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HQ 085401

December 26, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085401 AJS


TARIFF NO: 8537.10.00; 8543.80.90

Mr. Gordon W. Larson
Rudolph Miles & Sons
4950 Gateway East
P.O. Box 144
El Paso, Texas 79942

RE: Photoelectric controls

Dear Mr. Larson:

Your letter of August 22, 1989, requesting a review of N.Y. Ruling 843182 has been referred to this office for reply.


The articles in question are Photoelectric Controls (PECs) of the R40/T40 and T31/T32 series.

The T31/T32 series are basically amplifiers. They accept as an input, a photodetector signal from one reflective scanner or thrubeam pair. They function by filtering, amplifying, and shaping the photodetector signal so that it can drive an open collector output transistor. The device can be used to drive an external electromechanical or solid state relay.

The T40 series are also amplifiers that function by accepting, filtering, amplifying, and shaping an input signal from an optoelectronic sensor in order to drive an output transistor. In addition, they function as power supplies that rectify AC line voltage input plus filter and regulate the resultant DC output. The power function provides operating voltages for internal use and for the sensors that furnish the PECs with the optoelectronic signals for processing.

The R40 series differs from the T40 series in that they possess either a electromechanical or solid state relay output device, instead of an open collector transistor circuit.


Whether the articles in question are classifiable within subheading 8537.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for "[b]oards, panels (including numerical control panels), consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8535 or 8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity, including those incorporating instruments or apparatus of chapter 90, other than switching apparatus of heading 8517."; or within 8543.80.90, HTSUSA, which provides for "[e]lectric machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: [o]ther machines and apparatus: [o]ther."


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 8537, HTSUSA, basically provides for a wide variety of control panels. Explanatory Note (EN) 85.37 states that "[t]hese consist of an assembly of apparatus of the kind referred to in the two preceding headings (e.g., switches and fuses) on a board, panel, console, etc., or mounted in a cabinet, desk, etc." In addition, "[t]he goods of this heading vary from small switchboards with only a few switches, fuses, etc.(e.g., for lighting installations) to complex control panels for machine- tools, rolling mills, power stations, radio stations, etc., including assemblies of several of the articles cited in the text of this heading." En 85.37.

You state that the articles in question amplify a signal. The Court of International Trade has defined an amplifier as "[a] device capable of increasing the magnitude or power level of a physical quantity, such as electric current . . . that is varying with time, without distorting the wave shape of the quantity." A & A International Inc., v. United States, 676 F.Supp 265, (CIT 1987). Furthermore, the Court stated that an amplifier is "[a] device that enables an input signal to control power from a source independent of the signal and thus be capable of delivering an output that bears some relationship to, and is
generally greater than, the input signal." Id at 266. A device which amplifies a signal satisfies the description of apparatus for electrical control or the distribution of electricity.

The articles in question are encased in a housing and either socket or screw mounted. These factors satisfy the requirement of heading 8537 that an article be a board, panel or other base. Furthermore, the articles are also equipped with two or more of the apparatus of heading 8536. This factor satisfies the other requirement of heading 8537. Thus, the articles in question possess all the requirements for classification within the terms of heading 8537.

Heading 8543, HTSUSA, provides for electrical machines possessing individual functions. EN 85.43 states that "[t]his heading covers all electrical apparatus, not falling, in any other heading of this chapter, nor covered more specifically by a heading of any other Chapter of the Nomenclature, nor excluded by the operation of a Legal Note to Section XVI or to this Chapter." The articles in question fall within the terms of heading 8537. Therefore, they are excluded from coverage within 8543.

You argue that the articles in question are specifically provided for as amplifiers within the statistical breakout of subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUSA. However, statistical breakouts are established by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) "for statistical purposes" only and not for the purpose of determining classification. 19 CFR 1484(e). Thus, the inclusion of a statistical breakout for amplifiers within the so-called "basket provision" for electrical machines not specified elsewhere is not dispositive of the classification issue present in this case.


The photoelectric controls in question are classifiable within subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUSA, dutiable at 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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