Ms. Sandra Liss Friedman
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn, LLP
475 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
RE: The tariff classification of plastic fiber optic products from Japan
Dear Ms. Friedman:
In your letter dated August 29, 2013, received by this office on October 21, 2013, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Mitsubishi International Corporation. Sample pieces of five fiber optic products were furnished with your request for a ruling.
The five items are plastic optical fiber products. The optical fiber contained in each product has a core of polymethyl-methacrylate resin and fluorinated polymer cladding and each of the products has a polyethylene jacket. None of the products has a strength member.
Item SH 6001-2.2 is composed of a single 1.5 mm optical fiber covered by a black polyethylene jacket. The overall diameter of the product is 2.2 mm and the jacket has a thickness of 0.35 mm. This product is used mostly in sensor applications. It is also commonly used for “prisoner at home bracelets.”
BH 4001 is composed of a single 1 mm optical fiber covered by a black polyethylene jacket. The product has an overall diameter of 2.2 mm and the jacket has a thickness of 0.6 mm. This product has generic applications, but for high temperature situations. The main customer for this product utilizes it as a data media for their operational instruments within a locomotive.
GH 4001-1000-TR is identical to BH 4001, other than the fact that it has a clear polyethylene jacket. This product has a specific application and is primarily used by electric utility companies to detect system sparks.
Item SH 4002 is described as a “figure-eight” design composed of two 1 mm optical fibers, each covered by a black polyethylene jacket. In appearance, this item consists of side by side single strands of optical fiber individually covered by a black jacket. The product has an overall diameter of 4.4 mm and each jacketed fiber has an overall diameter of 2.2 mm. The jacket has a thickness of 0.6 mm. This product has generic applications, however the main customers are in the medical industry. It is used as a media for instrument control.
Item SH 6002 is described as a “figure-eight” design composed of two 1.5 mm optical fibers, each covered by a black polyethylene jacket. In appearance, this item consists of side by side single strands of optical fiber individually covered by a black jacket. The product has an overall diameter of 6 mm and each jacketed fiber has an overall diameter of 3 mm. The jacket has a thickness of 0.75 mm. This product is used primarily as a sensor media and the main customer is a medical instrument producer.
You suggested classification under subheading 8544.70.000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for optical fiber cable composed of individually sheathed fibers. The National Import Specialist responsible for subheading 8544.70.000, HTSUS, states that items SH 6001-2.2, BH 4001, GH 4001-1000-TR, SH 4002 and SH 6002 are not classified as optical fiber cables under subheading 8544.70.00, HTSUS. In order to be classified as optical fiber cables under subheading 8544.70.00, HTSUS, the article must pass a twofold test. First the fibers, which are composed of a core surrounded by a cladding, must be individually sheathed. The sheathing is a protective layer that surrounds “EACH” fiber. Second, the individually sheath fibers must be assembled into a cable. CBP has determined that a cable would include an outer protective jacket that surrounds all of the sheathed fibers as well as strength members (aramid yarn fiber). The items concerned are plastic fibers (core and cladding) that are surrounded by a protective plastic buffering layer or sheathing. The products concerned do not pass the twofold test; they are only sheathed fibers, they are not assembled into a cable. They lack an outer jacket and they lack strength members.
The applicable subheading for items SH 6001-2.2, BH 4001, GH 4001-1000-TR, SH 4002, and SH 6002 will be 9001.10.0030, HTSUS, which provides for Optical fibers for transmission of voice, data or video communications. The rate of duty will be 6.7 percent ad valorem.
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 http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
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 Barbara Kiefer at (646) 733-3019.
Gwenn Klein Kirschner
National Commodity Specialist Division