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HQ 955389

June 29, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955389 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 7419.99.50

Mr. Michael G. Lubitz
Kyocera Industrial Ceramics Corporation
5713 East Fourth Plain Boulevard
Vancouver, WA 98661

RE: Adapter; Fiber Optic Connector; Article of Copper; Headings 8536, 8544, 8548, 9001; EN 74.19, 85.36(III)

Dear Mr. Lubitz:

This is in response to your letter dated November 11, 1993, concerning the tariff classification of a fiber optic adapter under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). In preparing this ruling, we also considered the supplemental information provided with your letter of March 2, 1994.


The adapter, Model No. D-4, is comprised of an outer housing made of nickel plated brass and a split sleeve made of phosphor bronze. The function of the adapter is to assist in the mechanical alignment and interconnection of optical fibers to facilitate transmission between the optical fibers. Inside the adapter is a metal bronze sleeve which has as its primary purpose to guide and hold two optical connectors. The optical fiber, which replaces electric conductors, are used to transmit voice, video, alphanumerize and graphic data.


Is the adapter classifiable as electrical apparatus for making connection to or in electrical circuits, or as parts of electrical apparatus not specified elsewhere, or as other articles of copper 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.

You indicate that the adapter may be classifiable under heading 8536, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits, or for making connections to or in electrical circuits (for example, switches, relays, fuses, surge suppressors, plugs, sockets, lamp-holders, junction boxes), for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V".

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. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed.Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN 85.36(III), page 1390, states, in pertinent part, that: "[t]his apparatus is used to connect together the various parts of an electrical circuit." The subject adapter does not connect together the various parts found in an electrical circuit. Instead, the adapter merely aligns the individual optical fibers which will allow the optical fibers to interact with each other. Therefore, classification under heading 8536, HTSUS, is precluded.

Classification of the adapter as a part or accessory of the optical fibers was also suggested. Heading 9001, HTSUS, provides for "[o]ptical fibers and optical fiber bundles; optical fiber cables other than those of heading 85.44". Heading 8544, HTSUS, provides for optical fiber cables used for telecommunications. Because the adapters are to be used in conjunction with optical fibers to transmit voice, video, alphanumerize and graphic data, you suggest classification under chapter 85 is more appropriate.

You argue that the adapter is classifiable under subheading 8548.00.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical parts of machinery or apparatus, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter. . . ." However, the adapter does not contain any electrical elements or interact with the transmission of the light through the optical fibers. The adapter merely assists in the mechanical alignment and interconnection of two optical fibers. EN (B) to Chapter 85, pages 1332-1333, states as follows: "[n]on-electrical parts of the machines or apparatus of this Chapter are classified as follows: (i) [m]any are in fact articles falling in other Chapters. . . ." The adapter is a non- electrical part of apparatus of chapter 85 (i.e., fiber optic cables). Therefore, if the adapter is provided for in another chapter, it is classified there.
The adapter is comprised of two materials, nickel plated brass and phosphor bronze. Both materials are alloys of copper. Articles of copper are provided for under heading 7419, HTSUS. EN 74.19(5), page 1052, states as follows: "[t]his heading covers, in particular: [a]rticles of copper of the types listed in the Explanatory Notes to headings 73.25 and 73.26." EN 73.26 for articles of iron or steel, page 1038, states as follows: "[t]he heading includes: . . . iron or steel fittings for electric wiring (e.g., stays, clips, brackets) . . . ." We find that the adapter is a copper article used as a fitting for optical fibers. Therefore, the adapter is classifiable under subheading 7419.99.50, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of copper.


The adapter is classifiable under subheading 7419.99.50, HTSUS, which provides for: "[o]ther articles of copper: [o]ther: [o]ther: [o]ther. . . ." The general, column one rate of duty is 5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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