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NY B89975

November 4, 1997

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:102 B89975


TARIFF NO.: 8481.80.9050; 8481.90.9060

Mr. R. Kevin Williams
O'Donnell, Byrne, Basham & Williams
20 North Wacker Drive (Suite 1416)
Chicago, Illinois 60606

RE: The tariff classification of "bare stem" valves and valve bodies from Germany

Dear Mr. Williams:

In your letter dated September 26, 1997 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Alfa Laval Saunders.

The items in question are identified as bare stem MS butterfly valves, bare stem RS butterfly valves, and type RS valve bodies. The MS butterfly valves are metal seated valves designed for use in applications involving high temperatures and pressures. The RS butterfly valves are rubber seated valves designed for use in gas and liquid pipelines. The MS and RS butterfly valves are imported "bare stem", i.e, without any means of actuation installed on the valve stem.

The RS valve body is imported for assembly with other components, including an actuation device, to form a completed butterfly valve. The valve bodies are made of cast iron, ductile iron, or cast carbon steel.

In the case of the bare stem butterfly valves, after importation, the method of actuation is determined in accordance with customer specifications. You indicate that it is impossible to determine at the time of importation by inspection or otherwise whether a particular butterfly valve will be used with a handwheel or some other form of actuator. Similarly, the means of actuation ultimately used with a butterfly valve assembled from an RS valve body, is determined after importation in accordance with customer specifications.

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. In pertinent part, GRI 1 states that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings. At importation, there is no information regarding whether the butterfly valves are principally actuated by hand, or by other means. Therefore, the valves are prima facie classifiable under HTSUS subheadings 8481.80.30, which provides for other appliances, hand operated, of iron or steel, and 8481.80.90, which provides other appliances, other.

If it were clear that the butterfly valves are either "hand operated" or principally dedicated to hand operation , under GRI 1, they would be properly classifiable under subheading 8481.80.30, HTSUS. However, in their condition as imported, the butterfly valves are not complete hand operated valves. The valves lack the means of actuation and there is no indication that they are principally operated by any one particular method.

With respect to incomplete articles, GRI 2(a) provides that any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete, provided that, as presented, the incomplete article has the essential character of the complete article. As presented, the butterfly valves do not have the essential character of hand operated valves.

In the absence of clear and reliable information as to the method of actuation, the applicable subheading for the MS and RS butterfly valves will be 8481.80.9050, HTSUS, which provides for: "[t]aps, cocks, valves and similar appliances...: [o]ther appliances: [o]ther." The rate of duty will be 2.7 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the RS butterfly valve body will be 8481.90.9060, HTSUS, which provides for "[t]aps, cocks, valves and similar appliances...: [p]arts: [o]ther...[o]ther: [v]alve bodies." The rate of duty will be 1.5 percent ad valorem.

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

A copy of the 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 Kenneth T Brock at 212-466-5493.


Robert B. Swierupski

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