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HQ 956905

October 26, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956905 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8541.60.00

Mr. John F. McKenzie
Baker & McKenzie
815 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-4078

RE: PZT Transducers; Ceramic Wares for Technical Uses; Explanatory Notes 38.23(B)(31) and 85.41(D); GRI 3(a); U.S. v. Astra Trading Corp.; 6909.19.50

Dear Mr. McKenzie:

This is in response to your letter of August 17, 1994, on behalf of Tektronix, Inc., concerning the classification of lead zirconate titanate piezoelectric transducers (PZT Transducers) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of PZT Transducers (part nos. 119- 1866-00, 119-4616-00, 119-4647-00, 119-4744-00, and 119-4916-00), manufactured in Japan. The merchandise is used in ink jet heads in certain color printers as an electro-mechanical pump to direct ink out of the print head of the media. The PZT Transducers are made of a polycrystalline ceramic material containing lead, zirconate, and titanite, which gives the material the ability to transduce an electrical charge into mechanical stress, and visa versa. The PZT material is in the form of plates with nickel-gold electrodes mounted on both surfaces. As used, when an electrical charge is applied to the electrodes, the vibration of the PZT material pumps ink onto the print medium.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

6909.19.50: [c]eramic wares for laboratory, chemical or other technical uses: [o]ther: [o]ther.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 8 percent ad valorem.

8451.60.00: [m]ounted piezoelectric crystals.

Goods classifiable under this provision receive duty-free treatment.


Whether the PZT Transducers are classifiable under subheading 6909.19.50, HTSUS, as other ceramic wares for technical uses, or under subheading 8451.60.00, HTSUS, as mounted piezoelectric crystals.


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 is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive or legally binding, 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). In part, Explanatory Note 85.41(D) (p. 1399) states:


These are mainly barium titanate (including polycrystalline polarised elements of barium titanate), lead titanate zirconate or other crystals of heading 38.23 (see the corresponding Explanatory Note), or quartz or tourmaline crystals. They are used in microphones, loudspeakers, ultrasonic apparatus, stabilised frequency oscillating circuits, etc. They are classified here only if mounted. They are generally in the form of plates, bars, discs, rings, etc., and must, at least, be equipped with electrodes or electric connections. . .

In part, Explanatory Note 38.23(B)(31) states:


. . . Subject to the above conditions, the preparations and chemical products falling here include:

(31) Certain unmounted cut elements of piezo-electric materials (other than quartz, tourmaline, etc., of heading 71.03 or 71.04).

The materials most commonly used for the production of the piezo-electric elements of this heading are:

(b) . . . lead zirconate titanate; . . .

. . . The heading also covers polycrystalline polarised elements of the products cited in paragraph (b) above, provided they are unmounted.

It is our position that, based upon Explanatory Notes 85.41(D) and 38.23(B)(31), the PZT Transducers are specifically classifiable under subheading 8541.60.00, HTSUS, as mounted piezoelectric crystals. They are comprised of a polycrystalline ceramic element containing lead zirconate titanate. Polycrystalline polarised elements of lead zirconate titanate are specifically included within the scope of heading 3823, HTSUS, as required by Explanatory Note 85.41(D). Also, the PZT Transducers are in the form of plates and are mounted with nickel-gold electrodes on both surfaces.

Consideration was also given as to whether the merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6909.19.50, HTSUS, as other ceramic wares for technical uses.

GRI 3(a) states that:

[w]hen, by application of 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to a part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

An eo nomine designation must, unless a legislative intent to the contrary is clearly indicated, be preferred to terms of general description and to enumerations which are broader in scope and less specific. U.S. v. Astra Trading Corp., 44 CCPA 8, 11, C.A.D. 627 (1956).

The merchandise is classifiable under subheading 8541.60.00, HTSUS, an eo nomine provision. Although the PZT Transducers may be described under subheading 6909.19.50, HTSUS, as other ceramic wares for technical uses, this description is much broader than that of mounted piezoelectric crystals. Therefore, because the merchandise is more specifically described under subheading 8541.60.00, HTSUS, it is precluded from classification under subheading 6909.19.50, HTSUS.


The PZT Transducers are classifiable under subheading 8541.60.00, HTSUS, as mounted piezoelectric crystals.


John Durant, Director

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