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HQ 960193

APRIL 21, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 960193 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 6802.99.00

Mr. Rolf Fredner
Rolf Fredner, Inc.
63 Melrose Drive
New Rochelle, NY 10804-4609

RE: NY 811779, HQ 958353 Revoked; Wood-Burning Stove for Heating and Cooking; Unassembled Articles Made of Cut Natural Stones; Soapstone, Worked Monumental or Building Stone, Fireplace Kit; Articles of Semiprecious Stones, Subheading 7116.20.40; Chapter 68, Note 1(d), Note 2; Chapter 71, Note 1

Dear Mr. Fredner:

In NY 811779, dated July 5, 1995, the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, determined that a wood-burning stove of soapstone (steatite) was classifiable in subheading 7116.20.40, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as an article of semiprecious stones. This ruling was affirmed by HQ 958353, dated November 2, 1995.

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 NY 811779 and HQ 958353 was published on March 19, 1997, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 31, Number 12.


The articles under consideration are the OCTO model wood-burning fireplaces of the type used in the home, the exterior and interior of which are of soapstone (steatite). They are shipped unassembled, in kit form, and consist of cut-to-shape pieces of natural stone, wrought iron and glass fire chamber door, grate, ashpan, gauge, and metal clips. The stone blocks are of a talc-based mineral known commercially as steatite or soapstone. The - 2 -
literature states that, in addition to providing a soft gray color and pleasing luster, soapstone is easily customized into a variety of designs and absorbs, retains and radiates heat as well or better than ordinary masonry brick.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

6802 Worked monumental or building stone...and articles thereof...:


6802.99.00 Other stone...6.5 percent ad valorem

7116.20 Articles Of precious or semiprecious stones:

Of precious or semiprecious stones (except rock crystal):

7116.20.40 Other...16.8 percent ad valorem


Whether a fireplace or stove of soapstone, base metal and glass is a good of heading 7116.


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 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 - 3 -

Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Subject to certain exceptions not relevant here, all articles consisting wholly or partly of semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed) are to be classified in Chapter 71. See Chapter 71, Note 1, HTSUS. Soapstone or steatite, which are commercial designations for the mineral talc, are listed in the Annex to the Explanatory Notes for Chapter 71 and, therefore, are considered semiprecious stones of that chapter. Chapter 68 does not cover articles of Chapter 71. See Chapter 68, Note 1(d), HTSUS. Therefore, Customs reasoned that if soapstone (steatite) wood-burning stoves are provided for in heading 7116, or in any other heading of chapter 71, they must be classified there, and cannot be classified in heading 6802. However, the expression "worked monumental or building stone" for purposes of heading 6802 includes steatite, among other types of natural stone. See Chapter 68, Note 2, HTSUS. Thus, heading 6802 provides, among other things, for worked monumental or building stone of steatite.

It is now our opinion that if a natural stone of steatite or soapstone qualifies as a worked monumental or building stone of that mineral, it is not excluded from Chapter 68. In this regard, relevant ENs for heading 6802 state, in part at p. 897, that the heading covers stone which has been further processed than mere shaping into blocks, sheets or slabs by splitting, roughly cutting or squaring, or squaring by sawing. The heading thus covers stone in the forms produced by the stone-mason, sculptor, etc.; for example, stone of any shape, whether or not in the form of finished articles, which has been bossed (i.e., given a "rock faced" finish by smoothing along the edges while leaving rough protuberant faces), dressed with the pick, bushing hammer, or chisel, etc., furrowed with the drag-comb, etc., planed, sand dressed, ground, polished, chamfered, moulded, turned, ornamented, carved, etc.

In this case, the wood-burning stoves in issue are imported unassembled, in kit form, and consist in the main of individual pieces of soapstone of different sizes designed to be assembled together to create the exterior and interior configuration, but in any event processed as described in the cited ENs. Accordingly, the merchandise is described by heading 6802.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the OCTO model wood-burning fireplaces and stoves are provided for in heading 6802. They are classifiable in subheading 6802.99.00, HTSUS. NY 811779, dated July 5, 1995, and HQ 958353, dated November 2, 1995, are revoked.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) 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
Tariff Classification

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