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HQ 964308

June 22, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964308 AML


TARIFF NO.: 6802.91.05

Ms. Pam Brown
CARGO U.K., Inc.
4790 Aviation Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30349

RE: Marble slabs for fireplace surrounds; HQ 960495 revoked

Dear Ms. Brown:

This is in reference to Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 963766, dated April 26, 2000, which concerned the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of marble fireplace surrounds (consisting of headers, footers, hearths, risers or legs) in subheading 6802.91.05, HTSUS. In light of the stipulated judgments entered before the Court of International Trade in Court Nos. 94-10-00582 and 97-11-02013, HQ 963766 revoked HQ 960495, dated December 12, 1997. Although HQ 963766 sets forth the correct classification and analysis for the classification of marble fireplace surrounds, one issue addressed in the ruling requires clarification. Although the determination made in HQ 963766 assumed that the articles being classified were marble, in order to avoid any misperception, mischaracterization or misunderstanding of the ruling, Customs deems it necessary to reiterate several rules concerning the classification of stone.

In HQ 963766, we restated the facts presented in HQ 960495 as follows:

The merchandise is described as “[m]arble fireplace kits (unassembled)” and specifications are provided. The merchandise is described as “TAIWAN GREEN” and is stated to have been quarried in Taiwan. According to material you submitted, the pieces of stone making up the kits are polished on both sides. No other information was provided. For purposes of this ruling, we assume that the fireplace kits consist of all of the pieces necessary to form a special shape suited for a particular fireplace, that the pieces are specially cut to size, and that the edges of the pieces have not been beveled, rounded or otherwise processed except to the degree needed to facilitate installation.

HQ 960495, in its analysis, set forth Customs position concerning the classification of "“green marble” and “serpentine,” as well as Customs treatment of stone for classification purposes; a position that Customs continues to maintain. Customs position is this:

[W]e note the merchandise described as “green marble” has frequently been found to be serpentine when subjected to laboratory analysis. See, e.g., rulings HQ 952679, dated January 26, 1993, 956092, dated July 29, 1994, and 956489, dated September 20, 1994, each involving merchandise invoiced and claimed to be claimed to be green marble but found, upon analysis by a Customs laboratory, to be serpentine; see also, for your information, Informed Compliance Publication on Marble, November, 1996 (Customs Bulletin of January 2, 1997, Vol. 30/31, No. 52/1, at 191). In this regard, we note that the geological definition, rather than the trade definition, is used in determining the tariff classification of stone products [emphasis added] (see e.g., rulings HQ 085266, dated September 20, 1989, 951323, dated October 2, 1992, and 955738 dated march 30, 1994). If the merchandise under consideration is of serpentine, classification is in accordance with ruling HQ 959301 dated October 7, 1997. That is, if the serpentine, or if it consists of individual worked slabs of serpentine, the proper classification is in subheading 6802.99.00, HTSUS.

The determination made in HQ 963766 remains unchanged. We simply emphasize that the classification of stone products will be determined by their geological definition and composition and that the products at issue in HQ 963766 were, for the purposes of classification, assumed to consist of geological marble.


John Durant, Director

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