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HQ 085566

January 2, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085566 JBW 843818


TARIFF NO.: 6907.90.00; 6908.90.00

Mr. Nelson J. Cooney
Brick Institute of America
11490 Commerce Park Drive
Reston, Virginia 22091

RE: Thin Veneer Brick: Reconsideration of NYRL 843818, dated September 6, 1989

Dear Mr. Cooney:

This letter ruling is in response to your request of September 6, 1989, for reconsideration of New York Letter Ruling (NYRL) 843818 regarding the classification of thin veneer brick under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


You requested classification of thin veneer brick manufactured in Canada. Thin bricks are formed from clay or shale and have similar face dimensions as conventional bricks. The principal difference between thin bricks and conventional bricks is the thickness of the thin bricks, which are approximately to 1 inches (1.3 to 2.5 cm) thick. As explained in Technical Notes on Brick Construction, thin bricks are normally used as wall facings and are installed by one of three methods: adhering the bricks to an existing surface; mounting a prefabricated bricks panel; or adhering the thin bricks to a pre- fabricated modular panel, which is then mounted.

NYRL 843818 classified thin veneer bricks under subheading 6908.90.00, HTSUSA, as glazed ceramic flags and paving, hearth or wall tiles, other.


Whether thin veneer bricks are classified as ceramic building bricks or as ceramic wall tiles under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's.

The Explanatory Notes, which provide the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, include facing bricks under both Heading 6904, building bricks, and Headings 6907 and 6908, tiles. The Notes state that tiles are thinner in relation to their surface dimensions than are building bricks. However, the principal distinction drawn by the Notes between building bricks and tiles is their potential for structural use. The Notes state that building bricks are capable of serving an essential part in the structure of a building. Alternatively, the Notes state that tiles are intended for fixing by cement, adhesive, or by other means to the surface of existing walls. Composition of the article does not affect the classification.

By virtue of their shape and use, thin bricks are classified as tiles. Thin bricks are, by definition, thinner than conventional building bricks. You state in your letter that most bricks are not actually used for their structural value. While conventional bricks may not be used for structural purposes, they nevertheless are capable of such use. On the other hand, thin bricks are not designed or used for structural purposes; the three principal methods of installation for thin bricks all require that thin bricks be adhered to some sort of existing backing.


Thin veneer bricks, given a standard face size of 2-2/3 by 8 inches (6.8 by 20.3 cm) are classified as follows: if unglazed, under subheading 6907.90.00, HTSUSA, as unglazed ceramic flags and paving, hearth or wall tiles and subject to a duty of 16 percent ad valorem if they are "goods originating in the territory of Canada" under the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and applicable regulations are met; if glazed, under subheading 6908.90.00, HTSUSA, as glazed ceramic flags and paving, hearth or wall tiles and subject to a duty of 15.2 percent ad valorem if manufactured in Canada and entitled to the benefits of the FTA. NYRL 843818 is hereby affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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