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NY E86067

September 24, 1999

CLA-2-73:RR:NC:1:117 E86067


TARIFF NO.: 7326.19.0000

Mr. Lewis E. Leibowitz
Hogan & Hartson
Columbia Square
555 Thirteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004-1109

RE: The tariff classification of stainless steel circles from Mexico.

Dear Mr. Leibowitz:

In your letter dated August 23, 1999 on behalf of Mexinox U.S.A., Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling. Representative samples and descriptive literature were submitted with your request.

The products to be imported are stainless steel circles that have been stamped or cut from cold-rolled stainless steel coils or sheets having either “2D” or “2B” surface finishes. These are cold-rolled finishes. The circles will be made of various grades of stainless steel, including AISI Types 301, 304, 304L and 430. These flat circles have diameters ranging from 240 mm (9.45 inches) to 750 mm (29.53 inches) and thicknesses ranging from 0.4 mm (0.016 inch) to 1.60 mm (0.063 inch). Mexinox S.A. de C.V., Mexico, uses either of two processes to produce the circles from cold-rolled stainless steel coils. In one process stainless steel coil is fed into a “Fagor Press” and multiple circles are stamped out of the coil. In the other process the coil is first cut into square sheets of appropriate size and individual circles are then cut from the sheets using a “Bombled Circular Cutter”.

You express the opinion that these stainless steel circles should be classified under HTS subheading 7219.90.00, which provides for flat-rolled products of stainless steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, other. You cite several administrative rulings that support your position that steel circles are classified under the appropriate subheadings for flat-rolled products of iron or steel, of a width of 600 mm or more. However, you also note that there is an administrative ruling in which it was held that steel circles are classified under HTS subheading 7326.19.00, which provides for other articles of iron or steel, forged or stamped, but not further worked.

The rulings you cite in support of your position were all issued prior to Motor Wheel Corp. v. United States, Slip Op. 95-49, March 20, 1995. This case concerned the proper classification of steel circles that were stamped from flat-rolled steel coils. The court found that the steel circles are not commonly or commercially known as flat-rolled products, but rather as stampings made from flat-rolled steel. “Stampings”, “blanks” or “stamped articles”, used interchangeably, result from a stamping or blanking process. A blank is defined as “a shape cut from flat or preformed stock.”. Blanking is defined as “the cutting of the complete outline of a workpiece in a single press stroke” and the “cutting of plastic or metal sheets into shapes by striking with a punch.” The process of stamping is defined as “to cut out, bend, or form by a blow or sudden pressure with a stamp or die.” According to testimony presented, stampings are considered to be advanced steel products. Chapter 72, Note 1. (k) which defines flat-rolled products allows classification of flat-rolled products of a shape other than rectangular or square under Chapter 72 headings/subheadings provided that such products do not assume the character of articles or products of other headings (and subheadings indented thereunder). Since the Motor Wheel circles were stamped, but not further worked, they assumed the character of the articles described in subheading 7326.19.00 and were held to be classifiable under this subheading.

The subject stainless steel circles that result from the “Fagor Press” process of manufacture meet the definition of stampings. The applicable subheading for these stainless steel stamped circles will be 7236.19.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of iron or steel, forged or stamped, but not further worked, other. The general rate of duty will be 2.9 percent ad valorem.

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

The classification of the stainless steel circles that result from the “Bombled Circular Cutter” process of manufacture is being referred to the Office of Regulations and Rulings, Headquarters, U.S. Customs Service.

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 Paula Ilardi at 212-637-7016.


Robert B. Swierupski

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