CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 950862 JAS

District Director of Customs
One Virginia Avenue
Wilmington, North Carolina 18401

RE: Minifix Bolt, Zinc Plated; Bolt and Cam Connecting System; Bolt; Screw; Stud; Base Metal Connector Used in Furniture Assembly; Headings 7318.15.20, 7318.15.50, 7318.15.80, 7318.19.00, HTSUS; PRD 1501-91-100057

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 1501-91-100057, dated November 21, 1991, filed by counsel on behalf of Hafele America Co., Ltd.


The article in issue is identified as the Minifix 15 bolt, designated article #262.06.913, from Germany. A submitted sample is a cylindrical fastener or connector 1 3/8 inches long, with a 3/8 inch-long thread at the flat end, and a barrel-shaped middle or shoulder, narrow neck, and slotted, hemispherical head at the other end.

This fastener is advertised with a cam for use in assembling furniture. It is screwed from the head into a pre-drilled hole in a furniture panel, anchoring it into the panel. The cam, also referred to as a casing or eccentric, is unthreaded and has a diameter of a dime and a depth of about 1/2 inch. It is fitted into a predrilled hole in the second panel. The second panel then fits over the hole in the first panel, leaving the head of the fastener exposed. As the two panels are placed against each other the cam fits over and engages with the neck of the fastener below the head. An Allen wrench or screwdriver rotates the cam causing it to bind around the neck of the fastener, locking the panels. - 2 - The fastener in issue was entered under the provision for other bolts of iron or steel, in subheading 7318.15.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). You determined that the fastener is designed to be inserted into a tapped or other preformed hole and tightened by torquing the head. Therefore, you liquidated the entry under protest in subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS, a provision for other screws having shanks or threads with a diameter of 6 mm or more.


Whether the threaded fastener is a bolt, screw, stud or similar article for tariff purposes.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined 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. GRI 6 states in part that for legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes and, by appropriate substitution of terms, to GRIs 1 through 5, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable.

Counsel for protestant maintains that the Minifix 15 is described in catalogs as a bolt and is marketed, bought and sold in the United States as a bolt. Moreover, the fastener is within the common meaning of the term "bolt" as defined by the courts, that is, a pin or rod designed to fasten or hold something in place, with or without a nut. As a first alternative claim, counsel contends the fastener is a stud, classifiable in subheading 7318.15.50 because it is a short rod or pin, threaded on one or both ends, sometimes with a head on one end to allow it to be fixed in place, and resulting in a protuberance to which other articles are attached by means of a nut. Counsel notes that the cam performs the locking function of a nut. As a second alternative claim, counsel contends the fastener is classifiable in the provision for other threaded fasteners, in subheading 7318.19.00, because it is an article similar to the exemplars listed in heading 7318.

Customs traditionally classifies fasteners in accordance with the majority of their design characteristics. Whenever possible, we apply industrial fastener industry standards to - 3 -

identify a fastener. However, when there is no industry standard available to cover a particular fastener, Customs relies on a more general American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specification which establishes a recommended procedure for determining the identity of an externally threaded fastener. This is the case here.

Specifically, ANSI specification B18.2.1 regards as a bolt an externally threaded fastener designed for insertion through holes in assembled parts which, because of head design or other feature, is prevented from being turned during assembly, and which can be tightened or released only by torquing a nut. A screw, on the other hand, is an externally threaded fastener which has a thread form which prohibits assembly with a nut, has a straight thread of multiple pitch length, and must be torqued by its head into a tapped or other preformed hole to perform its intended function. Studs, on the other hand, are a type of bolt, but are differentiated by their use or application. Industrial Fastener Institute (IFI) specification 136 - a recognized industry standard - defines a stud as a cylindrical rod of moderate length threaded on one or both ends or throughout its entire length. A stud may have a head on one end to permit it to be anchored in a surface while the threaded end forms a protuberance to which other articles may be suspended or attached by means of a nut or coupling.

In our opinion, the Minifix 15 is not a bolt for tariff purposes. It is not designed for insertion through holes in assembled parts. It is screwed into a preformed hole. Moreover, it is tightened or released by torquing the head not by torquing a nut. Relevant Explanatory Notes, which Customs regards as instructive in establishing the scope of HTSUS headings, indicate, at p. 1028, that nuts of heading 7318 are metal pieces designed to hold the corresponding bolts in place. The cam does not function in this manner as the fastener is held in place by virtue of being screwed into a preformed hole. Also, nuts are internally threaded articles while the cam is unthreaded.

Regarding counsel's contention that the article cannot "fasten" without the cam, and is therefore a bolt, the Assembly Engineering Master Catalog (1979) lists self-locking shoulder screws and describes them as having a cylindrical shoulder under the head to serve as a bearing or spacer and a necked portion between the thread and shoulder. They are used for a wide range of punch and die operations, and also as guides in blanking and forming presses. Shoulder screws are uniformly classified as screws for tariff purposes. It therefore appears that a fastener can be considered a screw even if it doesn't fasten anything. - 4 - Likewise, the Minifix 15 is not a stud for tariff purposes because it is tightened and released by torquing the head. This is a primary design characteristic of a screw which assists its insertion into a preformed hole. We are aware of no industry standard that describes studs which operate in this manner. Some threaded articles, such as projection weld studs and broaching studs or wheel studs on brake drums, are classifiable as studs despite having heads. The heads, in such cases, are designed to anchor the article in place and are never torqued.

Finally, the claim that the Minifix 15 is an article similar to screws, bolts, coach screws, screw hooks, rivets, and cotter pins of heading 7318, involves comparing subheadings at the same level. Subheading 7318.15 provides for other screws and bolts while subheading 7318.19.00 provides for other threaded articles. Under the authority of GRI 3(a), applied at the subheading level by GRI 6, the provision in subheading 7318.15 describes the Minifix 15 by name as a screw and is a description that more clearly identifies the article than does a provision for other threaded articles.


The Minifix 15 #262.06.913 has the primary design characteristics of a screw. It is provided for in heading 7318. Actual classification is in subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS, a provision for other screws having shanks or threads with a diameter of 6 mm or more.

The protest should be denied. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19, and mailed to the protestant, through counsel, as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division