CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950417 MBR
Mr. Jerome Schraub
MI-TU Instructional Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 346, Alden Manor Branch
Floral Park, N.Y. 11003
RE: Ferrite Substrate; Nickel Zinc Ferrite; Thin Film Magnetic
Recording Heads; Parts of Automatic Data Processing Machines;
Electrical Machines and Apparatus n.s.p.f.
Dear Mr. Schraub:
This is in reply to your letter of September 20, 1991, on
behalf of MI-TU Instructional Services, Inc., requesting
classification of ferrite substrates for thin film magnetic
recording heads, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
The ferrite substrates are imported both in disk form and
rectangular shape. They are comprised of undoped nickel zinc
ferrite. After importation, the disks and rectangles are further
manufactured into "Thin Film Heads." Thin Film Heads are small
electromagnets formed on a substrate using processes very much like
those used in semiconductor processing. These substrates are
machined (after importation) into sliders that fly at a height of
11 millionths of an inch above the disk surface.
A thin film disk head records data on the media track by
magnetic impulses of zeros and ones. The head also reads the
impulses by sensing changes in the magnetic flux of signals already
written, and translates those signals back into data.
Ferrites are ceramic materials which exhibit a high degree of
magnetic sensitivity. Ferrite material is manufactured by
combining certain metallic oxides with a binding agent under high
temperature and pressure.
Because of their high electrical resistivity and magnetic
permeability, magnetically soft ferrites are particularly well
suited for the storage, transmission, or reception of magnetic
energy. The resistivity of ferrite material also allows those
materials to be used in the conversion of electric energy into
magnetic energy and vice versa via induction. Because of these
capabilities, ferrite material is commonly used in computer
memories and electrical components.
What is the classification of ferrite substrates for thin film
magnetic recording heads, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of
the United States (HTSUS)?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS
govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1
states, in pertinent part:
...classification shall be determined according to the terms
of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...
Similar merchandise has been addressed by Customs under the
HTSUS in HQ 082097, dated March 14, 1989. In that case, the
magnetic recording heads (which were also used to read and write
data on computer disks), were found to be properly classifiable
under subheading 8473.30.40, HTSUS, which provides for: "[p]arts
and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like)
suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of
headings 8469 to 8472: [p]arts and accessories of the machines of
heading 8471: [n]ot incorporating a cathode ray tube."
However, the Legal Notes to chapter 84, HTSUSA, state:
1. This chapter does not cover:
(b) Appliances or machinery (for example, pumps)
or parts thereof, of ceramic material (chapter
In HQ 082097 it was determined that the ferrite magnetic head
had lost the character of ceramic articles. However, the magnetic
recording head in HQ 082097 also contained the "slider unit" which
was comprised of titanium carbide.
In HQ 089869, ferrite cores for magnetic recording heads which
were assembled with the composite slider housing after importation,
were found not to have lost the character of a ceramic article, and
were thereby excluded from classification in subheading 8473.30.40,
HTSUSA, by chapter 84 Legal Note 1(b).
Thus, the ferrite substrates (not incorporating a composite
slider housing) are also prima facie classifiable under the
8543.80.90 Electrical machines and apparatus, having
individual functions, not specified or included
elsewhere in this chapter: Other machines and
* * * * * * * * * * * *
6914.90.00Other ceramic articles: Other
A Manual of Customs Law, Ruth F. Sturm (1974), p. 249, states:
A "not specifically provided for" clause in a use
provision excludes therefrom articles enumerated
elsewhere by descriptive or eo nomine designation,
provided the competing provision is more than an
unlimited general description of the merchandise. It
must specifically name and describe the goods. United
States v. Lansen-Naeve Corp., 44 CCPA 31, C.A.D. 632
(1957) and cases cited.
It is Customs position that subheading 6914.90.00, HTSUSA,
which provides for "Other ceramic articles: Other," is an unlimited
general description of the merchandise that does not name and
describe the goods specifically. Therefore, we find that
subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUSA, is more specific.
The MI-TU Instructional Services, Inc., ferrite substrates for
thin-film magnetic recording heads are classifiable under
subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[e]lectrical
machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified
or included elsewhere in this chapter: [o]ther machines and
apparatus: [o]ther." The rate of duty is 3.9% ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division