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HQ 954991

FEBRUARY 1, 1994

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 954991 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8531.90.00

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

RE: PRD 3501-92-100131; Decoder/Encoder Unit, Type A, Type B; Analog/Digital Signal Converting Apparatus Used With Aircraft Passenger Address and Visual Signaling Systems; Heading 8517, Apparatus for Line Telephony or Telegraphy; Section XVI, Note 2(b); Parts of Civil Aircraft, Heading 8803, Civil Aircraft Agreement (CAA); Victoria Distributors v. United States, 57 CCPA 76, 425 F. 2d 759, Clipper Belt Lacer Co., Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 90-22; HQ 954719

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3501-92-100131, filed against your action in classifying certain Decoder/Encoder Units (DEU) from Germany used aboard the Airbus A-320 aircraft. The entry under protest was liquidated on March 20, 1992, and this protest timely filed on May 13, 1992.


The Decoder/Encoder Units (DEU) are designated Type A and Type B, and are said to be integral components of the A-320's Cabin Intercommunications Data System (CIDS), apparatus which controls audio and visual communications between pilot or flight attendants and passengers. In HQ 954719, dated February 1, 1994, we held that the CIDS was classifiable in subheading 8531.80.00, HTSUS, as other electric sound or visual signaling apparatus. The contents of HQ 954719 are incorporated by reference in this decision.

The DEU-A and B were entered under a duty-free provision in heading 8803 for parts of airplanes and helicopters. Counsel for protestant supports this classification by arguing that the described audio and visual communications function contributes to the safe and efficient operation of the A-320 aircraft, citing - 2 -

Victoria Distributors, Inc. v United States, 57 CCPA 76, 425 F. 2d 759 (1970). Alternatively, counsel maintains that the process of decoding data in digital format and converting it to analog format, and vice versa, is a data processing function appropriate to goods of heading 8471. Your office liquidated the entry under a heading 8517 provision for electrical switching apparatus for line telephony or telegraphy.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8471.10.00 Analog or hybrid automatic data processing machines...Free under the CAA

8517.30.20 Electric apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy: Telephonic or telegraphic switching apparatus: Private branch exchange switching apparatus...8.5 percent

8531.20.00 Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus: Parts...2.7 percent

8803.30.00 Parts of goods of heading 8801 or 8802: Other parts of airplanes or helicopters...Free


Whether the DEU-A and B are parts principally used with a machine or apparatus of chapter 85.


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.

Articles of heading 8471 and articles of chapter 85 are precluded from classification in subheading 8803.30.00. Section XVII, Notes 2(e) and (f), HTSUS. Therefore, if the DEU-A and B are provided for in subheading 8471.10.00 or in any heading of chapter 85, they cannot be classified in subheading 8803.30.00. - 3 -

The classification of goods that are identifiable as parts of machines of chapters 84 or 85 is governed by Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUS. As a preliminary issue, data processing machines and units thereof provided for in heading 8471 handle information of all kinds in pre-established logical sequences. These are machines which utilize pre-established instructions or programs to furnish data to be used as such or to serve as data for other processing operations. While data processing machines use mostly electronic signals, there is no evidence of, or argument that, signal converting apparatus such as the ones in issue here process data for purposes of heading 8471.

The DEU-A and B are devices that have a functional interrelationship with larger apparatus that allows both audio and visual communication with the passengers. The available evidence indicates it is the DEU-A and B that initiates this communication or permits the pilot and flight attendants access to the audio and visual communications apparatus. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that the DEU-A and B qualify as parts for tariff purposes, in that they are integral, constituent and component parts necessary to the completion and proper functioning of the larger apparatus with which they are used. Clipper Belt Lacer Co., Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 90-22, decided March 13, 1990.

Analog/digital signal converting apparatus is not provided for as such in any heading of chapters 84 or 85. Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUS. In view of our findings in HQ 954719 concerning the CIDS, we conclude that the DEU-A and B are parts used principally, if not solely, with visual signaling apparatus of heading 8531. Section XVI, Note 2(b), HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Decoder/Encoder Units DEU- A and B are parts provided for in heading 8531. They are classifiable in subheading 8531.90.00, HTSUS. Because the rate of duty under this provision is higher than the claimed rate but less than the liquidated rate you should deny the protest except to the extent that reclassification of the goods as indicated results in a partial allowance.

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 - 4 -

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John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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