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June 8, 1999

CLA-2-75:RR:NC:1:118 E82832


TARIFF NO.: 7505.12.3000

Mr. Aldo Donati
Foroni Metals of Texas, Inc.
3040 Post Oak Blvd.
Suite 1030
Houston, TX 77056

RE: The tariff classification of nickel base alloy bars from Italy.

Dear Mr. Donati:

In your letter dated May 21, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You stated that the nickel base alloy bars include the following grades: Unified Numbering System (UNS) N07718, N06625, N06600, N04400, N05500, N08825, N10276, N06985 and N07750. All are produced in a round, peeled (rough machined) and polished condition. They are depicted in your submitted brochure as round peeled bars from 3" to 19". The nickel based alloy is a highly resistant non-ferrous alloy with the nickel contents varying from 39% to 75% by weight and includes other additions such as chromium, molybdenum, copper, titanium, tungsten, cobalt and iron. These products are generally used but not limited to the oil and gas, power generation and chemical refining industries where corrosion resistance is necessary. The bars are not supplied directly to the end user but rather to distribution centers and forge shops for further processing. The UNS designations cited above have ASTM cross references as follows:

UNS Designation ASTM Cross Reference
N07718 B637
N06625 B446
N06600 B166
N04400 B164
N05500 FED QQ-N-286
N07750 B637
N08825 B425
N10276 B574
N06985 B581

Manufacturing processes performed on the bars include:

1) Melting - by means of an electric arc furnace, argon oxygen decarburization and (with the exception of UNS N06600 product) vacuum arc remelting. 2) Hot working - forged by open die followed by four-hammer forge and/or continuous deforming forging machine. 3) Heat treatment - solution annealed and aged (when required for specific alloy). 4) Peeling - similar to rough machining.
5) Polishing - Similar to buffing, where a lustrous surface is developed using a “sand belt” type polishing equipment

The imported items fall within the subheading for bars, rods and profiles of nickel alloy (subheading 7505.12, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS)). The question is whether the products would be considered cold-formed or not cold-formed. The terms cold-formed (and cold-finished) are not defined either in the text of the HTS or in the Harmonized Commodity and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs). The ENs for heading 75.05 tell us that the provisions of the ENs to headings 74.07 and 74.08 apply, mutatis mutandis, to this heading. The ENs of 74.07 suggest cold-finishing operations are processes “which give the products a finish of higher precision.” In this instance, you have stated that the peeling operation which is performed in Italy is done to the bar to provide tighter dimensional standards in accordance with customers’ specifications.

The term cold-forming was found in the index of the 8th Edition of the Metals Handbook (vol 4, Forming). This term referred us to see “the specific process such as coining; three-roll forming.” McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (fifth edition) defined cold forming as “[a]ny forging operation performed cold, such as cold extrusion, cold drawing, or coining, which enables close dimensional accuracy to be achieved.” Forming is defined in the 1995 McGraw-Hill Inc. [MECH ENG] as “[a] process for shaping or molding sheets, rods, or other pieces of hot glass, ceramic ware, plastic, or metal by the application of pressure.” In other words, cold-forming would be a plastic deformation of metal under pressure at a temperature lower than the recrystallization temperature.

Peeling is described in the 8th edition of the Metals Handbook (vol 1, Properties and Selections of Metals) as “the detaching of one layer of a coating from another or from the basis metal, because of poor adherence.” The peeling operation you have described does not form the metal, but finishes the bar product, as was described within the ENs of 74.07, by shaving metal from the product, whereby creating “a finish of higher precision.” Accordingly, we find that the peeling operation, designed to clean the metal and create a closer tolerance of the product is a cold-finishing operation, and not a cold-forming operation.

The applicable subheading for the nickel base alloy bars will be 7505.12.3000, HTS, which provides for nickel bars, rods, profiles and wire: bars, rods and profiles: of nickel alloys: bars and rods: not cold-formed. The duty rate will be 2.5% 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 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 Kathy Campanelli at 212-637-7025.


Robert B. Swierupski

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