United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2001 HQ Rulings > HQ 963686 - HQ 963822 > HQ 963790

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 963790

JANUARY 29, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963790 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8517.80.10

Port Director of Customs
198 West Service Road
Champlain, NY 12919

RE: Protest 0712-99-100231; Printed Circuit Boards and Electronic Connectors

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 9712-99-100231, filed against your classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of printed circuit boards and connectors. The entry under protest was liquidated on July 30, 1999, and this protest timely filed on October 26, 1999.


The merchandise at issue, is invoiced as “scrap boards” and “scrap connectors.” It consists of used, worn or obsolete printed circuit boards and electronic connectors used as telephonic transmission apparatus. It is said that they will be melted down to recover gold and, possibly other precious metals, from the wiring, contacts and other circuitry. The tariff status of coins containing precious metal, included in the same shipment, is not at issue here.

The merchandise was entered under a provision of HTS heading 7112, as waste and scrap containing precious metal, of a kind principally for the recovery of precious metal. On the basis that there was no apparent visual damage to the merchandise, your office liquidated the entry under a provision of HTS heading 8517, as electric apparatus for line telephony.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

7112 other waste and scarp containing precious metalof a kind used principally for the recovery of precious metal:

7112.10.00 Of gold, including metal clad with gold

7112.90.00 Other

Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy:

Other apparatus:

8517.80.10 Other


Whether the printed circuit boards and electronic connectors qualify as waste and scrap.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

In support of its waste and scrap claim the protestant makes the following arguments: (1) the merchandise is shipped, loose, in corrugated cardboard boxes with fitted covers - so-called gaylord containers - with no attempt to wrap or otherwise protect individual circuit boards from scratching or additional damage. Thus, it should be readily apparent that they are not usable as such; (2) a statement from the protestant that its payment to the exporter is on the basis of the gold and silver recovery only, and that the fair market value of used circuit boards is considerably higher; and (3) a statement from the exporter, dated March 26, 1999, that because of its bad condition
the merchandise at issue has no extra value at retail and is intended for remelting and recovery of the metal content only.

Chapter 71, Additional U.S. Note 1(c), HTSUS, in part defines the term “waste and scrap” to include materials and articles of metals which are second-hand or waste or refuse, or are obsolete defective or damaged, and which are fit only for the recovery of the metal content. Relevant ENs on p. 1047 include in heading 71.12 scrap of worn-out or broken articles no longer fit for their original use. It does not extend to those which, with or without repair or renovation, can be reused for their former purposes. It is noted on the Customs Form 6445 that “the material had no apparent damage to it. The only precious metal apparent to the eye was the multi-contact strip plug in [the] edge.”

The protestant states the nature of, and justification for, his claim under heading 7112, as required by section 174.13(a)(6), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 174.13(a)(6)). The fact that both the foreign exporter and the protestant regard this merchandise as waste and scrap does not satisfy the legal requirement that the merchandise be worn-out, no longer fit for its original use, and fit only for the recovery of the metal content. Customs is obligated to classify and assess duty on merchandise in its condition as imported. As summarized on the Customs Form 6445, the condition of the merchandise suggests that, whether or not commercially feasible, with repair or renovation the merchandise could potentially be reused for its former purposes.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the printed circuit boards and electronic connectors are provided for in heading 8517. They are classifiable in subheading 8517.80.10, HTSUS.

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, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: