CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955947 DWS
U.S. Customs Service
111 W. Huron Street, Room 603
Buffalo, NY 14202-2378
RE: Protest 0901-93-101118; Stainless Steel Woven Wire Cloth
Mesh; Diffuser Screen Component for Air Bag Systems;
Material Lengths; HQs 955346, 952938, and 084610; APTA;
19 CFR 10.84; General Note 5(a); 8708.99.50
Dear District Director:
The following is our decision regarding Protest 0901-93-
101118 concerning your action in classifying and assessing duty
on stainless steel woven wire cloth mesh under the Harmonized
Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).
The merchandise consists of stainless steel woven wire cloth
mesh, imported from Canada, for use as a diffuser screen
component in air bags for the U.S. manufacture of automobiles.
In Canada, the mesh wire is drawn from a steel rod to correct
diameter size, woven into cloth, and sliced into ribbons
constituting the diffuser screens. These ribbons must correspond
to precise specifications provided by the automotive manufacturer
in the U.S., as to the weave density and width of the mesh.
The weave density determines the mesh's ability to diffuse
the gases that explode within the air bag upon engagement of the
air bag system. Pursuant to federal motor vehicle safety
standards and the automotive manufacturer's specifications to
prevent injury to the vehicle's occupant, each air bag system
requires a specific weave density for the gases of the accelerant
used in the air bag system to diffuse in such a manner and at
such a speed that the air bag effectively expands within the time
Each different model air bag system within the complete
range of motor vehicles requiring federally mandated driver side
air bag systems also must have a precise width of mesh. The
width of the mesh determines the area of diffusion covered by the
mesh when used as a diffuser screen in the air bag system. The
weave density and width of the mesh are mathematically and
scientifically calculated and tested by the air bag system
manufacturer to comply with federal and automotive industry
standards for air bag systems.
In Canada, the mesh, in sizes 18 and 30 mesh, is slit to the
exact specifications provided by the ultimate U.S. purchasers for
use as original equipment in the manufacture in the U.S. of a
motor vehicle. Once slit to size, the mesh has no practical or
potential use other than as a specific size diffuser screen for a
specific air bag system. The mesh is then wound in coils of
approximately 300 to 500 feet in length, with each roll being
sealed and wrapped to prevent any contamination, and imported
into the U.S.
After importation into the U.S., the mesh undergoes the
process of being cut to exact length, and its cut ends seam
welded for installation into an air bag system.
The stainless steel woven wire cloth mesh was entered under
subheading 8708.99.50, HTSUS, as parts of motor vehicles,
requesting duty-free treatment under the Automotive Products
Trade Act (APTA). The entry was liquidated on March 12, 1993,
under subheading 7314.11.20, HTSUS, as steel woven wire cloth.
Because it was the determination of your office that the
protestant satisfied the requirements under the U.S.-Canada Free-
Trade Agreement (CFTA), the entry was liquidated at the reduced
duty rate of 2.4 percent ad valorem. The protest was timely
filed on June 4, 1993.
Whether the stainless steel woven wire cloth mesh, imported
into the U.S. in material lengths, is classifiable under
subheading 8708.99.50, as parts of motor vehicles, or under
subheading 7314.11.20, HTSUS, as steel woven wire cloth.
Whether the stainless steel woven wire cloth mesh is
eligible for duty-free treatment under the APTA.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
CLASSIFICATION OF MERCHANDISE
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.
The protestant has established that the subject merchandise
is designed and manufactured solely for assembly into air bag
systems for inclusion in motor vehicles. Accordingly, as it is a
part of motor vehicles, it should be classifiable under
subheading 8708.99.50, HTSUS. The issue to be resolved is
whether the merchandise, even though its ultimate use is as parts
of motor vehicles, can be classifiable as such when imported in
In HQ 955346, dated February 9, 1994, which concerned the
classification of coils of stainless steel curved wire designed
for the manufacture of piston rings for automobile engines, we
[u]nder a longstanding Customs principle, goods which are
material when entered are not classifiable as a particular
article unfinished. See Sandvik Steel, Inc. v. U.S.,
321 F.Supp. 1031, 66 Cust. Ct. 12, C.D. 4161 (1971) (shoe
die knife steel in coils and cutting rules in lengths,
without demarcations for cutting or bending, held to be
material rather than unfinished knives or cutting blades);
The Harding Co. v. U.S., 23 Cust. Ct. 250 (1936) (rolls of
brake lining held to be material because the identity of
the brake lining was not fixed with certainty); Naftone,
Inc. v. U.S., 67 Cust. Ct. 340, C.D. 4294 (1971) (rolls of
plastic film without demarcations for cutting despite
having only one use held to be insulating material).
See also HQ 952938, dated August 4, 1993, and HQ 084610,
dated May 17, 1990.
Although the use of the merchandise is not questioned,
because it is imported in material lengths, it is our position
that it cannot be classifiable under subheading 8708.99.50, as
unfinished parts of motor vehicles.
However, because subheading 7314.11.20, HTSUS, provides for
stainless steel woven wire cloth with mesh, in sizes from 12 to
36 mesh, we find that the merchandise, in sizes 18 and 30 mesh,
is specifically described, and is so classifiable, under that
In part, section 10.84, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.84),
10.84 Automotive vehicles and articles for use as original
equipment in the manufacture of automotive vehicles.
(a)(1) Certain motor vehicles and motor vehicle
equipment are eligible for duty-free entry as
proclaimed by the President under the
Automotive Products Trade Act of 1965. The
articles designated for such duty-free
treatment are defined in General Note
3(c)(ii), HTSUS (19 U.S.C. 1202).
Specifically, such articles are those
designated [as "Free (B)"] in the "Special"
subcolumn in Chapter 87, HTSUS, and must
qualify as "Canadian articles" as defined in
General Note 3(c)(iii)(A)(1). To claim
exemption from duty under the Automotive
Products Act of 1965, an importer must
establish, to the satisfaction of the
appropriate Customs officer, that the article
in question qualifies as a "Canadian article"
for purposes of General Note 3(c)(iii)(A)(1).
The Customs officer may accept as satisfactory
evidence a certificate executed by the importer
as set forth in paragraph (b) of the section,
subject to any verification he may deem
necessary. Alternatively, the Customs officer
may determine that under the circumstances of
the importation a certificate is
unnecessary. . .
(b)(6) A certificate conforming to paragraph (b)(1),
(2), or (3) of this section shall be accepted
as evidence of the facts alleged therein only
(i) There is annexed thereto a copy of the
commercial invoice or bill of lading
covering the articles or other documentary
evidence which identifies the article to
which the certificate pertains,
(ii) The certificate is signed by the
manufacturer or producer of the article to
which it pertains, or by the person who
exported the articles from Canada, and
(iii) It clearly appears that such copy or other
documentary evidence was annexed to the
certificate when it was signed. . .
(d) When an importer makes an entry, or withdrawal
from warehouse, for consumption of articles for
use as "original motor-vehicle equipment" as
that term is defined in General Note 3(c)(iii),
HTSUS, he shall file in connection therewith his
declaration that the articles are being imported
for use as original equipment in the manufacture
in the United States of the kinds of motor
vehicles specified in the General Note and furnish
the name and address of the motor vehicle
manufacturer. A copy of the written order,
contract, or letter of intent shall be attached
to the importer's declaration except that if the
district director of Customs is satisfied that a
copy of the written order, contract, or letter of
intent will be made available by the importer or
ultimate consignee for inspection by customs
officials upon request during a period of 3 years
from the date of such entry or withdrawal from
warehouse, the production of such documents will
not be required. Proof of use need not be
General note 5(a), HTSUS, states:
5. Automotive Products and Motor Vehicles Eligible for
Special Tariff Treatment. Articles entered under the
Automotive Products Trade Act are subject to the
(a) Motor vehicles and original motor-vehicle equipment
which are Canadian articles and which fall in
provisions for which the rate of duty "Free (B)"
appears in the "Special" subcolumn may be entered
free of duty. As used in this note --
(i) The term "Canadian article" means an article
which originates in Canada, as defined in general
(ii) The term "original motor-vehicle equipment", as
used with reference to a Canadian article (as
defined above), means such a Canadian article
which has been obtained from a supplier in Canada
under or pursuant to a written order, contract or
letter of intent of a bona fide motor vehicle
manufacturer in the United States, and which is a
fabricated component originating in Canada, as
defined in general note 12, and intended for use
as original equipment in the manufacture in the
United States of a motor vehicle, but the term
does not include trailers or articles to be used
in their manufacture.
(iii) The term "motor vehicle", as used in this note,
means a motor vehicle of a kind described in
headings 8702, 8703 and 8704 of chapter 87
(excluding an electric trolley bus and a three-
wheeled vehicle) or an automobile truck tractor
principally designed for the transport of persons
(iv) The term "bona fide motor-vehicle manufacturer"
means a person who, upon application to the
Secretary of Commerce, is determined by the
Secretary to have produced no fewer than 15
complete motor vehicles in the United States
during the previous 12 months, and to have
installed capacity in the United States to
produce 10 or more complete motor vehicles per
40-hour week. The Secretary of Commerce shall
maintain, and publish from time to time in the
Federal Register, a list of the names and
addresses of bona fide motor-vehicle
As indicated by its legislative history, the APTA does not
require that a fabricated component be in a finished condition or
ready for assembly:
. . . although at the time of importation the component does
not have to be in a condition completely ready for assembly
without further fabrication, it must at a minimum be so far
processed as to be physically recognizable as a component
in an unfinished state. H. Rep. No. 537, 89th Cong., 1st
Sess. (1965), p. 27.
It is our position that the stainless steel woven wire cloth
mesh, in its condition as imported into the U.S., is "so far
processed as to be physically recognizable as a component in an
unfinished state." Prior to importation into the U.S., the mesh
already meets automotive industry standards for diffuser screens
in air bag systems. The mesh also complies with federal mandated
safety requirements for driver side air bag systems. It is
obvious to us that the merchandise, even though imported in
material lengths, is solely dedicated for use as a diffuser
screen component in air bags for the U.S. manufacture of
automobiles. Therefore, it is our position that the merchandise
is original motor-vehicle equipment of Canadian origin eligible
for duty-free treatment under the APTA.
However, we have been apprised by your office that you have
not received the proper documentation (certified purchase orders)
necessary for the protestant to receive benefits under the APTA.
Counsel for the protestant has assured us that such documentation
will be sent to your office as soon as possible. Therefore, in
accordance with 19 CFR 10.84, the granting of APTA benefits to
the protestant should be made conditional upon your office
receiving satisfactory evidence that the goods are so entitled.
The stainless steel woven wire cloth mesh is classifiable
under subheading 7314.11.20, HTSUS, steel woven wire cloth.
The merchandise may be eligible to receive duty-free
treatment under the APTA, provided the protestant is able to
furnish the necessary documentation.
Therefore, because reclassification of the merchandise as
indicated above will result in the same rate of duty as claimed,
you are instructed to conditionally allow the protest in full.
In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive
099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest
Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19,
should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than
60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the
entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior
to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the
decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to
make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs
Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette
Subscription Service, Lexis, Freedom of Information Act, and
other public access channels.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division