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HQ 956198

July 20, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956198 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 6914.10.00

Dr. Bo Denysyk
Global USA, Inc.
2121 K Street, N.W.
Suite 650
Washington, D.C. 20037

RE: Ceramic Ferrules; Adapters; Fiber Optic Connectors; Articles of Porcelain; Headings 6909, 8536, 8544, 8548, 9001; EN 69.09; HQ 955389; NY 893466, affirmed

Dear Dr. Denysyk:

This is in response to your letter dated February 7, 1994, to the Area Director of Customs in New York, on behalf of Kyocera International, Inc., requesting reconsideration of NY 893466, dated January 26, 1994, which concerned the classification of ceramic ferrules under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise is ceramic ferrules of porcelain that are used to mechanically align and interconnect optical fibers to facilitate transmission between the optical fibers. Optical fiber connectors are sometimes referred to as adapters. The optical fiber, which replaces electric conductors, are used to transmit voice, video, alphanumerize and graphic data.


Are the ceramic ferrules classifiable as electrical apparatus for making connection to or in electrical circuits, or as parts of electrical apparatus not specified elsewhere, or as ceramic wares for other technical uses, or as other ceramic articles under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Customs has recently addressed the classification issue of fiber optic adapters made of brass and bronze in HQ 955389, dated June 29, 1994. In that ruling, Customs determined that the fiber optic adapter is not classifiable as electrical apparatus for making connection to an electrical circuit under heading 8536, HTSUS, because the adapter does not connect together the various parts found in an electrical circuit. Instead, the adapter merely aligns the individual optical fibers which will allow the optical fibers to interact with each other.

In HQ 955389, classification of the adapter as a part or accessory of the optical fibers was also suggested. Heading 9001, HTSUS, provides for "[o]ptical fibers and optical fiber bundles; optical fiber cables other than those of heading 85.44". Heading 8544, HTSUS, provides for optical fiber cables used for telecommunications. Because the adapters are to be used in conjunction with optical fibers to transmit voice, video, alphanumerize and graphic data, classification under chapter 85 was given consideration.

You suggest that the ceramic ferrules could be classifiable under subheading 8548.00.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical parts of machinery or apparatus, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter. . . ." However, the ceramic ferrules do not contain any electrical elements or interact with the transmission of the light through the optical fibers. The ceramic ferrules or the adapter merely assists in the mechanical alignment and interconnection of two optical fibers.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed.Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN (B) to Chapter 85, pages 1332-1333, states as follows: "[n]on-electrical parts of the machines or apparatus of this Chapter are classified as follows: (i) [m]any are in fact articles falling in other Chapters. . . ." The ceramic ferrules are non-electrical parts of apparatus of chapter 85 (i.e., fiber optic cables). Therefore, if the ceramic ferrules are provided for in another chapter, it is classified there.

In NY 893466, dated January 26, 1994, the subject ceramic ferrules were found to be classifiable under subheading 6914.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[o]ther ceramic articles: [o]f porcelain or china. . . ." In your letter, you admit that there are ceramic ferrules that are general purpose guides for various classes of fiber optic cables which are predominantly used as "accessories" to the electronic industry and would not be classified as a "machine part". You claim that because the subject ceramic ferrules are specifically designed for certain machines, they should be classified under subheading 6909.11.20, HTSUS, which provides for: "[c]eramic wares for laboratory, chemical or other technical uses; . . . : [c]eramic wares for laboratory, chemical or other technical uses: [o]f porcelain or china: [m]achinery parts. . . ."

In support of your claim for classification under heading 6909, HTSUS, you cite to American Feldmuehle Corp. v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 462, C.D. 4021 (1970), in which the Customs Court held that tool tip blanks made of porcelain were classifiable as machinery parts of porcelain under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (the predecessor to the HTSUS). You indicate that the holding in NY 893466 is contrary to the decision in American Feldmuehle Corp.. However, EN 69.09, page 921, defines the scope of "ceramic wares for other technical uses" as follows:

The heading covers in particular: . . .

(2) Ceramic wares for other technical uses, such as pumps, valves; retorts, vats, chemical baths and other static containers with single or double walls (e.g., for electroplating, acid storage); taps for acids; coils, fractionating or distillation coils and columns, Raschig rings for petroleum fractionating apparatus; grinding apparatus and balls, etc., for grinding mills; thread guides for textile machinery and dies for extruding man-made textiles; plates, sticks, tips and the like, for tools (emphasis added).

Because EN 69.09 specifically lists the merchandise described in American Feldmuehle Corp., we find that the holding in NY 893466 is not contrary to that court decision. Customs believes that the phrase "ceramic wares for other technical uses" covers only those products specifically listed above in EN 69.09. In HQ 955389, Customs determined that the adapter was a copper article used as a fitting (e.g., stays, clips, brackets) for optical fibers. Because fittings are not specifically listed in EN 69.09, we find that classification of the ceramic ferrules is precluded under heading 6909, HTSUS. Therefore, the ceramic ferrules are classifiable under subheading 6914.10.00, HTSUS, as other ceramic articles, made of porcelain.

NY 893466 is affirmed.


The ceramic ferrules or adapters are classifiable under subheading 6914.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[o]ther ceramic articles: [o]f porcelain or china. . . ." The general, column one rate of duty is 9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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