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Customs Classifies Integrated Circuit Probe Cards Under Heading 8536 As Electrical Apparatus For Making Connections In Electrical Circuits

June 29, 2004

In a January 2004 ruling (NY K82192), Customs classified a probe card, which is used to make an electrical connection between an electrical wafer tester and the wafer probe, under subheading 8536.90.8085, HTSUS, which carries a duty rate of 2.7 percent ad valorem, rather than subheading 9030.90.8400, which provides for parts and accessories of apparatus for measuring or checking electrical quantities, and is duty free.  

While the ruling said that subheading 8536.90.8085 was a more specific provision than subheading 9030.90.8400, we note also that Chapter 90, note 2(a) requires that a part or accessory of a good of chapter 90 (such as a tester), which is also an article included in a heading of chapters 84, 85, or 91, must be classified in its respective heading.

Because the probe card acts as a conduit for current to flow to and from the tester and wafer during the probe process, it falls within the scope of heading 8536, which provides for electrical apparatus for making connections in an electrical circuit. Because a probe card falls within the scope of heading 8536, it is excluded from classification under heading 9030 by virtue of GRI 1 and Chapter 90, note 2(a). A probe card would be excluded from classification in heading 8536 if it also performed some other complimentary or alternative function, such as recording test information.

Customs' reasonable care standard, found in 19 U.S.C. §1484, requires importers of IC probe cards and similar products to review the classification of these articles in light of NY K82192, and determine if their products are properly classified under subheading 8536.90.8085, HTSUS, at 2.7%, or under subheading 9030.90.8400, which covers parts and accessories of and apparatus for measuring or checking electrical quantities, which is duty free. Importers can avoid penalties from misclassified products by filing a Post Entry Amendment, for unliquidated entries, or a prior disclosure, for liquidated entries. Click here for more information on how to file Post Entry Amendment or Prior Disclosure.

If you have questions on any of the issues raised in this newsletter, please contact George R. Tuttle, III at (415) 288-0428 or via email at

George R. Tuttle, III is an attorney with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in San Francisco. The information in this article is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.

Copyright 2005 by Tuttle Law Offices.

All rights reserved. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by our offices or by others, we do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information and are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of such information.


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