CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950031 NLP
Mr. John A. Slagle
Wolf D. Barth Co., Inc.
7575 Holstein Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19153
RE: Lead Microgranules; lead powders; Heading 7801; Heading
7804; Note 6(b) to Section XV
Dear Mr. Slagle:
This is in response to your letter dated July 10, 1991, on
behalf of your client, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, requesting
the tariff classification of lead microgranules under the
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated
The product in question is lead microgranules imported from
Italy. The lead is transformed from a solid into a molten state
which is then poured into a vat with holes in its underside. The
molten lead flows into the holes and escapes from the vat drop by
drop. The drops fall into a water bath which solidifies them.
The granules are then screened for size. The resulting
microgranules all pass through a 1 mm sieve.
Are the lead microgranules classifiable as lead powder and
flakes in subheading 7804.20.00, HTSUSA, or as unwrought lead in
subheading 7801.99.90, HTSUSA.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the
manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA.
GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according
to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative
section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required,
according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.
The competing subheadings at issue are the following:
7801.99.90 Unwrought lead, other
7804.20.00 Lead plates, sheets, strip and foil; lead
powder and flakes, powder and flakes
Additional U.S. Note 2 to Section XV, which includes
Chapter 78, states that:
For the purposes of this section, the term "unwrought"
refers to metal, whether or not refined, in the form of
ingots, blocks, lumps, billets, cakes, slabs, pigs,
cathodes, anodes, briquettes, cubes, sticks, grains, sponge,
pellets, flattened pellets, rounds, rondelles, shot and
similar manufactured primary forms.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System
(HCDCS) Explanatory Notes for the HTS, although not dispositive,
are to be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTS.
Explanatory Note 78.04 of the HCDCS, (page 1074) states that
"this heading also covers lead powders as defined in Note 6(b) to
Section XV... and lead flakes. The provisions of the Explanatory
Note to heading 74.06 apply, mutatis mutandi, to this heading."
If the instant lead microgranules meet the description of
powders, they would be classified in heading 7804, HTSUSA.
In determining whether the microgranules are unwrought lead
or powder for HTSUSA classification purposes, we cannot just
state that they fall within the definition of unwrought lead
because their form is similar to some of the exemplars noted in
Additional U.S. Note 2 to Section XV. We must apply Legal Note
6(b) to Section XV to the instant product before we can determine
whether it is a powder or unwrought lead. Therefore, if an
article meets the description of powder, it would be considered a
powder even though its form may be similar to one of the
exemplars noted above.
Legal Note 6(b) to Section XV, HTSUSA, describes powders as
products which 90 percent or more by weight pass through a sieve
having a mesh aperture of 1 mm. Therefore, powder is defined
according to the size of its particles and not the shape of its
particles. In the instant case, more than 90 percent by weight
of the microgranules pass through a sieve having a mesh aperture
of 1 mm. Thus, the microgranules are considered a powder for
HTSUSA classification purposes and are classified in heading
The lead microgranules are classified in subheading
7804.20.00, HTSUSA, which provides for lead powders and flakes.
The rate of duty is 11.25 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division