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HQ 951869

August 14, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951869 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 8537.10.00

Mr. Bruce H. Leeds
Manager, Export/Import Operations
Hughes Aircraft Company
P.O. Box 80028
Los Angeles, CA 90080-0028

RE: Squib Driver Units; Subheading 8803.90.30; parts of communications satellites; Section XVII, note 2(f); HQ 088477.

Dear Mr. Leeds:

This is in reply to your letter of May 14, 1992, requesting the tariff classification of "Squib Driver Units" within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The subject Squib Driver Units (SDUs) consist of several "slice" assemblies joined together as a single unit. A "slice" consists of a populated circuit board constructed in such a manner that two or more slices can be combined to make a unit. The subject SDUs are used in communications satellites to fire squibs. A communication satellite contains a number of squibs which are small explosive charges used to sever fasteners on the satellite allowing the units held by the fasteners to deploy. Specifically, the SDUs receive a command signal from a separate receiver, charge capacitors for a triggering charge to the squibs, activate switches to direct the electrical triggering charge to the squibs, disconnect the squibs by means of a timing circuit, and monitor the status of squibs indicating whether they are active or inert.


Whether the SDUs are properly classifiable within heading 8537, HTSUS, which provides for "[b]oards, panels . . . and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8535 or

8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity . . ."; or within heading 8803, HTSUS, which provides for parts of the goods of heading 8801 or 8802 (e.g., satellites).


Heading 8537, HTSUS, provides for "[b]oards, 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 . . ." The subject SDUs satisfy this description. They are an assembly of populated printed circuit boards in a unit used for the control of electricity to the squibs. The claim that the SDUs perform other functions outside the scope of this heading, such as the charging of capacitors and the reception of a signal command from a receiver, is not determinative inasmuch as these functions merely aid in the control of electricity to the squibs. In addition, the fact that the SDUs may perform a function of chapter 90 is also not determinative inasmuch as the terms of this heading allow for the inclusion of instruments or apparatus of chapter 90. Accordingly, we find that the subject SDUs satisfy the terms of this heading. More specifically, they are provided for within subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for apparatus of this heading, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V.

Subheading 8803.90.30, HTSUS, provides for parts of communications satellites. Section XVII, of which this subheading is a part, states that the expression "parts" does not apply to electrical machinery or equipment (chapter 85), and this is the case whether or not this machinery or equipment is identifiable as for goods of this section. Section note 2(f). As discussed previously, the subject SDUs are electrical equipment of heading 8537, HTSUS. Consequently, they are excluded from classification within subheading 8803.90.30, HTSUS, by the application of Section note 2(f).

HQ 088477 (May 9, 1991), is cited as precedent for classification of the SDUs within subheading 8803.90.30, HTSUS. However, the wiring harness in that decision contained articles that performed several significant functions which were not within the purview of functions performed by wiring harnesses. As noted above, the charging of the electric capacitors, reception of the signal command and other functions performed by the SDUs essentially aid in the control and distribution of electricity to the squibs. They are not significant other functions. Therefore, we do not view this ruling as precedential for determining the classification of the SDUs.


The Squib Driver Units are classifiable within subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for boards, panels and other bases for the electric control of electricity, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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