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HQ 087830

DEC 5 1990

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 087830 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8544.45.5678, HTSUSA

Jean Aiello
The Wilson Group USA., Inc.
1 Exchange Place
Jersey City, N.J. 07302

RE: Isolated Phase Bus, Continuous Enclosure Type; Insulated Electrical Conductor; Apparatus For Making Connections to or in Electrical Circuits

Dear Ms. Aiello:

In your letter of August 3, 1990, on behalf of COMSIP, INC., Linden, New Jersey, you inquire as to the tariff classification of electrical conductors from Mexico, Brazil or France. Our ruling follows.


Submitted literature describes the GEGELEC continuous enclosure type isolated-phase bus for use in generating sets installed in thermal, hydraulic and nuclear power stations. Its principal purpose is to conduct electricity between the generator and the main and auxiliary transformers. It has been suggested that the bus also serves to make an electrical connection between the generator and transformers.

Each bus is an assembly consisting of a rigid conductor, connections and porcelain insulators, all enclosed in a circular aluminum duct. The conductor itself consists of a bare octagonal duct made up of two 99.5 percent pure aluminum sections held together by welded spacers. The connections consist of copper or aluminum braids for maximum short-circuit withstand capability. The conductor is mounted on and supported by symmetrical shed porcelain insulators which also provide insulation for the connections. They do not insulate the conductor. For lower rated self-cooled isolated phase buses, a mat or matt paint provides a dull surface to the conductor which serves to increase its heat transfer emission capability. Each enclosed bus is electrically isolated and separated from adjacent enclosures by an air space.


Whether the isolated-phase bus is an insulated electric conductor for tariff purposes; whether it is electrical apparatus for making connections to or in electrical circuits.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined 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 Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80.

Heading 8544 provides for insulated wire, cable and other insulated electric conductors. Relevant ENs indicate the heading covers electric wire, cable and other conductors in electrical machinery, apparatus or installations, provided they are insulated. The goods of heading 8544 contain one or more coverings of insulating material the aim of which is to prevent leakage of electric current from the conductor and to protect it from damage. The insulating materials most often used are rubber, paper, plastics, asbestos, mica, micanite, glass fibre yarns, textile yarns, varnish, enamel, pitch, oil, etc. In certain cases the insulation is obtained by anodising or by a similar process (e.g., the production of a surface coating of metallic oxides or salts). The matt paint performs no insulation function. Moreover, the air space between the inner conductor and the outer aluminum duct is insufficient in this regard, at least for purposes of heading 8544.

Heading 8535 provides, among other things, for electrical apparatus for making connections to or in electrical circuits, for a voltage exceeding 1,000 volts. This heading covers electrical apparatus generally used in power distribution systems. It includes but is not limited to fuses and automatic circuit breakers, make-and-break switches, lightning arresters, voltage limiters, isolating switches and surge suppressors.

The ENs to heading 8536 (a provision equivalent to heading 8535 but for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 volts) apply, by appropriate substitution of terms, as regards the technical characteristics and the functioning of apparatus for making connections to or in electrical circuits. Relevant ENs indicate that such apparatus is used to connect together the various parts of an electrical circuit, and includes plugs, sockets and other contacts, other connectors, terminals, terminal strips, and junction boxes. These articles all share the common function of facilitating electrical connections. The isolated phase bus in issue here contains or incorporates such connectors but is not itself the connectors. Its function is to transfer electrical current. The merchandise here is to be distinguished from articles known as bus bars or bus connectore, classified under the HTSUSA's predecessor tariff code as articles for making connections to or in electrical circuits.

Heading 8543 provides for electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [Chapter 85]. The heading covers all electrical appliances and apparatus not falling in any other heading of chapter 85, not covered more specifically by a heading of any other chapter of the Nomenclature, and not excluded by a legal note to section XVI or to chpater 85. Goods of this heading must have individual functions. This includes apparatus whose function can be performed independently of any other machine or appliance, as well as apparatus mounted on another machine or appliance provided the function is distinct from that performed by the machine or appliance. The isolated-phase bus here is electrical apparatus for tariff purposes.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the GEGELEC continuous enclosure type isolated-phase bus is provided for in heading 8543. Actual classification is in subheading 8543.80.9080, HTSUSA, electrical apparatus having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [Chapter 85]. The rate of duty is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

Articles from Brazil classifiable in subheading 8543.80.90 are eligible for duty-free entry under the Generalized System
of Preferences (GSP) upon compliance with the law and applicable regulations. Copies of these provisions are enclosed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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