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HQ 957695

AUGUST 1, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:M 957695 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7210.60.00

District Director of Customs
6747 Engle Road
Middleburg Hts., Ohio 44130

RE: Internal Advice 58/94; Aluminized Steel Sheet in Coils; Flat-Rolled Products of Iron or Nonalloy Steel Plated or Coated With Aluminum; Flat-Rolled products of Other Alloy Steel, Heading 7225; Chapter 72, Note 1(f)

Dear District Director:

Your memorandum to the Customs Information Exchange, dated September 20, 1994 (CLA-1-CL:DD:CO:TEB AW), initiated this request for internal advice, as requested by the importer in a letter to you, dated August 8, 1994. At issue is the classification of certain aluminized steel sheet in coils, from Japan.


The merchandise is steel sheet in coils coated or plated with aluminum to render it corrosion resistant. Four (4) entries of this merchandise were made under the provision for other flat- rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, electrolytically plated or coated with zinc, in subheading 7210.39.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your office noted that the goods were invoiced as aluminized steel sheet in coils, a product that is customarily nonalloyed, inspection certificates submitted with two of the entries indicated the merchandise to be nonalloyed, and shipping documents state the steel sheet conforms to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specification A463/83, a standard specification for steel sheet, cold-rolled, aluminum coated, types 1 and 2. The chemical requirements under this specification are not sufficient to make the steel alloyed for tariff purposes. Accordingly, you reliquidated the entries under subheading 7210.60.00, HTSUS, as flat-rolled products plated or coated with aluminum.

The internal advice applicant maintains the merchandise is alloyed for tariff purposes and is classifiable under appropriate subheadings of heading 7225, as flat-rolled products of other alloy steel. After release of the steel from Customs custody, samples from a shipment covered by one of the entries was subsequently recovered from the customer. Chemical analysis both by an independent laboratory and by the Chicago Customs laboratory confirm that the sample contains the requisite percent, by weight, of titanium, to qualify the steel as alloyed for tariff purposes. Revised inspection/mill certificates were obtained from the Japanese supplier that purport to establish that steel sheet from the remaining entries was also alloyed.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

7210 Flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, clad, plated or coated:

Electrolytically plated or coated with zinc:

7210.39.00 Other...5.8 percent

7210.60.00 Plated or coated with aluminum ...5.8 percent

7225 Flat-rolled products of other alloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more:

7225.90.00 Other...5.2 percent


Whether the aluminized steel sheet in coils is considered alloyed 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 term Other alloy steel includes, among others, steels not complying with the definition of stainless steel and containing by weight 0.05 percent or more of titanium. Chapter 72, Note 1(f), HTSUS.

While aluminized steel sheet in coils is customarily nonalloyed, it is not uncommon for an importer to add an alloying element or elements in sufficient amounts as to require classification under a provision with a lower rate of duty, or for other legitimate duty avoidance purposes. The courts have sanctioned an importer's right to fashion his merchandise in this way provided it is in fact described by the claimed provision. This is a corollary to the established rule of construction that merchandise is classified and assessed with duty in its condition as imported, that is, when it is brought within the Customs territory with intent to unlade. Ordinarily, therefore, it is the evidence of record at the time merchandise enters the Customs territory that determines its tariff status.

This should not be interpreted as stating that no evidence submitted after the merchandise is released from Customs custody may be considered to establish its condition as imported. In administrative proceedings Customs has considerable latitude in evaluating in a light most favorable to the importer or other party seeking relief all credible evidence as to the condition of the merchandise as imported.

In these circumstances, with respect to the three entries for which there are no available samples, the only objective evidence of the condition of the merchandise as imported is reflected by the invoices, inspection certificates, and other documents available to Customs officers which showed the steel to be nonalloyed. Revised mill certificates and post-importation statements from the importer and others that contradict, rather than corroborate, evidence already in the record, should be accorded little or no probative value. The one entry for which samples were produced after release of the merchandise from Customs custody should be treated similarly unless the concerned import specialist determines there is sufficient evidence to establish that the samples came from the shipment covered by that entry.


The aluminized steel sheet in issue is to be classified in subheading 7210.60.00, HTSUS, or in subheading 7225.90.00, HTSUS, as appropriate, in accordance with these guidelines.

You should mail this decision to the internal advice applicant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps - 4 -
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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