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HQ 956765

August 17, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956765 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8536.30.80

Mr. Gordon W. Larson
Rudolph Miles & Sons, Inc.
4950 Gateway East
P.O. Box 11507
El Paso, TX 79983

RE: Shield Capacitor-Isolator; Resistor/Capacitor Network; Protection of Electrical Circuits; HQ 950247; Explanatory Notes 85.36(II) and 85.43; 8543.80.95

Dear Mr. Larson:

This is in response to your letter of July 6, 1994, on behalf of Murata Erie Texas, Inc., to the District Director of Customs, El Paso, Texas, concerning the classification of a Shield Capacitor-Isolator (SC-Isolator) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter was referred to this office for a response.


The merchandise consists of an SC-Isolator, imported from Japan. The SC-Isolator is comprised of a doughnut-type electrical capacitor/resistor network mounted in a metal shield box. It is made up of a ceramic capacitor (1800 picofarads, with a tolerance of plus 80% or minus 20 %), upon which has been printed a resistive element (two to four megohms), which is mounted on a metal coupler. This assembly is then installed in the metal shield box with molded resin. The resin also forms an insulation between the shield box and the metal coupler.

The capacitor/resistor network acts to prevent possible electric shock when the antenna terminal of a television receiver, in which the network is installed, is touched. The values of the capacitor and the resistor comprising the network have been selected to block low frequencies such as 60 Hz, the line voltage frequency, but to allow the passage of high frequencies. The merchandise also protects a transmission line, from the antenna cable to the television tuner, from direct coupling of the broadcast wave.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8543.80.95: [e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: [o]ther machines and apparatus:
[o]ther: [o]ther.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

8536.30.80: [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: [o]ther apparatus for protecting electrical circuits: [o]ther.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 5.3 percent ad valorem.


Whether the SC-Isolator is classifiable under subheading 8543.80.95, HTSUS, as an other electrical apparatus, not specified elsewhere in chapter 85, HTSUS, or under subheading 8536.30.80, HTSUS, as other electrical apparatus for protecting electrical circuits.


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 is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive or legally binding, 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). In part, Explanatory Note 85.36(II) (p. 1390) states that:

[t]he heading includes other devices for preventing overload of circuits . . .

Based upon the description given of the merchandise, the SC- Isolator is used for grounding and protection purposes. It prevents possible electric shock, and it protects electrical circuits. Therefore, it is our position that it is classifiable under subheading 8536.30.80, HTSUS. See HQ 950247, which held that a base station isolator was classifiable under subheading 8536.30.00, HTSUS (the precursor to subheading 8536.30.80, HTSUS).

You note that because resistor/capacitor networks are provided for in the statistical breakout to subheading 8543.80.9520, HTSUS, the SC-Isolator is so classifiable. We disagree. First, for classification purposes, statistical breakouts do not carry any legal significance. Second, the merchandise is not just a capacitor/resistor network, but is a shield capacitor-isolator whose principal function is that of protecting electrical circuits.

In part Explanatory Note 85.43 (p. 1402) states that:

[t]his heading covers all electrical appliances and apparatus, not falling in any other heading of this Chapter, nor covered more specifically by a heading of any other Chapter of the Nomenclature, nor excluded by the operation of a Legal Note to Section XVI or to this Chapter. . .

Because the SC-Isolator is classifiable under heading 8536, HTSUS, it is precluded from classification under heading 8543, HTSUS.


The SC-Isolator is classifiable under subheading 8536.30.80, HTSUS, as other electrical apparatus for protecting electrical circuits.


John Durant, Director

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