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HQ 956922

NOVEMBER 21, 1994

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 956922 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7308.90.95

District Director of Customs
1 East Bay Street, Rm. 104
Savannah, GA 31401

RE: PRD 1703-94-100073; Walkways and Stairways for Paper Finishing Machines, Heading 8439, Parts of Machinery for Making Paper or Paperboard; Structural Components, Structures and Parts of Structures, Heading 7308; HQ 084140

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Protest 1703-94-100073, filed against your action in classifying certain walkways and stairways for use with paper making or finishing machines. The entry under protest was liquidated on March 24, 1994, and this protest timely filed on June 22, 1994.


The merchandise in issue is certain walkways, guardrails, stairways, handrails, and spring loaded gates, all of iron or steel, from Finland. They consist primarily of panels of metal grating and tubes, but also angles, shapes and sections that are connected by a combination of screws and bolts and welding. They are used with paper making, coating or finishing machines. Certain sections of this merchandise are hinged and either pivot, fold up, or are removable. This permits the changing or maintenance of parts and worker access to junction boxes, valves, and other operating components. There is no indication that these base metal articles are mechanical or perform any function necessary to the operation of the paper machine, nor are they fitted with wiring or conduits for transmitting power among the various components of the machine.

These articles were entered under a provision in heading 8439 for parts of machinery for making paper or paperboard. Protestant maintains that these articles are parts for tariff purposes because they are integral parts of the machines, in some instances form part of the structural support for the machines, - 2 -
and support piping, electrical cables and other components necessary to operate the machines. The import specialist liquidated the entry under a provision in heading 7308 for structures and parts of structures, of base metal.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

7308 Structures and parts of structures of iron or steel:

7308.90 Other:


7308.90.95 Other...5.7 percent ad valorem

8439 Machinery for making pulp of fibrous cellulosic material or for making or finishing paper or paperboard; parts thereof:


8439.99 Other:

8439.99.10 Of machinery for making paper or paperboard...Free


Whether the base metal components are parts 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 - 3 -
consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

There is no compelling argument that these base metal components are integral, constituent or components necessary to the proper operation of a paper machine, and without which the machines cannot function. Any argument that they are essential for the safety of the machines in that they provide worker access for repair and maintenance purposes, or in any way protect the workers themselves is not sufficient to establish their tariff status as parts. In fact, the documentation indicates that worker access is often denied when certain sections of the machine are running. That the stairways and walkways may function as supports for the machines' ductwork, cables and drive motors is likewise insufficient. There is a more compelling argument that it is these components and not the walkways and stairways that are parts of the paper machines.

As to the applicability of heading 7308, relevant ENs at p. 1020, state that heading covers structures and parts of structures, of base metal. These structures are characterized by the fact that once placed in position they generally remain in that position. They are usually made up from bars, tubes, plates, etc., and are connected by riveting, bolting or welding. The notes list the following among the goods included in heading 7308: pit head frames and superstructures, tubular scaffolding and similar equipment, masts, gangways, rails, etc. for ships, balconies and varandahs, assembled railings and protective barriers. Among the features these articles have in common are their static nature and immovability, and the fact they support persons or other articles. The walkways, stairways, handrails and gates in issue are compellingly analogous to these exemplars. HQ 084140, dated July 18, 1989, dealing in part with base metal walkways used with hydroelectric plants, is in accord.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the base metal articles in issue are provided for in heading 7308. They are classifiable in subheading 7308.90.95, HTSUS.

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 - 4 -
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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