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HQ 958883

June 5, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958883 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 7104.10.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
605 W. Fourth Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501

RE: Protest 3196-95-100326; Unmounted Piezo-Electric Crystals; Parts; Legal Notes 1(f) and 2 to Section XVI; Legal Note 3(ij) to chapter 71; Heading 8541; EN 85.41; EN Subheading 7104.10; NYs 876481, 876611, 894364

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 3196-95-100326, which concerns the classification of unmounted piezo-electric crystals under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The subject merchandise consists of unmounted piezo-electric crystals which are round, thin wafers, about the size of a thumbtack head, with a thickness of .002 inches. According to the information provided, cultured piezo-electric quartz crystal material is grown in bars (ingots), usually about 6 to 8 inches long. Each bar is a single crystal of quartz and might weigh about 1 kg. The bulk crystal material bars are "lumbered", that is, sawed precisely along the quartz electrical axis to remove undesired seed and other growth material. Thin wafers are cut from the bulk crystal material at some characteristic orientation with respect to an atomic plane of the quartz bar. The wafers are then "optically" processed to form a blank with the precise specifications required for a particular "mounted piezo-electric crystal" design. Processed blank specifications typically include grade of bulk material used, orientation angles, major dimensions, method of reference surface identification, type of surface finish and frequency (thickness). After importation, electrodes are added to the crystal and then the crystal is mounted in an enclosure.

The merchandise was entered under subheading 8541.90.00, HTSUS, as parts of piezo-electric crystals. The entry was liquidated on December 15, 1995, under subheading 7104.10.00, HTSUS, as piezo-electric (blanks) quartz. The protest was timely filed on December 28, 1995.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

7104.10.00: Synthetic or reconstructed precious or semi-precious stones, whether or not worked or graded but not strung, mounted or set; ungraded synthetic or reconstructed precious or semi-precious stones, temporarily strung for convenience of transport: [p]iezo- electric quartz. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 5.4 percent ad valorem.

8541.90.00 Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photo-sensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light-emitting diodes; mounted piezoelectric crystals; parts thereof:
[p]arts. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of free.


Whether the unmounted piezo-electric crystals are classifiable as parts of mounted piezo-electric crystals, or as piezo electric quartz, under the HTSUS?


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

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding or dispositive, 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 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN 85.41, states in pertinent part:


These are mainly barium titanate (including polycrystalline polarized elements of barium titanate), lead titanate zirconate or other crystals of heading 38.24 (see the corresponding Explanatory Note), or quartz or tourmaline crystals. They are used in microphones, loudspeakers, ultrasonic apparatus, stabilized 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. They may be coated with graphite, varnish, etc., or arranged on supports and they are often inside an envelope (e.g., metal box, glass bulb). If, however, because of the addition of other components, the complete article (mounting plus crystal) can no longer be regarded as merely a mounted crystal but has become identifiable as a specific part of a machine or appliance, the assembly is classified as a part of the machine or appliance in question: e.g., piezo-electric cells for microphones or loudspeakers (heading), sound-heads (heading 85.22), pick-up elements (feelers) for supersonic thickness measuring or detecting instruments (heading 90.33), quartz oscillators for electronic watches (heading 91.14).

This heading also excludes unmounted piezo-electric crystals (generally heading 38.24, 71.03 or 71.04).

The protestant agrees that the subject merchandise does not meet the term "mounted piezo-electric crystal" as described in subheading 8541.60, HTSUS, and in the EN. However, the protestant believes that the processed crystal blanks should be classified as "parts" of mounted piezo electric crystals under subheading 8541.90.00, HTSUS. The classification of parts for goods covered in chapters 84 and 85 in section XVI, HTSUS, are guided by Legal Note 2 to Section XVI, HTSUS, which provides as follows:

Subject to Note 1 to this Section, Note 1 to Chapter 84 and Note 1 to Chapter 85, parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading 8484, 8544, 8545, 8546 or 8547) are to be classified according to the following rules:

(a) Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of Chapter 84 and 85 (other than headings 8485 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;

(b) Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading (including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the machines of that kind. However, parts which are equally suitable for use principally with the goods of headings 8517 and 8525 to 8528 are to be classified in heading 8517;

(c) All other parts are to be classified in heading 8485 or 8548.

Legal Note 1(f) to Section XVI, HTSUS, states that: "[t]his section does not cover: . . . [p]recious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed) of headings 7102 to 7104, or articles wholly of such stones of heading 7116, except unmounted worked sapphires and diamonds for styli (heading 8522)". Therefore, if the processed crystal is provided for in headings 7102 to 7104, it cannot be classified as a "part" of mounted piezo electric crystals in heading 8541, which is within section XVI, HTSUS.

It has been suggested that classification of the subject merchandise under heading 7104, HTSUS, is incorrect because this provision is meant to provide for the classification of jewelry and not electrical equipment. However, Legal Note 3(ij) to chapter 71, HTSUS, states in pertinent part: "[t]his chapter does not cover: . . . machinery, mechanical appliances or electrical goods, or parts thereof, of section XVI. However, articles and parts thereof, wholly of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed) remain classified in this chapter, except unmounted worked sapphires and diamonds for styli (heading 8522)". EN Subheading 7104.10, states that:

Piezo-electric quartz has the property, when subjected to mechanical pressure, of producing an electric charge, the strength of which varies in relation to the pressure and, conversely, of converting into mechanical pressure the differences in electric potential to which it is subjected.

By reason of this property, piezo-electric quartz is used in the electrical equipment industry for various purposes: the manufacture of microphones, loudspeakers, instruments for transmitting or receiving ultrasonic waves, instruments for fixed frequency oscillations, etc.

The piezo-electric quartz falling in this subheading is generally in the form of thin sheets, plates, rods, etc., obtained by sawing synthetic quartz with a precision-cut along the line of electrical axis.

The port classified the subject merchandise based upon NY 876481, dated July 31, 1992, which dealt with the classification of four samples of unmounted crystal quartz blanks. Based upon EN 85.41, Customs held that they were not parts of crystal units or parts of crystal oscillators under heading 8541.90.00, HTSUS. Customs concluded that the unmounted crystal quartz blanks was classifiable under subheading 7104.10.00, HTSUS, as piezo-electric quartz. See NY 876481. See also NY 876611 (November 25, 1992) and NY 894364 (February 23, 1994) for similar holdings.

Based upon the guidance of the relevant legal notes, the clear guidance of the Ens, and prior rulings, we find that the subject merchandise is properly classifiable under heading 7104, HTSUS, as piezo electric quartz. Because we find that the subject merchandise is provided for under heading 7104, HTSUS, it cannot be classified as a part under heading 8541, HTSUS, in accordance with Legal Notes 1(f) and 2 to Section XVI, HTSUS.

We note that the protestant also cites to GRI 2(a), 3(c), and 4, in support of their position that the processed crystal blank should be classified as a "part". Because we find that classification can be determined solely based upon the application of GRI 1 and the relevant section and chapter notes, there is no basis to apply the other GRIs. Therefore, we find that the port was correct in its classification of the merchandise under heading 7104, HTSUS.


The piezo-electric crystal blanks are classifiable under subheading 7104.10.00, HTSUS, as piezo-electric quartz.

The protest should be DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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