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HQ 959092

May 16, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959092 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 9026.20.80

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service c/o Chief, Residual Liquidation and Protest Branch 6 World Trade Center
Room 761
New York, New York 10048-0945

RE: Protest 1001-96-100074; Aneroid Gauge; chapter 90, note 2; HQs 952091, 952672, 954174, 954377, 956881; heading 9018; sphygmomanometers

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 1001-96-100074, which concerns the classification of an aneroid gauge under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The subject merchandise was entered on April 26, 1995, and the entry was liquidated on October 6, 1995. The protest was timely filed on January 4, 1996.


Aneroid gauges are components of sphygmomanometers. Sphygmomanometers are medical instruments used for measuring blood pressure. They consist of the following components: a cuff within which is an inflatable bladder; bulb and valve assembly; and gauge (aneroid or mercurial manometer). The bladder applies uniform pressure to the limb, while the cuff secures the bladder around the limb. The bulb and valve assembly first inflates the bladder, then controls the release of air from the system. The aneroid gauge measures the air pressure within the cuff as it inflates against the patient's arm.

The aneroid gauges were entered under subheading 9018.90.50, HTSUS, which provides for sphygmomanometers and parts and accessories thereof. They were classified upon liquidation under subheading 9026.20.80, HTSUS, which provides for non-electrical instruments for measuring or checking pressure.


Whether the aneroid gauges are classifiable as non-electrical instruments for measuring or checking pressure under subheading 9026.20.80, HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The headings under consideration are as follows:

9018 Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, including scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments; parts and accessories thereof

9026 Instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking the flow, level, pressure or other variables of liquids or gases (for example, flow meters, level gauges, manometers, heat meters), excluding instruments and apparatus of heading 9014, 9015, 9028 or 9032; parts and accessories thereof

The protestant contends that the aneroid gauges are classifiable, as parts, under heading 9018, HTSUS, because the gauges are used solely for the production of sphygmomanometers (which are specifically provided for under subheading 9018.90.50, - 3 -

HTSUS). However, note 2 to chapter 90, HTSUS, which governs the classification of parts within chapter 90, requires a different result. Note 2(a) provides as follows:

Parts and accessories which are goods included in any of the headings of this chapter or of chapter 84, 85 or 91 (other than heading 8485, 8548 or 9033) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings.

Thus, if the aneroid gauges are classifiable as non-electrical instruments for measuring or checking pressure under heading 9026, HTSUS, then they cannot be classified as sphygmomanometer parts under heading 9018, HTSUS. For other rulings concerning the application of note 2 to chapter 90, HTSUS, and heading 9018, HTSUS, see, e.g., HQ 956881, dated April 10, 1995; HQ 954174, dated November 23, 1993; HQ 954377, dated October 6, 1993; HQ 952672, dated May 6, 1993; and HQ 952091, dated December 7, 1992.

EN 90.26, pg. 1511, states that heading 9026, HTSUS, "covers instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking the flow, level, pressure, kinetic energy or other process variables of liquids or gases." The note, pg. 1512, further states that the heading covers "[p]ressure gauges (e.g., manometers) . . . [which] indicate the pressure of a liquid or gas in a closed space (emphasis in original)."

Aneroid gauges are used with sphygmomanometers which are designed to measure blood pressure. The sphygmomanometer's rubber cuff is placed around the patient's upper arm. The doctor (nurse, etc.) then pumps enough air into the cuff to cut off the arm's circulation and gradually permits the air to escape. The doctor then determines the least amount of pressure needed to prevent the blood from entering the arm, generally by listening through a stethoscope placed on the arm and noting the pressure indicated on the gauge at the first sound of blood rushing into the arm ("systolic pressure," or the pressure exerted on the blood when the heart contracts). The doctor then notes the pressure on the gauge at the instant that the sound of blood rushing through the arteries can no longer be heard, or at the time the sound suddenly dimishes ("diastolic pressure," or the pressure exerted when the heart relaxes). See Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 4, pg. 98 (1980).

Aneroid gauges are "pressure gauges" designed to measure the pressure of air within the cuff as it inflates against the patient's arm. The gauges are therefore classifiable, according - 4 -
to GRI 1, under subheading 9026.20.80, HTSUS, which provides for non-electrical instruments for measuring or checking pressure.


The aneroid gauges are classifiable under subheading 9026.20.80, HTSUS.

Accordingly, the protest should be GRANTED to the extent reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above results in a net duty reduction or partial allowance. In accordance with section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of 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 Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

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