Mr. Robert F. Seely
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP
399 Park Avenue, 25th Floor
New York, NY 10022-4877
RE: The tariff classification of gas meter swivels from China, Taiwan and Korea.
Dear Mr. Seely:
In your letter dated February 2, 2004 on behalf of IICFT, LLC (“IICFT”) affiliated with Richards Manufacturing Company, you requested a tariff classification ruling. Representative samples of the products under consideration and drawings and diagrams illustrating how these products function were submitted with your request.
The products to be imported are gas meter swivels. These swivels are made of malleable cast iron and may be black (uncoated) or galvanized. The swivels are manufactured in three basic shapes: straight, elbow and offset (diagonal or double elbow). You state that the subject meter swivels are only used to connect a diaphragm-type gas displacement meter to a “meter bar”. “The meter bar is a piece of cast iron having a unique shape that is used only to connect the gas meter both to the public utility gas line and to the gas pipe leading from the meter assembly to fixtures in the building in which it is installed. “
You believe the cast iron meter swivels are classifiable in HTS heading 9028 as parts or accessories of gas meters. You state that neither meter bars nor meter swivels are recognized in the industry as pipe fittings. You state that gas meter swivels appear in ANSI/ASC B109.1-2000 rather than in ANSI’s generic American National Standard ANSI/ASME B16.3-1998 for “Malleable Iron Threaded Fittings--Classes 150 and 300”. All fittings of “general use” are included in B16.3-1998. You state that because the meter bar is not a pipe or tube, the meter swivel does not satisfy the definition of pipe fitting as set forth in the Explanatory Notes. “The meter swivel does not connect the bores of two pipes or tubes, or the bore of a pipe/tube to an apparatus.” Therefore, the meter swivel is not a pipe fitting of heading 7307.
According to an iron and steel pipe fitting industry source, gas meter swivels are considered to be pipe fittings by this industry. The swivel fitting has an NPT (National Pipe Thread) end. This threaded male end goes into a pipe elbow that connects to the gas piping while the other end goes into the meter. The meter bars are designed so they can be used with a bracket and be screwed into the building. The meter bar consists of two fittings (piping components) on both ends and a “bar” in the center to which a bracket can be attached. The meter bar is designed in this manner to ensure a more secure connection to the building. One end of the malleable cast iron gas meter swivel connects to the meter (“other apparatus”) and the other end connects to the gas piping (tube) as described in the ENs to heading 7307.
Section XV Note 2. states that throughout the tariff schedule, the expression “parts of general use” means: (a) “Articles of heading 7307…and similar articles of other base metals”. Chapter 90 Note 1. states that this chapter does not cover:
(f) “Parts of general use, as defined in note 2 to section XV, of base metal (section XV)….”
The applicable subheading for the malleable cast iron gas meter swivels will be 7307.19.9060, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for tube or pipe fittings (for example, couplings, elbows, sleeves), of iron or steel, cast fittings, other, other, other, other, threaded. The rate of duty will be 6.2 percent ad valorem.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Paula Ilardi at 646-733-3020 (7307) or National Import Specialist James Sheridan at 646-733-3012.
Robert B. Swierupski