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HQ 957374

APRIL 24, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:M 957374 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8308.20.60

Mr. Richard Leroy
Spence Distributors, Ltd.
111 Omands Creek Blvd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2R 1W3

RE: DD 896769 Revoked; Bifurcated Rivets of Aluminum and Steel in Plastic Box Inside Cardboard Sleeve; Nail Rivets, Blind Rivets, Steel Rivets, Rivets and Washers, Heading 7318; Sets, GRI 3(b), Essential Character

Dear Mr. Leroy:

In DD 896769, issued to you on dated May 3, 1994, the District Director of Customs, Los Angeles, held that certain aluminum and steel rivets and steel washers were classifiable in subheading 7318.23.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as non-threaded articles of iron or steel: rivets. We have reconsidered this ruling and now believe that it is incorrect.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of DD 896769 was published on March 22, 1995, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 29, Number 12.


The merchandise in issue is an assortment of nail rivets and washers in a hard plastic case. The assortment consists of 1/8 and 3/8 inch diameter rivets, each in 5 sizes, and washers corresponding to the respective diameters. The fasteners are so- called blind rivets for applications where the installer has access to only one side of the work. They consist of a headed aluminum rivet portion mounted on a steel nail or mandrel, with steel predominating by weight. The rivet portion is polished after forming. In use, the shank of the rivet is inserted in a hole drilled in the parts to be joined. When the mandrel is withdrawn it deforms or upsets the headless end, causing the rivet to be fixed in place and the mandrel to break off. An index card identifying sizes of rivets and washers in each of the - 2 -
case's 12 compartments fits inside the top. The plastic case slides inside a cardboard sleeve custom labeled with a business name and address of the customer's choice.

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:

Non-threaded articles:
7318.22.00 Other washers...Free

7318.23.00 Rivets...0.3 cents/kg.

8308 ...; tubular or bifurcated rivets of base metal:

8308.20 Tubular or bifurcated rivets::

8308.20.60 Other...3.8 percent


Whether the assorted rivets and washers, packaged and imported as described, are a set for tariff purposes; whether heading 7318 or heading 8308 is the more specific provision.


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 - 3 -
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).

GRI 3(b), HTSUS, states in part that goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character, insofar as that criterion is applicable. Relevant ENs, at p. 4, state under RULE 3 (X), that the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which (a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. The washers are provided for in heading 7318 and the nail rivets in heading 8308. The inside diameters of the washers correspond, respectively, to the shanks of the 1/8 and 3/16 inch diameter rivets and serve to increase the bearing surface of the head. This keeps the rivet from going through the work when the mandrel is withdrawn. The rivets and washers, together, perform a fastening or joining function. The rivet assortment is offered for sale in the hard plastic case inside the cardboard sleeve. The merchandise qualifies as a "set" for tariff purposes whose essential character is clearly imparted by the rivets as they do the actual fastening or joining.

As to the classification of the rivets, the ENs, at p. 1029, exclude from heading 7318 tubular or bifurcated rivets. These are referred to heading 8308. The ENs, at p. 1124, include within heading 8308 tubular or bifurcated rivets of all kinds. That heading also covers break mandrel blind rivets, where during the setting operation the mandrel is pulled into or against the rivet body and breaks at or near the junction of the mandrel shank and its upset end. The rivets in issue conform to this description and are therefore encompassed by heading 8308.


The rivet assortment is a good put up in sets for retail sale. Under GRI 3(b), it is classifiable as tubular or bifurcated rivets, in subheading 8308.20.60, HTSUS.


DD 896769, dated May 3, 1994, is revoked. In accordance with section 625 this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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