CLA–2 RR:CTF:TCM 967923 KSH
Joel Simon, Esq.
Serko & Simon LLP
1700 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10019
RE: Revocation of New York Ruling Letter (NY) R02101, dated June 20,
2005; Classification of sapphire wafers.
Dear Mr. Simon:
This is in response to your letter of September 7, 2005, on behalf of your client Alconix USA, Inc., in which you request reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) R02101, issued on June 20, 2005, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of sapphire wafers. The sapphire wafers were classified in subheading 7104.90.5000, HTSUS, which provides for “Synthetic or reconstructed precious or semi-precious stones, whether or not worked or graded but not strung, mounted or set; Ungraded synthetic or reconstructed precious or semi-precious stones, temporarily strung for convenience of transport: Other: Other.’’ You assert that because the synthetic sapphire wafers have been advanced beyond the condition of synthetic sapphires to become unique articles of commerce, they are classified in subheading 7116.20.5000, HTSUS, which provides for ‘‘Articles of natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed): Of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed): Other: Other.’’ In accordance with your request for reconsideration of NY R02101, CBP has reviewed the classification of this item and has determined that the cited ruling is in error.
Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625 (c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY R02101 was published on December 7, 2005, in Vol. 39, Number 50, of the CUSTOMS BULLETIN. CBP received no comments.
The sapphire wafer is a substrate for light-emitting diodes (LED). To obtain the sapphire wafer a synthetic sapphire must be grown. To do this, a crucible, which serves as the growth chamber, is filled with aluminum and an inert gas. The aluminum is then melted. A small crystal of sapphire, known as a “seed crystal”, is mounted on a rod and dipped into the crucible until the seed crystal just touches the melted alumina. The rod is then pulled slowly out of the crucible at a slow, specified rate of speed. As the rod is pulled from the crucible the crystal grows as the seed pulls materials from the melt. The materials begin to cool and solidify forming a rod shape. The resulting rod of synthetic sapphire crystal is known as a boule. The raw boule is cut into a rod of specific dimensions, approximately 76.2mm in diameter and 80-100mm long using a diamond impregnated circular die. The angle of the cut can be altered to fit the client’s preferences. To obtain the sapphire wafer, a diamond saw slices off 130-150 wafers from the rod, each of which is approximately 550 microns in thickness.
Whether the sapphire wafers are classified as synthetic stones of heading 7104, HTSUS, or as articles of precious or semi-precious stone of heading 7116, HTSUS.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General
Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification 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 GRI may then be applied. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), constitute the official interpretation at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings.
Chapter 71, HTSUS, provides in pertinent part for precious or
semiprecious stones. Note 1, to Chapter 71, HTSUS, states:
[s]ubject to note 1(a) of section VI and except as provided below, all articles consisting wholly or partly:
(a) [o]f natural or cultured pearls or of precious or semiprecious
stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed)...are to be classified in
The sapphire crystal is altered from its original formation as a boule. The sapphire crystal is cut subsequent to formation as a boule when it becomes a wafer used to make a LED.
In NY F85369, dated April 28, 2000 and NY F88737, dated February 12, 2001, CBP classified sapphire substrates for LEDs in subheading 7116.20.5000, HTSUS. Similarly, in NY G89563, dated May 10, 2001, CBP classified discharge tubes and aperture plates fabricated from synthetic sapphire in subheading 7116.20.5000, HTSUS, and in NY 802695, dated October 20, 1994, synthetic sapphire blanks were classified in 7116.20.2000, HTSUS. In contrast, in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 954877, dated December 21, 1993, sapphire crackle created from sapphire boules which were subsequently cracked were classified in subheading 7104.20.0000, HTSUS.
The instant sapphire wafers, like the sapphire substrates, discharge tubes, aperture plates and sapphire blanks of NY F85369, F88737, G89563 and 802695, have been advanced beyond the condition of synthetic sapphires into articles of sapphires. Accordingly, the sapphire wafers are classified in subheading 7116.20.5000, HTSUS.
The sapphire wafers are classified in subheading 7116.20.5000, HTSUS, which provides for “Articles of natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed): Of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed): Other: Other.’’ The general column one rate of duty is Free.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the internet at www.usitc.gov.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY R02101, dated June 20, 2005, is hereby revoked.
In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625 (c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division