CLA-2 OT:RR:CTF:TCM 968382 GC
Mr. Jodi Latner
Livingston International Trade Services, Inc.
258 Sonwil Drive
Buffalo, New York 14225
RE: Request for reconsideration of NY R03829; Tariff classification of five drainage products made from lacquered cast iron.
Dear Mr. Latner:
On August 22, 2006, this office received your correspondence on behalf of your client Mifab, Inc. (Mifab), dated August 2, 2006, requesting reconsideration of New York Letter Ruling (NY) R03829, dated May 19, 2006.
NY R03829 pertains to “five drainage products made of lacquered cast iron”. The five products include: a large sump roof drain (style number R1200), a floor drain for use in showers, kitchens and restrooms (style number R100-C), a trench drain (style number T1320-FL), a floor cleanout with an adjustable cover and plug (style number C1100) and a water closet carrier (style number MC-10D). The technical specifications provided by Mifab indicate that the cast iron products are coated with nitro-lacquer, polyurethane, and alkyd lacquer. In your request for reconsideration of NY R03829, you state that the cast iron products are “merely painted.”
In NY R03829, the subject merchandise was classified in heading 7326, of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as “other articles of iron or steel”. You suggest that the proper classification should be under heading 7325, HTSUS, as “other cast articles of iron or steel”.
Have the subject cast iron products been sufficiently “advanced”, by painting or lacquering, to the point where they are no longer covered by heading 7325, HTSUS?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Note (EN) to heading 8543, HTSUS, supports this conclusion. In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the ENs may be utilized. The ENs, though not dispositive or legally binding, may provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. CBP believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).
The HTSUS provisions under consideration in this case are as follows:
7325 Other cast articles of iron or steel:
* * *
7326 Other articles of iron or steel:
The applicable legal notes and section notes do not provide a definition for “cast articles”. Heading 7325, HTSUS, covers all cast articles not elsewhere specified or included in the Nomenclature. Generally, casting is characterized by molten blast furnace iron being bottom poured into a mold. After sufficient time for solidification and cooling, the castings are removed from the mold by a shakeout machine. The casting process is considered complete when surface imperfections are removed by blast cleaning, chipping, burning or combinations of these processes. See Headquarters Letter Ruling (HQ) 960783, dated May 13, 1998 (citing HQ 959315, dated October 1, 1996.
Initially, the subject drain products would appear to fall within the scope of heading 7325, HTSUS. Indeed, “drain covers and similar castings for sewage, water, etc. systems” are included in EN 73.25 as examples of iron or steel cast articles of heading 7325, HTSUS. CBP has consistently found that cast articles not advanced by processes after the completion of the casting process are classifiable in heading 7325, HTSUS, as “[o]ther cast articles of iron or steel”. See, e.g., HQ 959352, dated December 4, 1996 (finding that a grate for trench trains was classifiable in heading 7325); HQ 950043, dated October 21, 1991 (finding that a cast-iron spill protector and ventilation box is classifiable in heading 7325); and HQ 957173, dated April 24, 1995 (finding that cast-iron support legs for water closets are classifiable in heading 7325).
However, EN 73.25 also provides that the following types of articles are excluded from coverage under heading 7325, HTSUS: “[a]rticles of a kind described above obtained by processes other than casting (e.g., sintering) (heading 73.26)”. (Emphasis in original). Therefore, processes in addition to “casting” will serve to advance cast articles of 7325, HTSUS, to the point where they are no longer covered by that heading.
On May 6, 1912, it was held in Treasury Decision (T.D.) 32506, 22 Treas. Dec. 806, that cast-iron nails galvanized in zinc are no longer dutiable as “castings” because the process of galvanization advanced the cast-iron nails to the point where they were considered “manufactures of metal not specially provided for.” The primary purpose of galvanizing iron in Zinc, like coating with lacquer or painting, is to mitigate the effects of rusting. In T.D. 32506, it is noted that the outcome of the case might have been different had galvanizing the cast-iron nails been a “process incidental to the foundry work”. However, it is clear that galvanizing the subject nails was an independent and additional process which advanced the subject merchandise beyond the condition of castings.
When imported cast articles have been advanced by processes taking place after the completion of the casting process, CBP has consistently adhered to T.D. 32506. With respect to cast articles that have been galvanized with zinc, we followed T.D. 32506 in HQ 959315, dated October 1, 1996, where we held that that zinc-coated castings used as socket caps were not classifiable in heading 7325, HTSUS. Likewise, in HQ 963283, dated May 11, 2000, we held that coating cast-iron platens with lacquer advanced the platens to the extent that they were no longer classifiable as cast articles of heading 7325, HTSUS, as coating with lacquer serves the same function as coating with zinc.
Applied to the instant case, it would appear that HQ 963283 would control if the subject merchandise is, as the supplied specifications indicate, coated with lacquer after the completion of the casting process. However, in your request for consideration of NY R03829, you state that the articles “are not lacquered but [are] merely painted.” Painting, like coating with lacquer or zinc, accomplishes the purpose of inhibiting rust from developing on the subject cast-iron products. Also like zinc or lacquer coating, painting is a process entirely independent from casting. As such, even if the subject merchandise is painted as opposed to coated with lacquer, it has still been advanced beyond the condition allowed for classification in heading 7325, HTSUS. The subject merchandise, in its condition as imported, is classifiable as “[o]ther articles of iron or steel” in heading 7326, HTSUS.
By application of GRI 1 the subject cast iron articles are classified under heading 7326, HTSUS, and specifically provided for in subheading 7326.90.8587, HTSUS, which provides for: “[o]ther articles of iron or steel: [o]ther: [o]ther: [o]ther… [o]ther.” The column one, general rate of duty is 2.9 percent ad valorem. NY R03829, dated May 19, 2006, is thus AFFIRMED.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division