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 > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0951182 - HQ 0951307 > HQ 0951195

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 951195

June 15, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951195 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8708.99.50

Mr. Phillipe M. Bruno
Dorsey & Whitney
1330 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Gas Generator; Automotive Air Bag Restraint System; EN 84.05; NY 831797; 8405.10.00

Dear Mr. Bruno:

This is in response to your letter of February 18, 1992, concerning the classification of gas generators under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of gas generators. The generator is a device which, during a collision, produces the gas necessary to inflate the air bag of an automotive restraint system. It is generally situated in the center of the steering wheel and steering column of a motor vehicle, and in the dashboard on the passenger side of a motor vehicle. Upon impact, the gas generating material contained in the generator ignites and quickly burns to produce the gas necessary to inflate the air bag.

The generator consists of a circular or cylindrical metallic housing, containing an initiator, a combustion chamber, and a diffuser chamber. The initiator is an electro-explosive device which receives an electrical signal from the impact-detecting sensors, located in the front of the vehicle, starting the combustion process. The combustion chamber is an inner structural housing which contains a gas generating pyrotechnic material, in tablet form, composed of sodium azide, molybdenum disulfide, and sulphur. It also contains various stainless steel and aluminum filters, and cooling screens, which are used to direct gases, absorb heat, and filter particles from the gas generating tablets. The diffuser chamber is an additional filter area, designed to direct, cool, and filter escaping gas. It consists of additional filter screens and a deflector ring. The gases pass through this chamber to inflate the attached air bag.


Is the "gas generator" a gas generator for the purposes of heading 8405, HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

It is claimed that the merchandise is classifiable under subheading 8405.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[p]roducer gas or water gas generators, with or without their purifiers; acetylene gas generators and similar water process gas generators, with or without their purifiers."

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). In part, Explanatory Note 84.05 (p.1146), HTSUS, states that:

[t]his heading covers self-contained apparatus and plant for generating any kind of gas (e.g., producer gas, water gas and mixtures thereof, or acetylene) whatever the intended use of the gas produced . . . .

It is our position that the subject gas generator is not classifiable under subheading 8405.10.00, HTSUS. Although the note states that heading 8405, HTSUS, covers apparatus generating "any kind of gas", heading 8405, HTSUS, is very specific in only providing for producer gas generators, water gas generators, acetylene gas generators, and similar water process gas generators. The subject gas generator, which produces gases from the combustion of chemical pellets, is not provided for under heading 8405, HTSUS. The language of Explanatory Note 84.05, HTSUS, should not be interpreted to expand the language heading 8405, HTSUS.

Because the gas generator is not specifically provided for elsewhere in the HTSUS, we find that it is classifiable under subheading 8708.99.50, HTSUS, which provides for: "[p]arts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705: [o]ther: [o]ther: [o]ther." See NY 831797, dated September 6, 1988.


The subject gas generators are classifiable under subheading 8708.99.50, HTSUS. The general, column one rate of duty is 3.1 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: