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HQ 954987

FEBRUARY 25, 1994

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 954987 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8537.10.00

Area Director of Customs
110 S. Fourth Street, Rm. 137
Minneapolis, MN 55401

RE: PRD 3501-92-100147; Forward Attendant Panel (FAP); Electrical Apparatus for Controlling Cabin Systems, Part of Cabin Intercommunication Data System (CIDS) Which Incorporates Telephonic, Sound and Visual Signaling Apparatus, Heading 8531, Section XVI, Note 2; Electrical Apparatus for Controlling Output Devices, Heading 8537; Section XVII, Note 2(f), Parts of Airplanes or Helicopters, Heading 8803, Civil Aircraft Agreement (CAA)

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3501-92-100147, filed on behalf of Northwest Airlines, Inc., against your action in classifying certain electrical control apparatus from Germany for use aboard the Airbus A-320 aircraft. The entry in question was liquidated on April 10, 1992, and this protest timely filed on May 22, 1992.


The merchandise in question is listed on the Customs Form 6445A as a "frame", designated part no. Z130H200112. In fact, it is the Forward Attendant Panel (FAP) described in Northwest's maintenance manual as electrical apparatus that is "...a component of the Cabin Intercommunication Data System (CIDS)" that "...enables flight attendants to control various cabin systems." In a submission, dated February 17, 1994, counsel for protestant confirms the FAP is a "main component" of the CIDS, the system "which controls communications between the crew...and passengers onboard the aircraft." Submission, at p. 1.

The FAP is modular and consists of a frame into which are incorporated an air temperature module, light module, audio module with space for a fourth miscellaneous module, as needed. All modules are connected by cables to a microcomputer. The literature indicates these modules "give the control" of cabin - 2 -
section and entry area illumination, window, ceiling and decor light, lavatory lights, attendant work light and reading light, prerecorded announcements, boarding music and passenger entertainment, and emergency lights, evacuation system, passenger call system and water and waste systems.

The FAP was entered under the duty-free provision for other parts of airplanes or helicopters, in subheading 8803.30.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The concerned import specialist determined that the FAP was actually a control panel for the CIDS and liquidated the entry under subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUS, as a panel for electric control or the distribution of electricity. Counsel now maintains that in addition to its function of allowing flight attendants to illuminate lights and audio/visual communications, the FAP performs a signaling function in that it enables passengers to "Call" flight attendants and serves as a visual display when the pilot signals evacuation or when the attendants want to signal the pilot of a cabin condition. Thus, the provision for indicator panels incorporating light emitting diodes, in subheading 8531.20.00, HTSUS, is claimed to be appropriate. This provision is free of duty under the Civil Aircraft Agreement

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8531 Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus:

8531.20.00 Indicator panels incorporating liquid crystal devices (LCD's) or light emitting diodes
(LED's)...Free under the CAA

8531.90.00 Parts...2.7 percent

8537 Boards, panels and consoles for electric control or the distribution of electricity:

8537.10.00 For a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V ...5.3 percent

8803 Parts of goods of heading 8801 or 8802:

8803.30.00 Other parts of airplanes or helicopters ...Free

Whether the FAP is a control device of heading 8537. - 3 -


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) 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.

For purposes of heading 8803, the expressions "parts" and "parts and accessories" do not apply to electrical machinery or equipment of chapter 85. Section XVII, Note 2(f), HTSUS. Thus, if the FAP is provided for in heading 8531, 8537 or in any other heading of chapter 85, it cannot be classified in heading 8803.

In HQ 954719, dated February 1, 1994, we determined that the Cabin Intercommunication Data System (CIDS) was a composite machine performing two functions (i.e., audio and visual) that are complementary, and that visual signaling was its principal function. The CIDS was found to be apparatus of heading 8531. The principles of HQ 954719 are incorporated by reference in this decision.

It is apparent from the submitted data, as confirmed in counsel's submission, that the FAP is an integral component or part of the CIDS. Subject to certain exceptions not relevant here, goods that are parts of machines of chapters 84 and 85 are to be classified according to Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUS. Parts that are goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 or 85 are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings. Note 2(a).

Notwithstanding the fact the FAP may be a part of apparatus of heading 8531, in accordance with Note 2(a) the threshold issue is whether the FAP is an electric control device of heading 8537. Heading 8537 includes boards and panels, among other apparatus, for electric control (Emphasis added). As stated in HQ 954719, the CIDS is a microprocessor controlled data bus system for the control, operation and testing of passenger address (PA), cabin, interphone, passenger call, passenger lighted signs, general illumination and emergency evacuation signaling. The CIDS incorporates both the audio and visual signaling media that allows the pilot and flight attendants to communicate with each other and with the passengers. The FAP permits flight attendants access to the CIDS. The FAP therefore qualifies as a panel for control of the electrical components incorporated in the CIDS. For this reason, it is a control device of heading 8537. - 4 -


Under the authority of GRI 1, the FAP is a panel for electric control, of heading 8537. It is classifiable in subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUS, as liquidated. This precludes subheading 8803.30.00 from consideration.

The protest is DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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