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 States (HTSUS).


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)?


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 69)

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). -3-

Thus, the ferrite substrates (not incorporating a composite slider housing) are also prima facie classifiable under the following subheadings:

8543.80.90 Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter: Other machines and apparatus: Other

* * * * * * * * * * * *

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