CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951565 DWS
Mr. Kent Sunakoda
James J. Boyle & Co.
2525 Corporate Place #100
Monterey Park, CA 91754
RE: Cold-Rolled Stainless Flat Wire; Parts of Windshield Wipers;
EN 85.12; Avins Industrial Products Co.v U.S.; HQ 087047
Dear Mr. Sunakoda:
This is in response to your letters of March 27, 1992, and
January 31, 1992, concerning the classification of cold-rolled
stainless flat wire under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the
United States (HTSUS).
The merchandise consists of cold-rolled stainless flat wire.
The wire has not been subjected to any surface treatments. The
wire is approximately .75 mm in thickness, 2.5 mm in width, and
ranges from 400 mm to 550 mm in length. Some of the wire is
imported with holes and notches cut into it, some with just
notches, and some without holes or notches. The wire is designed
specifically so that it can be inserted into the rubber blade of
a windshield wiper. It has been noted that all three types of
wire do not undergo further processing upon importation, and are
ready for insertion into various rubber blades.
Whether the three types of wire are parts of windshield
wipers under the HTSUS?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in
accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's),
taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined
according to the terms of the headings and any relative section
or chapter notes.
Heading 8512, HTSUS, provides for: "[e]lectrical lighting or
signaling equipment, windshield wipers, defrosters and demisters,
of a kind used for cycles or motor vehicles; parts thereof."
In understanding the language of heading 8512, HTSUS, the
Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory
Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not
dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper
interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August
23, 1989). In part, Explanatory Note 85.12 (p. 1350), HTSUS,
states that "[s]ubject to the general provisions regarding the
classification of parts, parts of the goods of this heading are
also classified here."
It is our position that the wire with holes and notches, and
the wire with notches, are identifiable parts of windshield
wipers. The holes and notches are present to facilitate the
insertion of the wire into the rubber blade of a windshield
wiper. As noted, the wires do not undergo further processing
upon importation, and are ready for insertion into rubber blades.
However, we find that the wire without holes or notches,
even though it does not undergo further processing upon
importation, is not an identifiable part of a windshield wiper.
Avins Industrial Products Co. v. U.S., 72 Cust. Ct. 43
(1974) aff'd, 515 F.2d 782 (CCPA 1975), dealt with the
importation of antenna wire under the Tariff Schedules of the
United States (TSUS). The court in Avins stated that "the fact
that the instant merchandise has been cut to length and is in
certain dimensions making it particularly adaptable for use in
producing radio antennas does not take it out of the category
wire and into that of an unfinished part."
HQ 087047, dated May 14, 1990, dealt with the classification
of circular steel blanks, which, after importation, were to be
processed into torque converter covers. In that ruling, it was
held that, even though the blanks were cut and shaped to precise
diameter requirements, they did not possess the essential
character of torque converter covers. It was stated that "[t]he
fact that these steel circles may, in all instances, be used only
to make torque converter covers is not legally dispositive as to
their essential character. There is no evidence that the circles
in issue here are incapable of being made into other articles
requiring the same grade of steel."
Because the plain wire has not had holes or notches cut into
it, it is our position that the wire is subject to other uses. As
in Avins, just because the wire is cut to length and is in
certain dimensions making it particularly adaptable for use as a
part of a windshield wiper does not take it out of the category
of wire. There is no evidence that the wire is incapable of
being made into other articles requiring the same dimensions as
that of the plain wire.
Because the wire without holes or notches is susceptible to
multiple uses, it is our position that it is classifiable under
subheading 7222.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[b]ars and
rods, not further worked than cold-formed or cold-finished."
The wire with holes and notches, and the wire with notches,
is classifiable under subheading 8512.90.90, HTSUS. The general,
column one rate of duty is 3.1 percent ad valorem.
The wire without holes or notches is classifiable under
subheading 7222.20.00, HTSUS. The general, column one rate of
duty is 10.6 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division