United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0082704 - HQ 0082931 > HQ 0082707

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 082707

October 19, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082707 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 7116.20.50

Mr. Ken Hashimoto
Expediters International, Inc.
880 Hinckley Road
Burlingame, CA 94010

RE: Synthetic ruby capillaries for thermosonic and thermocompression welding

Dear Mr. Hashimoto:

This is in reply to your letter of January 19, 1988, on behalf of Rikei Corporation of America, concerning the classification of synthetic ruby capillaries for welding, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


Electrical connections between microcircuit chips and external circuitry are generally made using fine gold or aluminum wires which are fed through capillaries made of ceramic or synthetic ruby. Due to the fact that the silicon based microcircuit chips are degraded when subjected to temperatures in excess of 350 degrees Centigrade, the wires are attached using either relatively low temperature thermocompression welding (also known as hot pressure welding), or ultrasonic solid phase welding. Ultrasonic wire welds are formed at almost ambient temperature and the technique is suitable for welding both gold and aluminum wires. The capillaries under consideration are comprised wholly of synthetic ruby.


What is the classification of the synthetic ruby capillaries under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Chapter 71 provides for synthetic gemstones. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part:

...classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...

Legal Note 3 (ij) to chapter 71 states:

This chapter does not cover: ...machinery, mechanical appliances or electrical goods, or parts thereof, of section XVI. However, articles and parts thereof, wholly of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed) remain classified in this chapter.... (Emphasis added)

Heading 8515, chapter XVI, provides for:

Electric (including electrically heated gas), laser or other light or photon beam, ultrasonic, electron beam, magnetic pulse or plasma arc soldering, brazing or welding machines and apparatus, whether or not capable of cutting; electric machines and apparatus for hot spraying of metals or sintered metal carbides; parts thereof.

However, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes to Section XVI, Note I(B)(f), page 1130, states that this section does not cover "Articles of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed)."

Thus, even though a welding machine would be classifiable under heading 8515, since the ruby capillaries consist wholly of synthetic ruby, they are excluded from classification under heading 8515 as parts by reason of HTS Explanatory Note to Section XVI, I(B)(f). Conversely, the synthetic ruby capillaries are included in Chapter 71 by reason of Legal Note 3 (ij).


Synthetic ruby capillaries utilized in thermosonic and thermocompression welding are classifiable in subheading 7116.20.50, HTSUSA, which provides for "Articles of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed): Other." The rate of duty is 6.7% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: