318.15.80 Having shanks or threads with a diameter of 6 mm or more...9.3 percent


Whether the threaded fasteners in issue, or any of them, are bolts 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.

Customs is of the opinion that the most objectively verifiable standard for differentiating one type of threaded fastener from another is by dimensional standards specified by or on behalf of the industry in which these fasteners are used. However, when there is no industry standard available to cover a particular fastener, Customs relies on a more general specification which establishes a recommended procedure for determining the identity of an externally threaded fastener. In cases where a particular fastener does not fall squarely within a recognized standard, we will classify it according to the standard to which it most closely conforms or in accordance with the majority of its design characteristics.

We are aware of no specific industry standard that covers the fasteners in this protest. In such cases the recommended procedure for differentiating bolts from screws is set forth in American National Standards Institute/American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ANSI/ASME) standard B18.2.1 (1981).

ANSI/ASME standard B18.2.1 specifies primary and supplementary criteria to be applied in determining whether a particular threaded fastener is a bolt or a screw. This specification states that any fastener satisfying one of the primary criteria shall be identified accordingly, and no further examination need be made. The concerned National Import Specialist performed a thorough physical examination of the five samples in issue and determined that they did not meet any of the primary criteria in standard B18.2.1. Specifically, while it may be possible to use these fasteners with a nut, they are not necessarily designed for use with a nut. Standard B18.2.1 states that because of basic design, it is possible to use certain types of screws in combination with a nut. The standard states further that any externally threaded fastener which has the majority of design characteristics which assist its proper use in a tapped or other preformed hole is a screw, regardless of how it is used in its service application. The National Import Specialist then determined that the samples conformed to at least seven of the nine supplementary criteria for screws. We agree that this analysis is accurate.

In addition, steel cap screws and bolts are provided for at the eight digit level under the HTSUS. Thus, United States tariff history is useful in determining the scope of the respective provisions. In Heads and Threads, Inc. v. United States, C.D. 3412, aff'd. C.A.D. 960 (1969), the court sanctioned Customs practice under the HTSUS predecessor tariff code, the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), of distinguishing cap screws from bolts by the presence of a washer face or its equivalent on the underside of the head of the screw. The sample fasteners in issue all have a washer face or its equivalent on the underside of their heads.


Under the authority of GRI 1, fasteners represented by the samples designated DIN 931, 933, 960, 961 and 912 are provided for in heading 7318. They are classifiable as screws, in subheadings 7318.15.60 or 7318.15.80, HTSUS, depending on shank or thread diameter. Fasteners represented by samples designated DIN 603 and 6914 are also provided for in heading 7318. They are classifiable as bolts, in subheading 7318.15.20, HTSUS, as entered.

The protest should be ALLOWED as to fasteners represented by samples DIN 603 and DIN 6914. The protest should be DENIED as to fasteners represented by samples designated Din 931, 933, 960, 961 and 912.

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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