CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950313 LTO
District Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 20876
Charleston, South Carolina 29413-0876
RE: Protest #1601-0-000270; nickel silver circular discs;
7403.23.00; 7419; EN 74.09; EN 74.19; Chapter 74, Note 1(g);
Chapter 74, Subheading Note 1(c); Section XV, additional
U.S. Note 2; GRI 2(a); Avins Industrial Products Co. v.
United States; HQ 086844; Detroit Zoological Society v.
U.S.; Tropicana Products, Inc. v. U.S.; 19 U.S.C. 1501,
1504(a)(b); 19 CFR 159.9 through 159.12
This is our response regarding Protest No. 1601-0-000270,
dated September 27, 1990, which pertains to the classification of
nickel silver circular discs under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule
of the United States (HTSUS) and the liquidation of entry, number
XX XXXXXXXX, which the protestant claims was not liquidated or
extended in a timely manner.
The articles in question are flat, circular discs which have
been stamped (or blanked) from rolled sheets of copper-nickel-
zinc base alloys. The imported discs consist of 65% copper, 18%
nickel and 17% zinc. After importation, they will be processed
into casino gaming tokens by rimming, burnishing and striking
with dies specific to their end user.
The discs were classified under subheading 7409.40.00,
HTSUS, which provides for "[c]opper plates, sheets and strip, of
a thickness exceeding 0.15 mm . . . [o]f copper-nickel base
alloys (cupro-nickel) or copper-nickel-zinc base alloys (nickel
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silver)." The protestant contends that the discs are
classifiable under subheading 7403.23.00, HTSUS, which provides
for "[r]efined copper and copper alloys, unwrought (other than
master alloys of heading 7405) . . . [c]opper alloys . . . ," or,
in the alternative, under subheading 7419.91.00, HTSUS, which
provides for "[o]ther articles of copper . . . [o]ther." The
protestant further contends that the entry was illegally
liquidated, and was not timely extended.
1. What is the proper classification for the nickel silver
circular discs under the HTSUS?
2. Was the initial liquidation properly and timely liquidated
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS
govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1
states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification
shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and
any relative section or chapter notes . . . ." Heading 7409,
HTSUS, provides for "[c]opper plates, sheets and strip, of a
thickness exceeding 0.15 mm." The Harmonized Commodity
Description and Coding System Explanatory Note (EN) 74.09, pg.
1047, states that this heading covers the products defined in
Chapter 74, note 1(g) when of a thickness exceeding 0.15 mm.
Chapter 74, note 1(g) defines plates, sheets and strip as
"[f]lat-surfaced products (other than the unwrought products of
heading 7403), coiled or not, of solid rectangular (other than
square) cross section with or without rounded corners . . . of a
uniform thickness, which are . . . of a shape other than
rectangular or square, of any size, provided that they do not
assume the character of articles or products of other headings."
The articles in question fall within this definition. As
imported, the articles are flat, circular discs which have been
stamped (or blanked) from rolled sheets of copper-nickel-zinc
Subheading 7409.40.00, HTSUS, provides for plates, sheets
and strip "[o]f copper-nickel base alloys (cupro-nickel) or
copper-nickel-zinc base alloys (nickel silver)." The imported
discs consist of 65% copper, 18% nickel and 17% zinc. Chapter
74, subheading note 1(c) defines nickel silver as an "[a]lloy
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of copper, nickel and zinc, with or without other elements. The
nickel content is 5 percent or more by weight." Thus, the
articles in question are classifiable under subheading
The protestant contends that the discs are classifiable
under subheading 7403.23.00, HTSUS, which provides for "[r]efined
copper and copper alloys, unwrought . . . [c]opper alloys . . .
copper-nickel-zinc base alloys (nickel-silver)." Section XV,
additional U.S. note 2 states that the term unwrought "does not
cover rolled, forged, drawn or extruded products." Because the
imported article's manufacturing process involves melting,
casting into coils, milling, rolling to finished gauge strip,
annealing and blanking into coin blanks, the discs are not
"unwrought" and cannot be classified under this subheading.
The protestant also claims, in the alternative, that the
discs are classifiable under Heading 7419, HTSUS, which provides
for "[o]ther articles of copper." However, EN 74.19, pg. 1052,
states that this heading covers all articles of copper other than
those covered by the preceding headings of this Chapter . . .
[emphasis in original]." As shown above, the discs are
classifiable under subheading 7409.40.00, HTSUS, and are, thus,
excluded from Heading 7419, HTSUS.
Classification of the nickel silver circular discs according
to GRI 2(a) was also considered. GRI 2(a) states that "[a]ny
reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a
reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided
that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the
essential character of the complete or finished article." The
Explanatory Notes to GRI 2(a), pg. 2, state that this rule
applies to blanks, which it defines as "article[s], not ready for
direct use, having the approximate shape or outline of the
finished article or part, and which can only be used, other than
in exceptional cases, for completion into the finished article or
part." However, the nickel silver circular discs are not
"blanks" according to this definition and do not have the
essential character of the complete or finished article, because
they could, conceivably, be used for completion into articles
other than a coin or gaming token. See Avins Industrial Products
Co. v. United States, 72 Cust. Ct. 43, C.D. 4503, rehearing
denied 72 Cust. Ct. 147, C.D. 4522, aff'd C.A.D. 1150 (1975)
(wherein the court stated, with respect to type 302 stainless
steel wire, "the fact that the instant merchandise has been cut
to length and is in certain dimensions making it particularly
adaptable for use in making radio antennas does not
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take it out of the category of wire and into that of an
unfinished part."); HQ 086844, dated April 17, 1990.
With regard to the liquidation issue raised in this protest,
we note that the date of the entry under consideration was April
6, 1989. According to Customs records, liquidation of the entry
was extended on March 6, 1990, and notice of that extension was
sent to the importer of record on March 10, 1990. The reason for
the extension was to enable the Customs officer processing the
liquidation to obtain information required for the proper
classification of the merchandise involved (in this regard, see
Detroit Zoological Society v. United States, 10 CIT 133, 138, 630
F. Supp. 1350, 1357 (1986), noting that the Court should
ordinarily defer to Customs determination that it needs
additional information to liquidate an entry).
Also according to Customs records, on May 2, 1989,
information was requested from the importer with regard to the
entry. The information was sent to Customs by the Customs
officer handling the liquidation on July 6, 1989, and received by
that Customs officer on March 16, 1990. A notice of rate advance
(Customs Form 29) was sent to the importer on May 15, 1990. The
entry was liquidated, as entered, on May 18, 1990, and it was
reliquidated on June 29, 1990.
Pursuant to section 504(b), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended
(19 U.S.C. 1504(b)), Customs may extend the one-year period (see
19 U.S.C. 1504(a)) in which to liquidate an entry by giving
proper notice of the extension if: "information needed for the
proper appraisement or classification of the merchandise is not
available to the appropriate customs officer." Pursuant to
paragraph (d) of section 504, liquidation may be extended up to
until four years after entry (see 19 CFR 159.9 through 159.12,
for the Customs Regulations on this matter). Pursuant to section
501, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1501), a
liquidation may be reliquidated "in any respect by the
appropriate customs officer on his own initiative . . . within
ninety days from the date on which notice of the original
liquidation is given to the importer, his consignee or agent
In view of the "presumption of regularity" that public
officials have discharged their duties in accordance with the
applicable laws and regulations (see Tropicana Products, Inc. v.
United States, 713 F. Supp. 413, 418 (CIT 1989); aff'd, 909 F. 2d
504 (Fed. Cir. 1990)), and in view of the fact that Customs - 5 -
records show that liquidation of the entry in question was
properly extended, that notice of the extension was properly
given (see 19 CFR 159.12(b)), and that the initial liquidation
was properly and timely reliquidated, this portion of the protest
The nickel silver circular discs are classifiable within
subheading 7409.40.00, HTSUS, which provides for "[c]opper
plates, sheets and strip, of a thickness exceeding 0.15 mm . . .
[o]f copper-nickel base alloys (cupro-nickel) or copper-nickel-
zinc base alloys (nickel silver)." This portion of the protest
should be DENIED.
Because the initial liquidation was properly and timely
reliquidated, this portion of the protest should be DENIED.
A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs
Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of
action on the protest.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division