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HQ 957919

OCTOBER 31, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:M 957919 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8477.90.80

Port Director of Customs
Federal Building, Rm. 839
200 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

RE: IA 16/95; Unassembled Endless Stainless Steel Belt; Parts of Machinery for the Manufacture of Products of Plastic; GRI 2(a); Explanatory Notes 2(a)(V) and (VII); Compendium of Classifications: Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System; Section XVI, Note 1(ij), Note 2; Slip Op. 94-138, Articles of Iron or Steel, 7326.90.85

Dear Port Director:

This is in response to your memorandum of March 28, 1995 (CLA-2-ADD:CO:CTB DJ), forwarding a submission dated January 25, 1995, by counsel for Berndorf International Conveyor Belts, Inc., concerning the classification of an unassembled endless stainless steel belt under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise is an endless belt or band, made from stainless steel sheet, for use in a continuous acrylic sheet casting machine. Although designated a process band, the belt or band in issue functions as a conveyor band as it is used to transport acrylic sheet through the machine. Because it is made to customer's specifications with respect to material, dimensions surface and required tolerances, it is an integral, constituent component part of the acrylic caster with which it is used. The complete band, called a bottom band, measures 201.625 meters x 2.946 meters x 1.5 millimeters. After testing at the manufacturer's plant in Austria, the band was cut both widthwise and lengthwise into two pieces, each measuring 110 meters x 2.946 meters x 1.5 millimeters, and wound onto spools to protect them during shipment. This is their condition as imported. The two pieces were reassembled after importation by welding and installed on the acrylic caster.


Whether the endless stainless steel belt, imported in two pieces, is classifiable under subheading 8477.90.80, HTSUS, as part of machinery for manufacturing products from rubber or plastics, or under subheading 7326.90.85, HTSUS, as an article of iron or steel.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8477.90.80: [m]achinery for working rubber or plastics or for the manufacture of products from these materials, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: [p]arts:

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 3.7 percent ad valorem.

7326.90.85: [o]ther articles of iron or steel: [o]ther: [o]ther: [o]ther: [o]ther.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 5.1 percent ad valorem.

GRI 2(a) states that:

[a]ny reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each
heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Explanatory Note 2(a)(V) (p. 2) states that:

[t]he second part of Rule 2(a) provides that complete or finished articles presented unassembled or disassembled are to be classified in the same heading as the assembled article. When goods are so presented, it is usually for reasons such as requirements or convenience of packing, handling or transport.

In part, Explanatory Note 2(a)(VII) (p. 2) states that:

[f]or the purposes of this Rule, "articles presented unassembled or disassembled" means articles the components of which are to be assembled either by means of simple fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by riveting or welding, for example, provided only simple assembly operations are involved.

As the endless belt is disassembled for the convenience of transport (i.e., to avoid damage), and the reassembly of the two pieces of the belt after importation (welding) is a simple assembly operation, it is our position that, in accordance with GRI 2(a), the two pieces together are to be classifiable in the same HTSUS provision as an assembled endless belt.

Counsel for the internal advice applicant maintains the belt or band is a part classifiable in subheading 8477.90.80, HTSUS. You cite Section XVI, Note 1(ij), HTSUS, to preclude classification of the belt under this provision. This note excludes endless belts of metal wire or strip which are referred to section XV. It is our opinion that because the subject endless belt or band is made of stainless steel sheet, and not metal wire or strip, Note 1(ij) is inapplicable.

However, we note that in the Compendium of Classifications: Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (1987, et. seq.), the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) made the following classification decision (7326.90/2):

7326.90 2. Transmission, conveyor or elevator belts, of iron or steel strip or sheet, endless, not combined with other goods to form machinery parts.

The subject endless belt is composed of stainless steel sheet, and, based upon descriptions provided in the importer's submitted invoices, it is to be used as a conveyor belt. Consequently, it would appear that the CCC intends the subject belt to be classifiable under subheading 7326.90, HTSUS.

Similar to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes, the issuance of a classification opinion in the Compendium constitutes the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. Although generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the various provisions in the HS, classification opinions are not legally binding on the contracting parties. They should be consulted for guidance but should not be treated as dispositive. See T.D. 89-90, 23 Cust. Bull. (1989), and Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Subject to certain exceptions that are not relevant here, Customs has consistently held that goods which are identifiable as parts of machines or apparatus of chapters 84 and 85 are to be classified in accordance with Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUS. Nidec Corporation v. United States, Slip Op. 94-138 (Ct. Int'l Trade, decided September 1, 1994), aff'd. Appeal No. 95-1010 (Fed. Cir., decided October 18, 1995). The endless belt or band is not a good included in any heading of chapter 84 or chapter 85, as required by Note 2(a). However, because of its specific dimensions, tolerances and surface finish, and its function as an integral, constituent and component machine part, we find that the endless belt or band is principally, if not solely used with acrylic casting machines. In accordance with Note 2(b), it is to be classifiied in heading 8477, a provision for machines for manufacturing products from rubber or plastics, and parts thereof.

In this case, we have consulted Classification Opinion 7326.90/2, but find that it is not applicable here, because it contravenes Section XVI, Note 2, which is a GRI 1 classification.


The endless stainless steel belt is provided for in heading 8477. It is classifiable in subheading 8477.90.80, HTSUS.

You should mail this decision to the internal advice applicant, through counsel, no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date 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
Tariff Classification
Appeals Division

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