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NY B82051

February 27, 1997

CLA-2-73:RR:NC:GI:115 B82051


TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.8585

Mr. Brian F. Walsh
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
200 East Randolph Drive
Suite 7920
Chicago, Illinois 60601

RE: The tariff classification of a fastener from Germany.

Dear Mr. Walsh:

In your letter dated January 30, 1997, you requested a tariff classification ruling, on behalf of your client, Flexible Steel Lacing Company, Downers Grove, IL.

The subject item is a Gator Tie-Bar Belt Hook System. This item is used to splice together the ends of conveyor belting. The Tie-Bar System consists of a number of belt hooks welded to a cross-wire. The shape of each hook is a triangle, with one side open, and the opened ends pointed.

In your letter you suggest that the item is classifiable in subheading 8305.20.0000, HTS, as staples in strips (for example, for offices, upholstery, packaging). The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) are the official interpretation for the HTS at the international level. In the Note to Section XV, 83.05, staples in strips are described as "of the kind used in stapling machines, in offices, for upholstery, for packaging, etc."

The descriptive literature you provided, the inquirer's own catalog, never refers to those devices except as hooks. We assume, then, that they are not referred to commonly or commercially as staples.

Furthermore, the statutory canon of construction "noscitur a sociis" is useful in determining the common and commercial meaning of the term "staples." We note that the term appears in a heading which includes fittings for loose leaf binders, paper and similar clips and office articles.

We have reviewed the court cases that you have quoted in your letter, in particular, Clipper Belt Lacers Co., Inc. v. United States, 738 F. Supp. 528 of March 13, 1990. This case excluded belt fasteners from item 646.20, TSUS, the eo nomine provision for staples in strip form. Your letter attempts unpersuasively to address some of the court's arguments. For example, you state that the individual hooks are "U-shaped," when clearly, they are not.

We cannot conclude that the court would have found the instant merchandise to be a staple either under the TSUS or the HTS. Based upon these principles, it is the opinion of this office that fastening devices for conveyor belts are not of the same class or kind as articles intended to be classified in subheading 8305.20.0000, HTS.

The applicable subheading for the fasteners will be 7326.90.8585, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of iron or steel, other. The duty rate will be 4% ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Melvyn Birnbaum at 212-466-5487.


Robert B. Swierupski
Chief, Metals & Machinery Branch

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