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HQ 087329

September 26, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087329 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 6909.19.50

Mr. Richard M. Belanger
Sixth Floor
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004

RE: Ceramic bearings

Dear Mr. Belanger:

This is in reply to your letter of June 4, 1990, on behalf of Koyo Seiko Co., Ltd., requesting classification of ceramic bearings, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


Classification of three configurations of ceramic bearings has been requested:

1. In the first of these configurations, the operating components are all composed of ceramic material. Specifically, this configuration consists of two concentric ceramic rings (races), between which are placed a series of ceramic balls or rollers (rolling elements). A retainer holds the ceramic balls or rollers in place.

2. The second configuration of ceramic bearings is identical to the first ceramic bearing described above, except that the outer race of this second bearing configuration is composed of high carbon chromium bearing steel.

3. The third configuration is similar to the first two, except that this configuration utilizes inner and outer races composed of bearing steel.

The ceramic material used in ceramic bearings is composed entirely of sintered silicon nitride. The retainer is composed of various materials, in accordance with each application and operating conditions. No sample was submitted.


What is the classification of ceramic bearings with ceramic races or bearing steel races, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) 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...

The ceramic bearings are prima facie classifiable under two headings. These headings are 8482 and 6909, HTSUSA, which provide for:

8482 Ball or roller bearings, and parts thereof.

6909 Ceramic wares for laboratory, chemical or other technical uses

However, chapter 84, legal note 1. states, in pertinent part:

1. This chapter does not cover:

(b) Appliances or machinery (for example, pumps) or parts thereof, of ceramic material (chapter 69).

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), General Explanatory Notes to chapter 84, page 1137, state:

Since ceramic articles and parts thereof (Chapter 69), laboratory glassware (heading 70.19 or 70.20) are excluded from this Chapter, it follows that even if a machine or mechanical appliance is covered, because of its description or nature, by a heading of this Chapter it is not to be classified therein if it has the character of an article of ceramic materials or of glass.

Ceramic bearings function in the same manner as conventional bearings. However, ceramic bearings possess specific unique qualities which render them necessary or particularly desirable for certain applications otherwise inappropriate for conventional
bearings. In particular, ceramic bearings possess higher thermal resistance, corrosion resistance, resistance to magnetization, they are light weight and they do not require lubrication. Thus, they are particularly suited to applications such as: chemical, food, steel, textile, automotive, and electrical.

Therefore, ceramic bearings are utilized primarily in applications suited particularly to their specific properties. For this reason, it is Customs position that all three configurations of ceramic bearings have the character of an article of ceramic material, and are thus not classifiable in chapter 84.


All three configurations of ceramic bearings are classifiable under 6909.19.50, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[c]eramic wares for laboratory, chemical or other technical uses: [o]ther: [o]ther." The rate of duty is 8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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