CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 085914 SER
George R. Tuttle, Esquire
Three Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111
Dear Mr. Tuttle:
This is in reference to your letter of September 20, 1989,
requesting the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of photoresists
The products at issue are photoresists which consist of
photosensitive plastics dissolved in an organic solvent. These
resists are used in the manufacture of semiconductors. The
prospective imports will be as follows:
1. OMR-83 Negative Photoresist, consisting of rubber and
sensitizer dissolved in xylene (solvent).
2. OFPR-800 and TSMR-8800 Positive Photoresists, consisting
of resin and sensitizer dissolved in solvent.
Are the products at issue classifiable in subheading
3707.10, HTSUSA, which provides for emulsions or subheading
3707.90.30, HTSUSA, which provides for chemical preparations.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the
General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. The
Harmonized System is a complete product classification system,
and the goal of the Harmonized System is to place all goods that
are imported into the specific classifications. In this context
the word "goods" is used in its broadest sense to include all
merchandise. The systematic detail is such that virtually all
goods are classifiable by application of GRI 1, that is,
according to the terms of the Headings and any relative Section
or Chapter Notes.
Chapter 37, HTSUSA, provides for photographic or
cinematographic goods. Note 2 to this chapter states that in
this chapter the word "photographic" relates to a process which
permits the formation of visible images directly or indirectly by
the action of light or other forms of radiation on sensitive
surfaces. The merchandise at issue clearly is within the
coverage of this chapter. The primary consideration is which
subheading most accurately describes the merchandise.
The inquirer states that the proper classification for the
products at issue is within subheading 3707.10.00, HTSUSA, which
provides for chemical preparations for photographic uses:
sensitized emulsions. It is Customs position that photographic
emulsions and the photoresistive plastic solutions at issue are
clearly different products, and that the proper classification of
the merchandise at issue is subheading 3707.90.30, HTSUSA, which
provides for chemical preparations for photographic uses: other.
Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 11th Edition,
defines solutions as uniformly dispersed mixtures at the
molecular level, of one or more substance (the solute) in one or
more other substances (the solvent). The proportion of
substances (solute) in a solution depends on their limits of
solution. The solubility of one substance in another is the
maximum amount that can be dissolved at a given temperature and
In other words, the photoresists are mixtures of three
ingredients, the plastic or rubber, the sensitizer, and the
solvent all in solution at a fixed ratio to each other. In an
emulsion, the solute is in suspension, not in solution. The
solute is usually held in suspension by the use of emulsifiers or
in the case of the silver halide emulsion, by the viscosity of
The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation
of the statute at the international level. The position of
Customs is further supported by the Explanatory Notes to Chapter
37, which clearly differentiate between products which are
comprised of emulsions and those products which are not coated
with an emulsion. The Explanatory notes state:
The photographic plates, film, paper,
paperboard and textiles of Chapter 37 are
those with one or more layers of any emulsion
sensitive to light or other forms of
radiation (e.g., infra-red, ultra-violet, X-
ray, gamma-ray or other radioactivity),
whether for reproduction in monochrome or
colour. Certain plates are, however, not
coated with an emulsion but consist wholly or
essentially of photosensitive plastics which
may be affixed to a support. (emphasis
This differentiation is further indicated by the structure of
subheading 3707, HTSUSA, which allows for two a differentiation
between products of emulsions and other such products. The
subheading is as follows:
3707 Chemical preparations for photographic uses
(other than varnishes, glues, adhesives and
similar preparations); . . .
3707.10 Sensitized emulsions . . . . . . .
3707.90 Other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3707.90.30 Chemical preparations for
photographic uses . . . .
Clearly the statute provides for both -- products which
contain a layer of emulsions and those which do not. The subject
photoresists are photosensitive plastics dissolved in an organic
solvent, similar to the type of material that the Explanatory
Notes specifically says is not an emulsion.
The photoresists at issue from Japan are properly classified
in subheading 3707.90.30, HTSUSA, which provides for chemical
preparations for photographic uses; other chemical preparations.
The rate of duty is 8.5 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division