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 > 2006 NY Rulings > NY R02997 - NY R03074 > NY R03045

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY R03045

January 20, 2006

CLA-2-85:RR:NC:MM:109 R03045


TARIFF NO.: 8533.29.0000

Mr. Miles Frederick Hoehn
International Trade Compliance Manager
Therm-O-Disc, Inc.
1320 South Main Street
Mansfield, OH 44907

RE: The tariff classification of Automotive Polymeric Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) Circuit Protectors (51K, 52K, and 54K Series) from an unspecified country

Dear Mr. Hoehn:

In your letter dated January 5, 2006, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise subject to this ruling is Automotive Polymeric Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) Circuit Protectors (51K, 52K, and 54K Series). The Polymeric PTC is used primarily in automotive applications. It provides solid state protection against over-temperature and/or over-current conditions in small motors, such as window lift motors, power seat motors, etc.

The polymeric PTC switches from a low-resistance state to a high-resistance state when its switch temperature and/or rated current is exceeded. The Polymeric PTC is a homogeneous mixture of polyolefin material and carbon black particles. At normal operating temperatures and currents, the Polymeric PTC has a crystalline structure, which results in a low-resistance conductive path device. When excessive temperature and/or currents are encountered, the Polymeric PTC undergoes a phase change to an amorphous (non-crystalline) structure and an expansion of the polyolefin, which inhibits conductivity by separating the carbon black particles, resulting in a high resistance. This phase change (switching action) occurs in a very narrow temperature band, resulting in a rapid increase in resistance of several orders of magnitude. This result is known as the Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) effect. Basically, the PTC effect limits the flow of the current to a point where only a “trickle” of electricity still flows in order to protect sensitive electronics. Once power is removed or the temperature decreases below its designated “trip” point, the Polymeric PTC returns to its low-resistance state.

Your letter asked if this merchandise should be classified as a motor protector or a variable resistor. The Polymeric PTC is a resistor not a motor protector. Specifically, the Polymeric PTC is a thermistor, whose resistance varies with temperature. It exhibits large negative coefficient of resistance changes as the temperature increases. Resistors are provided for eo nominee in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in heading 8533. Therefore, the classification of the polymeric PTC as a motor protector does not apply because an eo nominee provision takes precedence over any other heading in the tariff schedule. The Polymeric PTC is a fixed resistor because the value of its resistance cannot be changed. The “trip” point of the resistor is designated (fixed) at time of manufacture and cannot be changed as can be with a variable resistor by, for instance, turning a knob, such as ones does to adjust the volume on a radio. As a result, the Polymeric PTC is classified under subheading 8533.29.00, which provides for “Other fixed resistors.”

The applicable subheading for the Automotive Polymeric Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) Circuit Protectors (51K, 52K, and 54K Series) will be 8533.29.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Fixed carbon resistors (including rheostats and potentiometers), other than heating resistors; parts thereof: Other fixed resistors: Other.” The rate of duty will be free.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Linda M. Hackett at 646-733-3015.


Robert B. Swierupski

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: