HQ 088174

FEB 27 1991

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 088174 JAS

Laurie E. Mc Clennan
John S. James Co.
Custom House Broker
4777 Aviation Pkwy., suite A
Atlanta, Georgia 30349

RE: End Mill Cutter, Milling Tool; Drilling Tool Suitable for Cutting Metal; Tool for Machine-Tool

Dear Ms. Mc Clennan:

In your letter of November 2, 1990, on behalf of Greenfield Industries, Augusta, Ga., you inquire as to the tariff classification of an end mill cutter from Spain. A sample was submitted. Our ruling follows.


The tool in question is described variously as an end mill, end mill cutter or roughing end mill. It is a rotary cutting tool used with metal-working machine tools. These tools are both of molybdenum and cobalt-bearing high speed steel. Both types contain 4 percent by weight of chromium.

The submitted sample measures 3 3/4 inches long and 5/8 inch in diameter. It is a square-ended tool whose end teeth appear to cut to the center for axial or plunge cutting. The tool has four (4) flutes or rows of serrated cutting teeth in a helical or spiral left-hand cut configuration around the top half of its circumference.

Although you believe the article is in fact a milling tool, Customs officers in Atlanta have indicated to you that they would regard it as a twist drill for tariff purposes.


Whether the tool in issue is a drilling tool or a milling tool.

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Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) 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.

Heading 8207 provides for other interchangeable drilling and milling tools, among others for handtools or for machine-tools. Subheading 8207.50 covers tools for drilling while subheading 8207.70 covers tools for milling. Both subheadings are at the same level.

Tariff terms are normally construed in accordance with their common and commercial meanings, which are presumed to be the same. When circumstances require, the meaning of a term in the specialized industry in which it is used is meaningful in determining common meaning.

Drills are instruments with an edged or pointed end used for making holes in hard substances; specifically, a tool that cuts with its end by revolving. In the industry twist drills are rotary end-cutting tools having one or more helical or straight flutes that serve as cutting lips and also provide for the passage of chips and the admission of a cutting fluid. These tools are not precision cutting instruments; rather, they are designed to produce holes rapidly and economically. When precision is required, subsequent operations such as boring, reaming or milling are required. The term mill means to shape or finish by means of a mill or machine while a milling cutter is a rotary steel cutter used in a milling machine for shaping and dressing metal surfaces. These usually have cutting edges which intermittently engage the workpiece and remove material by relative movement of the workpiece and cutter. End mills are the most common type of milling cutter and are commonly used in facing, slotting, profiling, plunge cutting and diesinking, and cavity applications. The design of these tools also permits them to be plunged directly into the metal without a prior drilling operation.

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The tool in issue here can mill but can also plunge cut which is a drilling function. In the context of subheadings 8207.50 and 8207.70, "for" is a function word indicating suitability or fitness. In such cases, Customs examines the overall design features of an article to determine if it is primarily suitable for one function or the other. The evidence of record, including the submitted sample, leads us to conclude that the tool in issue here does not function primarily to make holes by end cutting. Plunge cutting is a common feature of end mills. The serrated flutes suggest the tool functions primarily to shape or dress a hole by removing material.


The tool in issue here is not for drilling. This eliminates subheading 8207.50 from consideration. The tool is classifiable under the provision for tools for milling with cutting part containing by weight over 0.2 percent of chromium, end mill cutters, in subheading 8207.70.3030, HTSUSA. The rate of duty is 7.2 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division