CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963283 JAS
Port Director of Customs
Second & Chestnut Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
RE: Protest 1101-99-100220; Platens
Dear Port Director:
This is our decision on Protest 1101-99-100220, filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of platens. The entries under protest were liquidated on May 28, 1999, and this protest timely filed on August 25, 1999.
The articles at issue are called platens. They are flat cast plates of grey nonmalleable iron, ranging in size from 3ft. x 3ft. to 5ft. x 8ft. apiece. After casting, the top surface and side ledges are machined to a 100-125 micro-inch finish and within .005 inch degree of flatness. The surfaces are then painted with blue lacquer to retard rust. Each platen has 1 ¾ in. square holes spaced 3 ½ in. center to center. The holes are used for clamping, dogging or spacing. Platens are used in factories, machine shops and similar industrial settings to secure work pieces during processing.
The platens were entered under a provision of heading 7325, HTSUS, as cast articles of iron or steel. Your office cites an administrative ruling in support of the contention that the painting and machining advances the platens beyond the status of cast articles to other articles of iron or steel, provided for in heading 7326, HTSUS. On protest, a Customs broker for the importer supports the entered classification on the basis that painting does not substantially transform the platens and that painting and machining do not change the use of the platens. They remain articles cast from iron.
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The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
7325 Other cast articles of iron or steel:
7325.10.00 Of nonmalleable cast iron
* * * *
7326 Other articles of iron or steel:
Whether painting the platens and machining their surface advances them beyond the status of cast articles.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
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.
Initially, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes on p. 1127 exclude from heading 73.26 cast articles of iron or steel of heading 73.25. Customs longstanding position on the issue of advancements to castings is that the casting process is considered complete when, after the casting solidifies and cools, surface imperfections are removed by blast cleaning, chipping, burning or combinations of these processes. Certain independent and additional processes not merely incidental to the general foundry work are considered to advance an article beyond casting. Hot dipped galvanizing a cast article to inhibit rust has been held to be not incidental to general foundry work and to sufficiently advance an article beyond casting. See HQ 959315, dated October 1, 1996, aff’d. by HQ 960440, dated June 26, 1997. It is logical to conclude that lacquer coating for substantially the same purpose also advances the platens beyond casting. In addition, there is no evidence that machining the platens’ top surface and side ledges to a 100-125 micro-inch finish and within .005 inch degree of flatness are merely incidental to the casting process. The platens, processed as indicated, have been advanced beyond castings and are articles of iron or steel.
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Under the authority of GRI 1, the platens are provided for in heading 7326. They are classifiable in subheading 7326.90.85, HTSUS.
The protest should be DENIED. 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.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division