CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 960294 HMC

Port Director of Customs
200 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401

RE: PRD 1601-96-100360; Lenox 10 Inch Plate Kiln Furniture; Subheadings 6903.20.00 and 6914.90.80; Additional U.S. Note 2 to Chapter 69; General Explanatory Note to Chapter 69; Other Refractory Ceramic Goods; Other Ceramic Articles.

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1601-96-100360, filed against your classification of the Lenox 10 inch plate kiln furniture ("ceramic setter"). The entries under protest were liquidated on August 2, 1996, and this protest timely filed on October 31, 1996.


The merchandise under protest consists of a ceramic setter, which is used to maintain the shape of fine china dinnerware through the firing of the dinnerware. The importer states that the setter is used in the bisque kiln firing process, where unfired greenware is fired into bisqueware, and in the glost kiln firing process, where the bisqueware is glazed. It is claimed that the merchandise is an alcorit product, which contains by weight 89% of the compounds alumina and silica, and that the product is specifically designed for high-temperature work in the production of china dinnerware.

The merchandise was entered as other refractory ceramic goods under subheading 6903.20.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). However, the entries were liquidated under subheading 6914.90.80, HTSUS, as other ceramic articles.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

6903 Other refractory ceramic goods (for example, retorts, crucibles, muffles, nozzles, plugs, supports, cupels, tubes, pipes, sheaths and rods), other than those of siliceous fossil meals or of similar siliceous earths: 6903.20.00 Containing by weight more than 50 percent of alumina (AlO) or of a mixture or compound of alumina and of silica (SiO)...2%

* * * * 6914 Other ceramic articles: 6914.90 Other: 6914.90.80 Other...6.6%


Whether the ceramic setter is classifiable as other refractory ceramic goods under subheading 6903.90.00, HTSUS, or as other ceramic articles under subheading 6914.90.80, HTSUS.


Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 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, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

Protestant contends that the merchandise is properly classified under subheading 6903.20.00, HTSUS, as other refractory ceramic goods. Protestant claims that the ceramic setter meets the criteria for refractory material set forth in Chapter 69, sub-Chapter I. Protestant states that the ceramic setter is capable of resisting high temperatures in excess of 1350øC. Chapter 69 is divided in two parts or sub-Chapters. Sub-Chapter I covers goods of siliceous fossil meals or of similar siliceous earths, and refractory goods. Sub-Chapter II covers other ceramic products. Headings 6901 through 6903 are included in sub-Chapter I, and headings 6904 through 6914 fall under sub-chapter II. Accordingly, we must determine whether the subject setters are refractory goods of sub-Chapter I or other ceramic products of sub-Chapter II. Chapter 69, Additional U.S. Note 2, HTSUS, provides as follows: For the purposes of headings 6902 and 6903, the term "refractory" is applied to articles which have a pyrometric cone equivalent of at least 1500 C when heated at 60 C per hour (pyrometric cone 18). Refractory articles have special properties of strength and resistance to thermal shock and may also have, depending upon the particular uses for which designed, other special properties such as resistance to abrasion and corrosion.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989). General EN (B) to sub-Chapter I, Chapter 69, HTSUS, states, at page 997, that

To fall in heading 6902 or 6903 as refractory goods, articles must not only be capable of resisting high temperatures, they must also be designed for high temperature work.

This EN further states, at page 998, that

headings 6902 and 6903 do not cover articles which, though sometimes described as refractory or semi-refractory, are incapable of withstanding industrial temperatures of the type described above. Such articles fall in the appropriate heading of sub-Chapter II.

A sample of the merchandise in this instance was forwarded to the Customs laboratory for analysis. The laboratory reported that the setter did not meet the definition of Additional U.S. Note 2 to Chapter 69. Tests showed that the setters did not resist temperatures of 1,500øC. We thus find that the ceramic setter in this instance does not meet the definition of refractory goods. It is not designed to resist high temperature work. Since EN 69.14 states that heading 6914 covers all ceramic articles not covered by other headings of this Chapter or in other Chapters of the Nomenclature, the ceramic setter is classifiable under subheading 6914.90.80, HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Lenox 10 inch plate kiln furniture is provided for in heading 6914, HTSUS. It is classifiable under subheading 6914.90.80, HTSUS, as "Other ceramic articles: Other: Other."

This protest should be DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals Division