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HQ 967543

JANUARY 11, 2006



TARIFF NO.: 7210.50.0000

Port Director
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
1000 Second Ave., Suite 2100
Seattle, WA 98104

RE: Laminated Tin-Free Steel

Dear Port Director:

Your memorandum, dated January 10, 2005 (APP6 SE:TTO JAK), forwarded a request from counsel on behalf of Mitsui Steel, Inc., and Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), (“Mitsui”) dated November 3, 2004, for internal advice concerning the classification of certain tin-free steel laminated with plastic under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).

This request under section 177.11(b), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Regulations, (19 C.F.R. 177.11(b)), resulted from a prior disclosure counsel filed with your office pursuant to section 162.74, CBP Regulations (19 C.F.R. 162.74), and incorporates a request from Counsel that several rulings on this merchandise be reconsidered and revoked. We note this internal advice request was not processed by the C.I.E. prior to being forwarded to Headquarters. Nevertheless, our response follows.


The merchandise is chromium-coated (tin-free) steel sheet laminated on one or both sides with plastic. It is non-alloy steel of a width of 600 mm or more, coated with chromium and then laminated by the use of heat and pressure with a film of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a thermoplastic resin of the polyester family. This steel is used typically in making beverage, food and other liquid containers, as well as synthetic fibers. The lamination improves the appearance of the metal and protects it against rust and corrosion.

Mitsui has imported the merchandise under provisions of heading 7210, HTSUS, as flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, painted or coated with chromium and chromium oxides, or painted, varnished or coated with plastics. This is inconsistent with CBP’s then-stated position on the classification of this merchandise as other articles of iron or steel, in heading 7326, HTSUS. (See NY 893462, dated January 31, 1994, NY J85044, dated June 26, 2003, and related cases).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

7210 Flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy, of a width of 600 mm or more, clad, plated or coated:

Plated or coated with tin:

7210.11.00 Of a thickness of 0.5 mm or more

7210.12.00 Of a thickness of less than 0.5 mm

7210.50.00 Plated or coated with chromium oxides or with chromium and chromium oxides

7210.90 Other:


Electrolytically coated or plated with base metal

7210.90.90 Other


Whether laminated tin-free steel, as described, is a good of heading 7210.


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. CBP believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Counsel maintains that the correct classification of this merchandise is as flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, plated or coated with chromium and chromium oxides, in subheading 7210.50.00, HTSUS. Counsel cites relevant ENs as authority for the proposition that flat-rolled products of Chapter 72 may be laminated and remain in that Chapter. CBP agrees with counsel’s assertion.

In HQ 967683, dated December 23, 2005, published in the Customs Bulletin on January 4, 2006, Vol. 40, No. 2, certain tin-free steel sheet laminated on one or both sides with PET film, was held to be classifiable as flat-rolled products of iron or nonalloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, in subheading 7210.50.00, HTSUS. This ruling revoked NY J85044, dated June 26, 2003, which had classified the product as other articles of iron or steel, in subheading 7326.90.85, HTSUS.

HQ 967683 stated, in relevant part, that EN 73.26 indicates the heading covers all iron or steel articles other than those included in the preceding headings of Chapter 73, or covered by Note 1 to Section XV or included in Chapters 82 or 83 or more specifically covered elsewhere in the Nomenclature. In addition, General Explanatory Note (IV)(C) to Chapter 72 indicates that the finished products of that chapter may be subjected to further finishing treatments or converted into other articles. Included are surface treatments or other operations to improve the properties or appearance of the metal, protect it against rusting and corrosion, etc. Except as otherwise provided in the text of certain headings, such treatments do not affect the heading in which the goods are classified. Among these treatments or operations, at General Explanatory Note (IV)(C)(2)(g), is lamination.

HQ 967683 concluded that applying layers of PET to both sides of a tin-free steel substrate utilizing heat and pressure constituted a lamination. The subject merchandise was found to be provided for as a flat-rolled product of nonalloy steel, in heading 7210, HTSUS. By its terms, heading 7326 was eliminated from consideration. See also HQ 967681, HQ 967682, HQ 967684 and HQ 967984, all dated December 23, 2005, which contain similar analyses and conclusions with respect to other types of flat-rolled products of iron or steel laminated on one or both sides with plastics.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the PET laminated tin-free steel sheet is provided for in heading 7210. It is classifiable in subheading 7210.50.0000, HTSUSA. The column 1 rate of duty under this provision is FREE.

You are to mail this decision to the internal advice applicant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Gail A. Hamill

Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division

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