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HQ 958711

FEBRUARY 6, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958711 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8537.10.90

Ms. Joan McLeod
Northern Telecom Inc.
77 Oriskany Drive
Tonawanda, NY 14150

RE: NY 863577, HQ 089938 Revoked; Elastomer, Klik Key Rubber Switch, Electrical Apparatus for Completing Electric Circuits; Switches, Heading 8536; Electrical Insulators, Heading 8546; Bases for Electric Control or Distribution of Electricity, Heading 8537, Nidec Corporation v. U.S., Section XVI, Note 2

Dear Ms. McLeod:

In NY 863577, dated June 20, 1991, the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, responded to your request of May 16, 1991, and advised you that a molded silicone rubber pad with collapsible protrusions or domes, referred to as an elastomer or a Klik Key Rubber Switch, was classifiable in subheading 8517.90.30, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as parts of telephone sets. In HQ 089938, issued to you on March 11, 1992, we confirmed the holding in NY 863577.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of HQ 863577 and HQ 089938 was published on January 3, 1996, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 30, Number 1. The one comment received in response to this notice favored the proposal. The commenter noted that the merchandise in issue is plainly described by the language of heading 8537, and that neither the heading text nor the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes contains limiting language that reduces the scope of heading 8537 to encompass only large scale equipment. - 2 -


The elastomer or Klik Key Rubber Switch, is described in HQ 089938 as a silicone rubber pad with collapsible protrusions or domes. The rubber acts as an insulating material while the domes contain conductive rubber contacts and function as individual switches that move under finger pressure to complete an electrical circuit between the keys and the switch board of a telephone. An examination of a sample submitted in connection with the request for reconsideration indicated it was designed for use with telephone sets.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8517 Electrical apparatus for line telephony or telegraphy, including such apparatus for carrier-current line systems; parts thereof:

8517.90 Parts:

Other parts, incorporating printed circuit assemblies:

8517.90.12 Parts for telephone sets...8.5 percent

8537 Boards, panels (including numerical control panels), consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8535 or 8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity * * *:

8537.10 For a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V:

8537.10.90 Other...4.8 percent


Whether the elastomer is a good included in heading 8537.


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. - 3 -

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Subject to certain exceptions that are not relevant here, goods that are identifiable parts of machines or apparatus of Chapter 84 or Chapter 85 are classifiable in accordance with Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUS. Nidec Corporation v. United States, 861 F. Supp. 136, aff'd. 68 F. 3d 1333 (1995). Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of Chapters 84 and 85 are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings. See Note 2(a). Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading, are to be classified with the machines of that kind. See Note 2(b).

It was stated on p. 3 of HQ 089938 that the subject elastomer does not satisfy the terms of heading 8537. It is used solely or principally with telephone sets. While we agree with the second statement, we disagree that the elastomer is not a good included in heading 8537. Relevant ENs at p. 1391, state that the goods of heading 85.37 consist of an assembly of apparatus of the kind referred to in headings 85.35 and 85.36 (e.g., switches and fuses) on a board, panel, console, etc., or mounted in a cabinet, desk, etc., for electric control or distribution of electricity. The elastomer in issue consists of collapsible protrusions or domes on a rubber pad, each dome constituting a switch, and each containing a conductive rubber contact. The elastomer meets the description in heading 8537 as a base equipped with two or more apparatus of headings 8535 or 8536 (i.e., switches) for electric control or the distribution of electricity, as required by Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the elastomer or Klik Key Rubber Switch is provided for in heading 8537. It is classifiable in subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS.

NY 863577, dated June 20, 1991, and HQ 089938, dated March 11, 1992, are hereby revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification
Appeals Division

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