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HQ 965400

JULY 23, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 965400 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 7212.40.10

Port Director of Customs
One East Bay Street
Savannah, GA 31401

RE: Protest 1703-01-100189; Double Black Coated Steel Sheet in Coils

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1703-01-100189, filed by Nissho Iwai American Corporation, against your classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of double black coated steel sheet, in coils. The entry was liquidated on August 31, 2001, and this protest timely filed on October 17, 2001.


The merchandise was described on the original entry summary, dated June 13, 2000, as “001 steel, 600>, not zinc coat/plate 7210.70.6090.” A Notice of Action, Customs Form 29, dated July 12, 2000, advised the importer that absent documentation of an exclusion, the merchandise was subject to Antidumping Duty Order A-588-826. A subsequent Notice of Action, Customs Form 29, dated October 13, 2000, stated that a mill certification (mill cert) or sheet, dated September 12, 2000, did not provide evidence of chemical composition sufficient to remove the steel coil from the dumping order. On the belief that the product was coated, the concerned import specialist liquidated the entry on August 31, 2001, under subheading 7212.50.00, HTSUS, as a flat-rolled product of iron or nonalloy steel, otherwise plated or coated.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

7211 Flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of less than 600 mm, not clad, plated or coated:

Not further worked than cold-rolled (cold reduced):

Of a width of less than 300 mm:

Of a thickness not exceeding 0.25 mm

7212 Flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of less than 600 mm, clad, plated or coated:

7212.40 Painted, varnished or coated with plastics:

Of a width of less than 300 mm

7212.40.50 Other

The protestant maintains that in the absence of mill certs showing dimensions of the product in millimeters, entry was made on the mistaken belief that the dimensions were in inches. A corrected entry summary was submitted showing a width dimension of less than 300 mm and a thickness dimension of less than 0.25 mm. Hence, the steel coil is claimed to be classifiable in subheading 7211.23.45, HTSUS, as a flat-rolled, cold-rolled product of iron or nonalloy steel, not clad, plated or coated, of a width of less than 300 mm, not exceeding 0.25 mm in thickness.


Whether the steel coil is considered “painted, varnished or coated with plastics” for purposes of heading 7212.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Commercial invoices and mill certs establish that the product is flat-rolled nonalloy steel, in coils, measuring 0.23 mm in thickness and 98 mm in width. Representative mill certs indicate the base metal is cold-rolled steel and that it is black on top and on the reverse. Invoices describe the product as “double black coated steel sheet in coil.” The protestant has confirmed that the product is painted on both sides.

Relevant ENs for heading 7212 incorporate the heading 7210 ENs, which state, in part, that the expression “clad, plated or coated” applies to the products subjected to one of the surface treatments listed in the General Explanatory Note to Chapter 72. Part (C)(2) of that note lists various surface treatments or other operations designed to improve the properties or appearance of the metal, protect it against rusting and corrosion, etc., without affecting the heading in which the product is classified. Surface finishing treatments under subparagraph (d)(v) of Part (C)(2) include coating with non-metallic substances, e.g., enamelling, varnishing, lacquering, painting, surface printing, coating with ceramics or plastics, including special processes such as glow discharge, electrophoresis, electrostatic projection and immersion in an electrostatic fluidised bath followed by radiation firing, etc. These ENs describe varnishing and painting as types of coating, as well as coating with plastics. Thus, nonalloyed steel coils which have been painted are within the subheading 7212.40 description “Painted, varnished or coated with plastics.” See DD 897178, dated May 17, 1994, and HQ 957492, dated June 6, 1995.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the double black coated steel sheet in coils is provided for in heading 7212. It is classifiable in subheading 7212.40.10, HTSUS.

The protest should be DENIED, except to the extent that reclassification of the merchandise under subheading 7212.40.10 results in a partial allowance. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the

Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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