CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088157 KCC
U.S. Customs Service
880 Front Street, Room 5-S-9
San Diego, California 92188
RE: Protest No. 2501-89-000051; Ceramic Pieces; GRI 1; Note 2,
Section XVI; 8547.10.80; EN 85.47; insulating fittings;
8546.20.00; EN 85.46; electrical insulators; 089276; 950868;
Kyocera International; parts; electronic integrated circuit
This is in response to the Application for Further Review of
Protest No. 2501-89-000051, dated May 17, 1989, which pertains to
the tariff classification of ceramic pieces under the Harmonized
Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Samples were
provided for examination.
The articles under consideration are ceramic pieces. Upon
importation, you liquidated the entries for the ceramic pieces
under subheading 8546.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for
"Electrical insulators of any material...Of ceramics." The
protestant, Diacon Inc., contends that the ceramic pieces are
properly classified under subheading 8542.90.00, HTSUS, which
provides for "Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies;
The ceramic pieces are composed of approximately 90 percent
alumina and measure 3/4 of an inch by 1/4 of an inch by 1/16 of
an inch in size. Upon importation, the ceramic pieces are glazed
and the electronic integrated circuit's lead frames are placed on
the glaze. Thereafter, additional components are added to create
a finished electronic integrated circuit. The protestant states
that the ceramic pieces are used exclusively in the semiconductor
industry to house electronic integrated circuits.
What is the proper tariff classification of the ceramic
pieces under the HTSUS?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is
governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1,
HTSUS, states in part that "for legal purposes, classification
shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and
any relative section or chapter notes...." The competing
headings in this case are heading 8542, 8546 and 8547, HTSUS.
Chapter 85, HTSUS, is within Section XVI, HTSUS, making the
Section XVI notes applicable to the classification of this
merchandise. Note 2 states that parts of machines are to be
classified according to the following rules:
(a) Parts which are goods included in any of the headings
of chapter 84 and 85 (other than headings 8485 and
8548) are in all cases to be classified in their
(b) Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally
with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of
machines of the same heading (including a machine of
heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the
machines of that kind....
Subheading 8547.10.80, HTSUS, provides for "Insulating
fittings for electrical machines, appliances or equipment, being
fittings wholly of insulating material apart from any minor
components of metal (for example, threaded sockets) incorporated
during molding solely for the purposes of assembly, other than
insulators of heading 8546...Insulating fittings of ceramics...
Other." Explanatory Note (EN) 85.47 of the Harmonized Commodity
Description and Coding System (HCDCS) page 1407, states that this
heading "covers all fittings for electrical machinery, appliances
or apparatus, provided:
(i) They are wholly of insulating material, or are wholly
of insulating material (e.g., plastics) apart from any
minor components of metal (screws, threaded sockets,
sleeves, etc.) incorporated during moulding solely for
purposes of assembly.
and (ii) They are designed for insulating purposes even though
at the same time they have other functions (e.g.,
Additionally, EN 85.47 states that this "heading does not cover
fittings which, even though made wholly of insulating material
(or made wholly of insulating material apart from any minor
components of metal incorporated during moulding solely for the
purposes of assembly), have not been specially constructed for
insulating purposes, such as containers, covers and separator
plates for accumulators (emphasis added)." HCDCS, Vol. 4, p.
1408. The type of insulating fittings described in EN 85.47
included such fittings as switches, circuit breakers, fuses,
parts of lamp holders, spark plug bodies, etc. The Explanatory
Notes, although not dispositive, are to be looked to for the
proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128
(August 23, 1989).
The ceramic pieces do not belong to the class or kind of
insulating fittings covered by subheading 8547.10.80, HTSUS. The
pieces are constructed of insulating material, i.e., ceramic.
However, they are not specially constructed for insulating
purposes. The ceramic pieces are specially constructed and
function as mounting bases for electronic integrated circuits.
As the ceramic pieces are not specially constructed for
insulating purposes, they are not properly classified under
subheading 8547.10.80, HTSUS.
Subheading 8546.20.00, HTSUS, provides for "Electrical
insulators of any material...Of ceramics." EN 85.46 states that
"[i]nsulators of this heading are used for the fixing, supporting
or guiding of electric current conductors while at the same time
insulating them electrically from each other, from earth, etc."
HCDCS, Vol. 4, p. 1406. The insulators of this heading include
suspension insulators of the type used mainly on outdoor networks
which consist of several insulating elements, rigid insulators of
the type which are intended to be attached to power or telegraph
poles or fitted to walls, ceilings, floors, and leading-in
insulators which are used for guiding cables or wires through
walls. HCDCS, Vol. 4. p. 1407.
The ceramic pieces are not properly classified under
subheading 8546.20.00, HTSUS, as they do not belong to the class
or kind of merchandise contemplated by this tariff provision.
Although the ceramic is a nonconductive material, the ceramic
pieces are designed to function as mounting bases for electronic
integrated circuits. The ceramic pieces are not designed to
function as electrical insulators used for fixing, supporting or
guiding electric current conductors.
As the ceramic pieces are not used for "fixing, supporting
or guiding of electric current conductors while at the same time
insulating them electrically from each other...," they are not
properly classified under subheading 8546.90.00, HTSUS. See
also, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 089276 dated July 24,
1991, which held that packages consisting of cases made of Kovar
plated with nickel or nickel and gold in which external
electrical leads are attached with a "glass to metal" process and
which do not have printed conductor elements or other printed
components, are classified as parts of integrated circuits under
subheading 8542.90.00, HTSUS, and HRL 950868 dated December 31,
1991, which held that copper bases used to mount a semiconductor
device were properly classified as a part of a semiconductor
under subheading 8541.90.00, HTSUS.
Subheading 8542.90.00, HTSUS, provides for "Electronic
integrated circuits and microassemblies; parts thereof...Parts."
After examining the samples and other information concerning the
merchandise, we are satisfied that the ceramic pieces belong in
the class or kind of goods principally used as mounting parts for
electronic integrated ciruits in Heading 8542, HTSUS. As the
ceramic pieces are not "[p]arts which are goods included in any
of the headings of Chapters 84 and 85" (supra), they are properly
classified according to Note 2(b) to Section XVI, for they are
"solely or principally" used with the electronic integrated
circuit. See also, Kyocera International v. United States, 527
F. Supp. 337 (1981), aff'd, 681 F.2d 797 (1982). In Kyocera, the
Court of International Trade classified "ceramic bodies," which
consisted of a minute piece of extremely hard ceramic material
averaging about 3/4 of an inch by 1/4 of an inch by 1/16 of an
inch with attached bonding and brazing pads, in item 687.60,
Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), as modified by T.D.
68-9 (the precursor provision to headings 8541 and 8542, HTSUS),
as parts of electronic integrated circuits.
The ceramic pieces are properly classified under subheading
8542.90.00, HTSUS, which provides for "Electronic integrated
circuits and microassemblies; parts thereof...Parts." This
protest should be granted in full. A copy of this decision
should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the
protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division