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HQ 086465

June 20, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086465 CMS


TARIFF NO.: 9027.90.40

District Director Of Customs
3600 E. Paisano, Bldg. B, Room 134
Bridge of the Americas
P.O. Box 9516
El Paso, TX 79985

RE: Resistive Heater Element With Wires And Connectors

Dear Sir:

This responds to your Request for Internal Advice No. 27/89, CLA-1-EP:C:C JE, dated May 31, 1989, regarding certain resistive heater assemblies. Our ruling follows.


The merchandise is described as a "resistive heater element with lead wires and a connector". It functions as part of an automobile exhaust oxygen sensor device with which fuel efficiency can be improved and emissions controlled. The oxygen sensor device senses the oxygen in the exhaust system and reports a signal to the automotive computer. The fuel supply is adjusted accordingly.

The merchandise consists of a 13" long assembly of an electric heating resistor, metal hood, three insulated wires and electric connectors. The heating resistor is a gray ceramic rod approximately 2 1/4" long and 1/8" in diameter with a metal resistive element at its tip. Two of three 9" wires are attached to one end of the gray rod and the third wire is connected to a metal sleeve approximately 1/2" long which fits around the rod. A three terminal plug is fitted to the other ends of the three wires.

After importation, the heating resistor is inserted into a domestic manufactured oxygen sensor head. The two wires of the imported assembly which are connected to the end of the heating resistor carry 13 volts of current to the resistor. The resistor
heats the oxygen sensor head to its most efficient operating temperature of approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The oxygen sensor head then senses oxygen in the exhaust system and reports a signal to the automotive computer through the third wire.


Is the merchandise classified as part of an automatic controlling or regulating apparatus in Heading 9032, an electric heating resistor in Heading 8516, insulated wires with connectors in Heading 8544, or as an apparatus for physical or chemical analysis or parts thereof in Heading 9027?


The merchandise under consideration functions as part of the sensing device for a system which automatically controls or regulates the fuel supply and thus the amount of oxygen in an automotive exhaust system. Heading 9032 describes apparatus for automatically controlling or regulating the flow or other variables of liquids or gases. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 9032, p. 1534, provide that such apparatus are functional units consisting of: (a) a measuring device, (b) a control device, and (c) a starting, stopping or operating device.

The "measuring" components for Heading 9032 automatic regulating apparatus, when entered separately, are classified in their respective headings and not as parts in Heading 9032. Chapter 90 Note 3 provides that the functional unit provisions of Section XVI Note 4 apply to Chapter 90. The Explanatory Notes to Section XVI Note 4, p. 1134 provide that "...component parts not complying with the terms of Note 4 to Section XVI fall in their own appropriate headings." Further, the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9032, p. 1536 provide that automatic regulators of electrical quantities which do not conform to the definition of Heading 9032 automatic regulating apparatus are not classified as a single entity or unit; the components are classified separately with the "measuring" components falling in their respective headings and not in Heading 9032 as parts.

There are several headings which merit consideration.

The importer argues that the merchandise is classified as electric heating resistors in Heading 8516. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 8516, p. 1360 provide:

Resistors remain classified here even if specialized for a particular machine or apparatus, but if assembled with parts other than a simple insulated former and electrical connections they are classified as parts of the machines or apparatus in question...

In addition to the two wires which supply current to the heating resistor, the merchandise incorporates a wire with electrical connectors for transmitting the signals from the oxygen sensor head to the automotive computer; this component plays no part in the resistive heating action. Further, the merchandise includes a metal hood which, in addition to covering the heating resistor wire connections, fits over the oxygen sensor wire connection. The electric heating resistor is assembled with parts other than a simple insulated former and electrical connections and the merchandise is not classified in Heading 8516.

The question of whether the merchandise should be classified as insulated wire fitted with connectors in Heading 8544 has also been raised. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 8544, p. 1404, provide:

Wire, cable, etc., remain classified in this heading if cut to length or fitted with connectors (e.g., plugs, sockets, lugs, jacks, sleeves or terminals) at one or both ends. The heading also includes wire, etc., of the types described above made up in sets (e.g., multiple cables for connecting motor vehicle sparking plugs to the distributor).

The electrical heating resistor and metal hood can in no way be described as mere "connectors" and the merchandise is not classified in Heading 8544.

The complete oxygen sensing device of which the merchandise under consideration is a part is described by Heading 9027. The measuring function which the apparatus performs is the detection and analysis of the amount of oxygen. Heading 9027 describes apparatus for physical and chemical analysis and parts thereof. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 9027, p. 1514, provide that Heading 9027 includes:

Gas or smoke analysis apparatus. These are used to analyse gases or combustion by-products (burnt gases)...in particular, for determining their content of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, oxygen...

Certain sensors for automatic regulating or controlling apparatus entered individually are not precluded from Heading 9027 merely because they do not report a value on a display or other indicator. For example, the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9027, p. 1515 provide for "[e]lectronic smoke detectors" which, according to the density of smoke, "...operat[e] a graduated
indicator or a recording system and, in certain cases, a regulating valve" (emphasis added). Further, the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9027, p. 1516 provide for "pH meters" which "[i]n addition to measuring...may also be used for automatic control."

The articles under consideration are parts of electrical apparatus for physical and chemical analysis and are classified in 9027.90.40, HTSUSA. The articles are not classified as parts of vehicles in Chapter 87 because Section XVII Note 2(g) excludes Chapter 90 articles from Section XVII.


The merchandise is classified as part of electrical apparatus for physical or chemical analysis, in 9027.90.40, HTSUSA.


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