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HQ 959352

DECEMBER 4, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959352 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7325.99.10

Port Director of Customs
2nd. & Chestnut Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: PRD 1101-96-100241; Grate for Trench Drains, Iron Castings, Articles of Nonmalleable Cast Iron, Subheading 7325.10.00; Other Cast Iron Articles, Subheading 7325.99.50; Ductile Cast Iron, Malleable as First Cast; I.A. 75/82, HQ 070176, HQ 959521; Laboratory Report; Consolidated Cork v. U.S., Customs Directive 099 3820-002

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1001-96-100241, filed against your classification of certain iron castings, produced in China, for grates used in trench drains. The entry was liquidated on February 23, 1996, and this protest timely filed on March 20, 1996.


The merchandise under protest is listed on the commercial invoice as ductile iron grates for trench drains. They are depicted in submitted literature as cast iron grates for use with a variety of drains to include roof drains, cleanouts, and floor drains for industrial kitchens, shop areas, etc. They are finished articles of commerce, requiring no post-importation processing.

These grates were entered under the duty-free provision for other nonmalleable cast iron articles, in subheading 7325.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The protestant's broker maintains that the grates are cast without any further conditioning and that the characteristic of malleability is imparted during casting. The commercial invoice characterized the merchandise as ductile. For this reason, the local import specialist determined that the grates were malleable as cast, and liquidated the entry under subheading 7325.99.10, - 2 -

HTSUS, as other cast iron articles. Subsequently, in a report, dated August 13, 1996, the New York Customs laboratory confirmed that a representative sample was, in fact, of ductile iron.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

7325 Other cast articles of iron or steel:

7325.10.00 Of nonmalleable cast iron...Free


7325.99 Other:

7325.99.10 Of cast iron...1.9 percent ad valorem


Whether castings of ductile iron are considered nonmalleable 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.

Where terms are not defined in the text of the HTSUS, or guidance as to their scope found in the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes, they are to be construed in accordance with their common and commercial meanings which are presumed to be the same. Standard dictionary definitions for the terms "ductile" and "malleable" are nearly identical, suggesting that the terms may be synonymous. In such cases, it is appropriate to consider the interpretation commonly placed upon the terms by the industry involved. In the iron and steel industry, cast iron is not malleable as first cast. It becomes malleable by annealing or other heat treatment, a process that alters the graphite matrix of the product. Ductile iron is another in the family of cast irons and is malleable as cast because of the addition of cerium or magnesium to the melt. For this reason, ductile cast iron is not normally annealed or heat - 3 -
treated. Examination of a product's microstructure will identify as "ductile" cast iron in which the graphite particles appear nodular or spheroid-shaped, while in "malleable" cast iron the graphite particles are in a smaller, dot-like configuration.

Cast iron characterized as "malleable" is not considered ductile unless it has been annealed or otherwise heat treated. On the other hand, cast iron characterized as "ductile" is, by definition, considered malleable. The same issues were addressed and conclusion reached in HQ 959521, dated December 3, 1996. This represents a continuation of the approach taken by Customs under the HTSUS predecessor tariff code, the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). See Internal Advice 75/82 (HQ 070176, dated January 18, 1983).

The characterization of the cast iron as "ductile" led Customs to conclude that it was malleable for tariff purposes. This was confirmed by the referenced New York laboratory report. It is well settled that methods of weighing, measuring and testing merchandise used by Customs officers are presumed to be correct, and may not be disregarded, except in cases where such methods and results are shown to be erroneous. Consolidated Cork Corp. v. United States, 54 Cust. Ct. 83, C.D. 2512 (1965), and Customs Directive 099 3820-002, dated May 4, 1992.


Under the authority of GRI 1, iron grates of ductile iron are provided for in heading 7325. They are classifiable in subheading 7325.99.10, 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 - 4 -

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

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