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HQ 087543

January 31, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087543 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 8113.00.00

Mr. Rufus E. Jarman, Jr.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
Attorneys & Counsellors at Law
475 Park Avenue South
New York, N.Y. 10016

RE: Duralcan; cermets; subheading 8113.00.00; subheading 7601.20.90; subheading 7601.20; Explanatory Note 81.13; Section XV, note 3(c); alloys; Chapter 76, General Explanatory Notes; McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology; Ceramics Glossary; Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary; General Note 3(c)(vii)(B); United-States Canada Free Trade Agreement.

Dear Mr. Jarman:

Your letter of April 23, 1990, requesting a tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), has been referred to this office for reply.


The merchandise in question is "Duralcan". It is a metal matrix composite material consisting of standard grades of aluminum alloy ingot into which ceramic articles are dispersed while the metal is in a molten state. There are two basic types of Duralcan. "Castable" Duralcan is composed of 33 percent silicon carbide particles and aluminum alloy. "Unwrought" Duralcan is composed of approximately 22 percent aluminum oxide particles and aluminum alloy.


Whether Duralcan is properly classifiable within subheading 8113.00.00, HTSUSA, which provides for cermets and articles thereof, including waste and scrap; or classifiable within subheading 7601.20.90, HTSUSA, which provides for other unwrought aluminum alloys.


Subheading 8113.00.00, HTSUSA, provides for cermets and articles thereof. Explanatory Note (EN) 81.13 states that "[c]ermets contain both a ceramic constituent (resistant to heat and with a high melting point) and a metallic constituent. The manufacturing processes used in the production of these products, and also their physical and chemical properties, are related both to their ceramic and metallic constituents, hence their name cermets." Duralcan is a composite material consisting of aluminum alloy ingot into which ceramic particles are dispersed while the metal is in a molten state. This type of product satisfies the description of a cermet.

The ceramic constituent of cermets usually consists of oxides, carbides, borides etc. EN 81.13. Duralcan consists of silicon carbide or aluminum oxide particles. The metal component of a cermet consists of a powdered metal (e.g. iron, nickel, aluminum, chromium, cobalt). EN 81.13. Duralcan consists of aluminum alloy. Counsel for the importer claims that aluminum alloy is not a powdered metal and therefore Duralcan cannot be considered a cermet. However, The ENs state that cermets may be made by sintering, by dispersion or "other processes." EN 81.13. Duralcan is obtained by mixing ceramic particles into a molten aluminum alloy. Customs considers this process to be an "other process" within the meaning of this subheading.

This conclusion regarding "other processes" is supported by the section notes for chapters 76 and 81. Section XV, note 3(c) states that the term "alloys" includes sintered mixtures of metal powders, heterogeneous intimate mixtures obtained by melting (other than cermets) and intermetallic compounds. This legal note indicates that a cermet may be obtained by melting. Furthermore, it indicates that an article cannot be considered an "alloy" for tariff purposes if it is a cermet. The metal component of Duralcan is an aluminum alloy but Duralcan as a whole satisfies the description of a cermet. Therefore, Duralcan cannot be classified as aluminum alloy within subheading 7601.20, HTSUSA.

The exclusion of Duralcan from classification within subheading 7601.20, HTSUSA, as an aluminum alloy is also supported by the ENs to Chapter 76. The principal aluminum alloys which may be classified in this chapter under the provisions of note 3 to Section XV are: aluminum (Al)-copper (Cu) alloys, Al-zinc-Cu alloys, Al-silicon (Si) alloys, Al-manganese (Mn)-magnesium (Mg) alloys, Al-Mg-Si alloys, Al-Cu-Mg-Mn alloys, Al-Mg alloys, Al-Mn alloys, Al-zinc-Mg alloys. Chapter 76, General ENs. Most of these alloys may also contain small
quantities of iron, nickel, and chromium. Chapter 76, General ENs. These listed alloys are all essentially metal/metal mixtures. Duralcan is not composed of any of these combinations of materials. As stated previously, Duralcan is composed of aluminum alloy (i.e., a metal)/silicon carbide or aluminum oxide (i.e., ceramics). These ENs lend additional support to the above stated conclusion that Duralcan is not an aluminum alloy within the meaning of subheading 7601.20, HTSUSA.

The ENs list a metal and an oxide (e.g., aluminum-aluminum oxide etc.) and a metal and a carbide as types of components used to produce some of the most important cermets. EN 81.13 (1) & (3). Duralcan is obtained from the mixing of an aluminum alloy and aluminum oxide or silicon carbide. The ceramic components of cermets may be metallic oxides, carbides, borides, silicides, nitrides or mixtures of these compounds. McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (McGraw-Hill), vol. 3, p. 419 (1987). The metallic components of cermets include a wide variety of metals whose selection depends on the application of the respective cermet. McGraw-Hill p. 419. Aluminum, aluminum oxide and silicon carbide are all described as proper components of cermets. McGraw-Hill p. 419. Accordingly, Duralcan is produced from the type of materials required to obtain a cermet.

A cermet is described as "[a] composite material or article comprised of a ceramic and a metal, interdistributed in any of various geometrical forms but intimately bonded together." The American Ceramic Society, Ceramic Glossary, p. 14 (1984). In addition, a cermet is described as "[a] semisynthetic product consisting of a mixture of ceramic and metallic components having physical properties not found solely in either one alone, e.g., metal, carbides, borides, oxides and silicides." Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 11th edition, p. 242. Duralcan satisfies these descriptions of a cermet.

Counsel for the importer claims that Duralcan will be produced in Canada. The United-States Canada Free Trade Agreement ("CFTA") states in part:
goods imported into the customs territory of the United States are eligible for treatment as "goods originating in the territory of Canada" only if--

(1) they are goods wholly obtained or produced in the territory of Canada and/or the United States, or

(2) they have been transformed in the territory of Canada and/or the United States, so as to be subject--

(I) to a change in tariff classification as described in the rules of subdivision
(c)(vii)(R) of this note, or

(II) to such other requirements subdivision (c)(vii)(R) of this note may provide when no change in tariff classification occurs, and they meet the other conditions set out in and (R) of this note.

General Note 3(c)(vii)(B), HTSUSA, as amended by Presidential Proclamation 6142 of May 25, 1990.

Information has not been provided to establish whether or not Duralcan is a good originating in the territory of Canada. Accordingly, status under the CFTA cannot be determined at this time.


Duralcan is classifiable within subheading 8113.00.00, HTSUSA, which provides for cermets dutiable at the rate of 5.5 percent ad valorem. Status under the CFTA cannot be determined at this time.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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