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HQ 957070

JANUARY 23, 1995

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 957070 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 9031.80.00

Mr. Miguel Ruiz
Miami International Forwarders
Sig M. Glukstad, Inc.
P.O. Box 523730
Miami, FL. 33152-3730

RE: Smoke Detection Control Unit (SDCU) for Airbus A-320; Signal Analyzer/Converter; Apparatus for Sending Warning Signals from Smoke Detector to Airplane Cockpit; Measuring and Checking Instrument, Heading 9031; Automatic Data Processing Machine, Heading 8471; Section XVI, Note 1(m), HQ 954175, Civil Aircraft Agreement (CAA)

Dear Mr. Ruiz:

In a letter dated September 21, 1994, on behalf of Sextant Avionique, you ask for reconsideration of a ruling issued to you on the Smoke Detection and Control Unit (SDCU) from France. You ask that we consider whether the merchandise might be classifiable as an automatic data processor.

In NY 885345, dated May 18, 1993, the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, determined that the SDCU was classifiable in subheading 9022.29.40, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), a provision for ionization type smoke detectors. It was issued on the understanding that the SDCU and the smoke detectors it interfaced with were being imported together. NY 885345 does not govern classification of the SDCU imported separately.


The article in issue is the Smoke Detection Control Unit (SDCU), part no. RAI 2800, for use aboard the Airbus A-320 aircraft. From literature you submitted, supplemented by conversations with company representatives, the SDCU is apparatus that processes signals received from smoke detectors positioned throughout the plane and relays them to the cockpit. The SDCU receives an analog signal emitting from a sensor on an activated smoke detector. The SDCU converts this signal to digital format then measures it against guidelines programmed into its memory to determine the severity. The SDCU transmits signals representing conditions it determines to be moderate to a maintenance log for - 2 -
later evaluation by ground crews. It also transmits these signals as well as signals representing more severe conditions to the cockpit where they are displayed. There is no evidence that the SDCU contains optical elements. It controls no output devices, nor does it take any independent action regarding the condition indicated by the smoke detectors.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8471 Automatic data processing machines and units thereof;

8471.10.00 Analog or hybrid automatic data processing machines...Free (CAA)

9031 Measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 90]:

9031.80.00 Other instruments, appliances and machines ...Free (CAA)

Whether the SDCU is a measuring or checking instrument of heading 9031.


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 chapter 90 are precluded from classification in heading 8471. Section XVI, Note 1(m), HTSUS. Therefore, irrespective of whether the SDCU is a good of heading 8471, if it is provided for in heading 9031 or any other provision of chapter 90 it must be classified there.

For purposes of heading 9031, instruments or appliances that estimate or appraise a variable or quantity by comparing it to an established criterion perform a measuring function. By function and design, the SDCU performs a measuring function appropriate to goods of heading 9031. This merchandise is similar to, if somewhat less sophisticated than, the Systems Data Acquisition Concentrator (SDAC), which we held to be a measuring instrument - 3 -
of heading 9031. HQ 954175, dated May 25, 1993. Like the SDCU, the SDAC is used aboard the A-320 Airbus to measure and report airline systems failures such as loss of cabin pressure or engine flameout.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Smoke Detection Control Unit (SDCU) is provided for in heading 9031. It is classifiable in subheading 9031.80.00, HTSUS. Goods classifiable in this provision are eligible for free entry under the CAA upon compliance with the law and applicable Customs Regulations.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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