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HQ 952794

February 12, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952794 EJD


TARIFF NO: 8302.41.60

Mr. Peter Jederman
Trimark Venture Development Corporation
P.O. Box 3587
349 W. Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6B 3Y6

RE: Portabolt; deadbolt lock; subheading 8301.40.60; GRIs 1, 3(b) and 3(c); composite good; essential character; ENs 83.01 and 83.02

Dear Mr. Jederman:

This is in response to your letter of October 14, 1992, concerning the classification of a portable deadbolt lock identified as "the Portabolt" under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). A sample was submitted for our examination.


The Portabolt is about seven inches long and one inch in diameter. It consists of a steel hook and a plastic (fibreglass reinforced nylon) body containing a trigger. It is intended to be used by travellers for extra security in a hotel room.

The Portabolt provides the security of a permanently installed deadbolt. It is designed to be hooked to the strike pocket of an in-swing door. Its patented ratcheting turn-to- tighten feature locks a door quickly and easily from the inside, making it impossible to pick the lock or to unlock the room from the outside. The Portabolt can be released by pressing the trigger.

You contend that the Portabolt is classifiable under subheading 8301.40.60, HTSUS, which provides for "[p]adlocks and locks (key, combination or electrically operated), of base metal; clasps and frames with clasps, incorporating locks, of base metal; keys and parts of any of the foregoing articles; of base metal . . . [o]ther locks . . . [o]ther."


Is the Portabolt a lock?


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 Explanatory Notes (ENs) are the official interpretation of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS) at the international level. They 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. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be looked to for the interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

EN 83.01 states, in pertinent part, at pages 1117-1118, that:

This heading covers fastening devices operated by a key (e.g., locks of the cylinder, lever, tumbler or Bramah types) or controlled by a combination of letters or figures (combination locks).

It also includes electrically operated locks (e.g., for street doors of blocks of flats or for lift doors). These locks may be operated, e.g., by insertion of a magnetic card, by entering the combination data on an electronic keyboard, or by radio wave signal.

The heading does not, however, include simple latches or bolts, etc. (heading 83.02), nor fasteners and clasps (not key or combination operated) for handbags, brief- cases, executive-cases, etc. (heading 83.08). (Emphasis added in the original.)

EN 83.02 states, in pertinent part, at page 1119, that:

The heading covers:

(D) Mountings, fittings and similar articles suitable for buildings

This group includes:

(2) Catches (including ball spring catches), bolts, fasteners, latches, etc., (other than key-operated bolts of heading 83.01), for doors.

It is our opinion that the Portabolt is not similar to the articles specified in heading 8301, HTSUS. It is not a fastening device as described in EN 83.01. Therefore, classification in subheading 8301.40.60, HTSUS, is precluded.

No single heading covers the Portabolt in its entirety and, accordingly, classification cannot be accomplished by application of GRI 1 alone. Chapter 39, HTSUS, provides for articles of plastics and Chapter 83, HTSUS, provides for articles of base metal.

When goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, GRI 3 is applicable. In this case, GRI 3(b) is applicable and provides:

[m]ixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The subject merchandise is described by and prima facie classifiable under heading 3926, HTSUS, as other articles of plastics, and heading 8302, HTSUS, as base metal mountings, fittings and similar articles. Therefore, it must be determined whether the plastic body or the steel hook gives the merchandise its essential character.

In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure, core or condition of the article. In addition, EN VIII to GRI 3(b), reads as follows:

The factor which determines essential character will vary between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

HCDCS, p. 4.

The issue presented is whether the essential character of the article is imparted by the plastic body or the steel hook. Both the steel hook and the plastic body of the Portabolt contribute directly to securing the door. Considering all factors present, it is our position that it is impossible to ascertain which of the two components imparts its essential character.

GRI 3(c) requires that when merchandise cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), the merchandise should be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order. Therefore, the Portabolt is properly classifiable under subheading 8302.41.60, HTSUS, which provides for:

Base metal mountings, fittings and similar articles suitable for furniture, doors, staircases, windows, . . . or the like; . . . automatic door closers of base metal; and base metal parts thereof . . . [o]ther mountings, fittings and similar articles, and parts thereof . . . [s]uitable for buildings . . . [o]ther . . . [o]f iron or steel, of aluminum or of zinc.


The Portabolt is properly classified under subheading 8302.41.60, HTSUS, which provides for base metal mountings for doors, with a rate of duty of 5.7 percent ad valorem.

Subheading 8302.41.60, HTSUS, is an eligible tariff provision for preferential treatment under the United States- Canada Free Trade Agreement. If the articles are deemed to be goods originating in the territory of Canada, pursuant to General Note 3(c)(vii), HTSUS, they will be eligible for preferential duty treatment at the rate of duty of 2.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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