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HQ 084271

August 8, 1989

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 084271 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8209.00.0000

Mr. Stuart E. Tarkan
National Machinable Carbide, Inc.
415 Patricia Drive
Warminster, Pa. 18974

RE: Steel-Bonded Titanium Carbide Blanks

Dear Mr. Tarkan:

In a letter dated April 12, 1989, you ask that we reconsider a ruling previously issued to you on the classification of this merchandise. Our decision follows.


A letter dated December 27, 1988 (832492), from the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, held that this merchandise, from China (PRC), was classifiable under the provision for other bars and rods of other alloy steel, in subheading 7228.60.1060, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).

In the April 12 letter, you note that titanium carbide blanks are not within the Chapter 72, Note 1(d), HTSUSA, definition of Steel because they contain carbon in excess, by weight, of the amount allowed by that chapter note. These blanks cannot, therefore, be classified as alloys of steel. More importantly, you state that titanium carbide blanks are not bars at all. Rather, they are ceramic-metal composites or cermets.

Some confusion may have resulted from the facts outlined in your original ruling request. You described a sample which you submitted as a stick having a cross section in the approximate shape of a rectangle. This suggested that the product was in bar form. In addition, the chemical composition
you submitted separated the percentage of titanium carbide, by weight, from the metallic carbon in the matrix alloy. This, plus your initial reference to "a two-phase sintered alloy" may have led New York to conclude that the product was an alloyed steel bar for tariff purposes.

The merchandise in question consists of a sintered combination of titanium carbide micrograins in a tool steel matrice in stick form. The carbide provides wear resistance while the steel matrix provides toughness and strength. Articles consisting of a ceramic constituent, such as a carbide, and a metal component normally in powdered form, bound together by sintering, among other processes, are called cermets. Titanium carbide cermets are used to fashion the working parts of tools and knives, for example, as well as components for bearings, valves, nozzles, and other parts and components requiring a high degree of wear-resistance.


Are tungsten carbide blanks in stick form classifiable as alloy steel bars, as cermets, or under another more specific provision?


General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, HTSUSA, 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. Section XV, Note 3(c), HTSUSA, which governs merchandise classifiable in Chapter 72, states that the term "alloys" includes sintered mixtures of metal powders other than cermets. Cermets are therefore excluded from classification in Heading 7228 as alloy steel bars.

Goods consisting of more than one material or substance are classifiable in accordance with GRI 3. With respect to goods that are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, GRI 3(a) states that the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. The merchandise in question consists of more than one material or substance.

Heading 8113 covers cermets and articles thereof, while heading 8209 covers plates, sticks, tips and the like for tools, unmounted, of sintered metal carbides or cermets. Explanatory Notes, which provide guidance as to the scope of
the headings at the international level, indicate, at p. 1100, that plates, sticks, tips and the like for tools, of cermets with a basis of metal carbides agglomerated by sintering, are excluded from classification in heading 8113. These notes place classification in heading 8209. Therefore, we conclude that under GRI 3(a), heading 8209 is more specific than heading 8113 with respect to the merchandise in question.


Steel bonded titanium carbide blanks, in stick form, from China (PRC), are classifiable under the provision for plates, sticks, tips and the like for tools, unmounted, of sintered carbides or cermets, in heading 8209.00.0000, HTSUS. The rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.


Ruling 832492, dated December 27, 1988, is revoked under the authority of section 177.9(d), Customs Regulations.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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