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HQ 965414

JULY 30, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 965414 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8209.00.00

D. Kent Snyder
Laurel Carbide, Inc.
920 Lloyd Ave., P.O. Box 686
Latrobe, PA 15650

RE: Tungsten Carbide Rods

Dear Mr. Snyder:

In a letter to the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated December 3, 2001, you inquire as to the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of tungsten carbide rods. Your ruling request, with accompanying samples, has been referred to this office for reply. We regret the delay in responding.


The articles under consideration consist of a powdered mixture of tungsten carbide, 85%-94% by weight, and metallic cobalt, 6%-15% by weight. This powder is sintered, then extruded into rod form. As imported, these rods may be from 1/8 inch to 1 inch in diameter and from 1 1/2 inch to 20 inches long. They may be imported unmachined, drilled with one, two or three parallel straight coolant holes, or with two or three spiral coolant holes. You indicate these rods are typically sold to industrial tool-makers for the manufacture of drills, end mills, reamers, taps, slitters or punches.

You state that previous shipments of these rods have been imported under provisions of heading 8101, HTSUS, as unwrought tungsten, including bars and rods, or as other unwrought tungsten. A recent shipment, however, was reclassified under a provision of heading 8209, HTSUS, as plates, sticks,
tips and the like for, tools, unmounted, of cermets. You now believe that heading 8113, HTSUS cermets and articles thereof, represents the appropriate classification.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8101 Tungstenand articles thereof:

8113 Cermets and articles thereof:

Interchangeable tools for handtools, whether or not power- operated, or for machine toolsincluding dies for extruding or extruding metal, and rock drilling or earth boring tools:

8209 Plates, sticks, tips and the like for tools, unmounted, of cermets:


Whether tungsten carbide rods, as imported, are goods of heading 8209.


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).

Section XV, Note 4, HTSUS, defines the term “cermets” as products containing a microscopic heterogeneous combination of a metallic component and a ceramic component. The term includes sintered metal carbides (metal carbides sintered with a metal). Section XV, Additional U.S. Note 1, HTSUS, in part, defines the term “unwrought” as metal in the form of ingots, blocks, sticks, pellets, and similar
manufactured primary forms, but does not cover drawn or extruded products or cast or sintered forms which have been machined or processed otherwise than by simple trimming, scalping or descaling. It is clear from their description that, as imported, the tungsten carbide rods are not unwrought products, but rather articles of cermets.

Relevant ENs state that heading 8113 covers cermets, whether unwrought or in the form of articles not elsewhere specified in the Nomenclature. The referenced EN specifically excludes from heading 8113 plates, sticks, tips and the like, of cermets with a basis of metal carbides agglomerated by sintering (heading 82.09). The issue, then, is whether the tungsten carbide rods are goods of heading 8209. Other ENs state that the products of heading 8209 are usually in the form of plates, sticks, tips, rods, pellets, rings, etc[I]n view of their special properties these plates, tips, etc. are welded, brazed or clamped onto lathe tools, milling tools, drills, dies, or other high-speed cutting tools used for working metal or other hard materials. They fall in [heading 8209] whether sharpened or not, or otherwise prepared, but not if already mounted on tools; in the latter case they fall in the headings for tools, particularly heading 8207 (Underscoring added). The corresponding heading 8207 ENs exclude articles of heading 8209. The unmachined tungsten carbide rods at issue are clearly described by the heading 8209 ENs, as are those rods drilled with coolant holes, which we consider “otherwise prepared.” Customs position on classifying tungsten and titanium carbide blanks, with and without holes in the center, in subheading 8209.00.00, HTSUS, has been both longstanding and consistent. See HQ 084271, dated August 8, 1989, and NY 807394, dated March 2, 1995.


Under the authority of GRI 1 the tungsten carbide rods, as described, are provided for in heading 8209. They are classifiable in subheading 8209.00.00, HTSUS.


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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