Mr. Joseph R. Hoffacker
Barthco Division of OHL
5101 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19112

RE: The tariff classification and country of origin of unmachined impregnated artificial graphite electrode rods from China.

Dear Mr. Hoffacker:

In your letter dated October 3, 2008, on behalf of Graphite Electrode Sales Inc., you requested a tariff classification and country of origin ruling for unmachined impregnated artificial graphite electrode rods.

In the United States, calcined coke is crushed, screened, hot-blended with pitch, extruded and cut into specified lengths and diameters of hardened formed carbon paste. These pre-carbonized, pre-graphitized “green electrodes” are then shipped to China for further processing. In China, the “green electrodes” are baked to over 1400 oF (760 oC) for two weeks to carbonize the pitch. Next, the carbonized rods are impregnated with a special pitch to increase density, mechanical strength and electrical conductivity. Finally, the carbon rods are graphitized into crystalline graphite rods by heating in furnaces to over 5000 oF (2760 oC). The unmachined impregnated artificial graphite rods are then shipped back to the United States where they are machined and lathe-worked into graphite electrodes with finished diameters and drilled connection sockets.

Explanatory Note 38.01 (1) in part states that artificial graphite is a variety of carbon, usually prepared in an electric furnace by heating a mixture of finely ground coke and carbonaceous binders such as pitch to a sufficiently high temperature (2500 to 3200 oC ) to ensure its graphitization under the catalytic action of substances present in the mixture. The mixture is first extruded or moulded under pressure into “green” blocks of square or circular cross-section. These blocks may either be pre-fired (baked) at about 1000 oC and then graphitised, or they may be submitted directly to the graphitization process. In addition to ordinary grades of artificial graphites, the heading includes impregnated artificial graphite which has first been impregnated in a vacuum with tars or resins and refired to graphitize the carbonaceous residues of these additives. Artificial graphite of this heading is usually in the form of powder, flakes, blocks, plates, bars, rods, etc. that are used, after cutting and high-finish machining (fine tolerances and appropriate surface finish), to make brushes or other electrical carbon articles (including artificial graphite electrodes).

Subheading 3801.10.50, HTSUS, provides for: Artificial graphite: Plates, rods, powder and other forms wholly or partly manufactured, other than for manufacturing into brushes for electric generators, motors or other machines or appliances.

The applicable subheading for the unmachined impregnated artificial graphite electrode rods will be 3801.10.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for: Artificial graphite: Other. The rate of duty will be 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 World Wide Web at

Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations {19 CFR 134.1(b)}, defines “country of origin” as the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the “country of origin” within the meaning of the marking laws and regulations. For country of origin marking purposes, a substantial transformation of an imported article occurs when it is used in manufacture, which results in an article having a name, character, or use differing from that of the imported article (19 CFR 134.35).

In this case, the extruded, hardened, pre-graphitized carbon paste rods of U.S. origin will be substantially transformed in China by carbonization, impregnation and graphitization into unmachined impregnated artificial graphite electrode rods for use in the manufacture of machined and lathe-worked graphite electrodes. Accordingly, China will be the country of origin of the unmachined impregnated artificial graphite electrode rods, when imported into the U.S.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Frank Cantone at (646) 733-3038.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division