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HQ 953933

August 10, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 953933 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 9107.00.80

Mr. Angel A. Oliva-Hardison
Angelo International
265 E. 12th Street
P.O. Box 8378
Brownsville, TX 78520-8378

RE: Dishwasher Control Panel; Escutcheon Assembly; Time Switches; EN 91.07; eo nomine; heading 8422; heading 9032; HQ 556694 Modified

Dear Mr. Oliva-Hardison:

This is in response to your letter, dated April 12, 1993, on behalf of Condura S.A. de C.V. Eaton Corporation, requesting the tariff classification of dishwasher control panels under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise, described as the E2 and E3 Escutcheon, is the main control panel for a dishwasher. The dishwasher panel consists of 17 parts or pieces which include a printed circuit board (PCB). The PCB (or logic board) is the main component which is joined with a light emitting diode (LED) board assembly, a keyboard assembly and other parts to form the control assembly. The PCB assembly controls all the time features of this unit which in turns controls the timing of the cycles, options and functions of the dishwasher. The control assembly is then connected to a thermistor assembly, harnesses, detergent trip motor, plastic Escutcheon and other parts to form the Escutcheon assembly.

The purpose of the Escutcheon assembly (or dishwasher panel) is to control the dishwasher's functions and display the current function that is activated. The Escutcheon assembly controls the water temperature, wash cycles, and drives the detergent trip motor to dispense detergent at predetermined intervals.


Is the Escutcheon dishwasher panel classifiable as a time switch or as part of a dishwasher under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

The following headings are under consideration:

8422: Dishwashing machines. . . parts thereof:

9032: Other automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus. . .

9107: Time switches with clock or watch movement or with synchronous motor. . .

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. EN 91.07, page 1547, states as follows:

This heading covers devices which do not have the character of clocks of heading 91.05, but are mainly designed to make or break electric circuits automatically at given times, usually at times determined according to a previously established daily or weekly programme. To be included in this heading these devices must have a movement of the watch or clock type (including secondary or synchronous motor clock movements) or a synchronous motor with or without reduction gear.

The heading also includes switches for making and breaking the circuit supplying electrical apparatus (television receivers, irons, washing machines, billiard table lights, etc.), switching on when coins are inserted and switching off through the action of a synchronous motor, the interval being determined by the number of coins inserted.

A tariff term that is not defined in the HTSUS or in the EN's is construed in accordance with its common and commercial meaning. Nippon Kogaku (USA) Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982). Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources. C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F.2d 1268 (1982).

In Admiral Division of Magic Chef, Inc. v. United States, 14 CIT 868, 875, 754 F.Supp. 881 (1990), the Court defined "time switch", based on its common meaning, as "an electric switch that automatically operates at a set time." The Court held that defrost timers for refrigerators, which make or break electric circuits by activating two sets of electrical contact points automatically upon the completion of some preset time interval and equipped with a synchronous or subsynchronous motor, are provided for eo nomine as "time switches".

The dishwasher panel contains a PCB assembly which controls all the time features of this unit which in turn controls the preset timing of the cycles, options and functions of the dishwasher. Based upon EN 91.07 and Admiral Division, we find that the dishwasher panel meets the definition of a time switch. The dishwasher panels are provided for eo nomine under subheading 9107.00.80, HTSUS, as time switches.

You indicate that the dishwasher panels are classifiable as parts of a dishwasher under heading 8422, HTSUS, or as other automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus under heading 9032, HTSUS. In HQ 556694, dated August 27, 1992, Customs stated that the subject dishwasher panel appears, from the description provided, to be classified as a part of a dishwasher under heading 8422, HTSUS. After reviewing all the information now available, we find that the classification of the dishwasher panel in HQ 556694 is no longer valid. Classification under heading 8422, HTSUS, and heading 9032, HTSUS, is inapplicable because the subject merchandise is specifically provided for under heading 9107, HTSUS.


The Escutcheon control panels for dishwashers are classifiable under subheading 9107.00.80, HTSUS, which provides for: "[t]ime switches with clock or watch movement or with synchronous motor: [v]alued over $5 each. . . ." The general, column one rate of duty is $0.15 each plus 4 percent ad valorem. This is not a Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) eligible provision.

HQ 556694, dated August 27, 1992, is modified pursuant to section 177.9(d) of the Customs Regulations [19 CFR 177.9(d)], as set forth in this ruling.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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