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HQ 959572

June 18, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959572 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 7019.59.40

Mr. Charles Routh
Garvey, Schubert & Barer
1191 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-2939

RE: Reconsideration of HQ 958076; Insulation Blankets for Aircraft Engine Thrust
Reversers and Struts; Kores Manufacturing Inc. v. U.S.; Amersham Corp. v. U.S.;
GRI 3(c); Composite Good; 8803.30.00

Dear Mr. Routh:

This is in response to your letter of August 1, 1996, on behalf of Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group, requesting reconsideration of HQ 958076, dated October 19, 1995, concerning the classification of insulation blankets for aircraft engine thrust reversers and struts under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). We regret the delay in our response.


The merchandise consists of insulation blankets for aircraft engine thrust reversers and struts, which are composed of thin gauge stainless steel, fiberglass cloth, and Min-K, a micro-porous silica material in fine white powdered form. The Min-K is placed between two pieces of flexible fiberglass cloth which is stitched horizontally and vertically to form a blanket. The stainless steel is formed into a contoured, crest-like shape, then folded under and spot welded to encase the blanket on both sides in the manner of a frame.

These blankets function primarily to provide thermal protection for thrust reversers and support struts against the heat generated by engines for the Boeing 757 class aircraft. Complete insulation blankets are cut-to-size and contoured, and are mechanically fastened to the inner wall of a thrust reverser and at the point where a strut pylon joins the nacelle. Thrust reversers are attached to cowlings or nacelles, which are the outer metal covers which house the aircraft's engines but are not integral to the engines. Struts are structural members that connect the engine to the wings.

When the thrust reversers are deployed by the pilot, this action repositions movable doors incorporated in the thrust reverser which diverts air entering the front of the nacelle over contoured vanes or louvers called cascades to produce reverse thrust.


Whether the insulation blankets are classifiable under subheading 8803.30.00, HTSUS, as other parts of airplanes, or under subheading 7019.59.40, HTSUS, as other woven fabrics.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8803.30.00: [p]arts of goods of heading 8801 or 8802: [o]ther parts of airplanes or helicopters.

Goods classifiable under this provision receive duty-free treatment.

7019.59.40: [g]lass fibers (including glass wool) and articles thereof (for example, yarn, woven fabrics): [o]ther woven fabrics: [o]ther: [o]ther.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 8 percent ad valorem.

In HQ 958076, based upon GRIs 3(b) and 3(c), we held the insulation blankets to be composite goods classifiable under subheading 7019.20.40, HTSUS (the predecessor provision to subheading 7019.59.40, HTSUS), and not under subheading 8803.30.00, HTSUS. With regard to that ruling, Boeing claimed that the insulation blankets are not parts of the aircraft engine but are integral to nacelles and struts. It was argued that because nacelles and struts are provided for under subheading 8803.30.00, HTSUS, the insulation blankets should be similarly classifiable.

You contend that the insulation blankets are correctly classifiable under subheading 8803.30.00, HTSUS, and that the parts issue is pertinent to this case.

In HQ 958076, in ruling that the insulation blankets were accessories and not parts of airplanes, we stated that:

[t]he plane's engines are complete and fully functional as a means of propulsion or thrust, and the struts are structural members, both without regard to the thermal insulation blankets. There is no compelling argument that these articles are parts for tariff purposes because neither the engine nor strut depends on a thermal insulation blanket for its completeness or function. . .

Whether an article is a part of another article depends on the nature of the so-called "part" and its usefulness, function and purpose in relation to the article in which it is designed to serve. Kores Manufacturing Inc. v. U.S., 3 CIT 178, 179 (1982), aff'd appeal No. 82-83 (C.A.F.C. 1983). As you claim, the only application of the insulation blankets "is to protect airplane structures, namely; the nacelle and its components, and the strut from the tremendous heat generated by the engine, and more importantly, to act as a fire barrier between the engine and the nacelle and pylon components, and ultimately; the airplane itself." However, the engines, struts, thrust reversers, and the nacelle housing operate and are not dependent upon the insulation blankets for them to function completely. Therefore, we agree with the holding in HQ 958076 that the blankets are not parts classifiable under heading 8803, HTSUS, but are classifiable under heading 7019, HTSUS.

In your submission, you tie the safety function of the insulation blankets with certification procedures by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in demanding that the blankets must be parts. Specifically, you state that:

[i]nstallation of the insulation blanket assemblies is a mandatory prerequisite condition for operation of the aircraft, and for the aircraft passing final inspection and receiving its Airworthiness Certificate from the Federal Aviation

Regardless of the FAA requirement, it is irrelevant when considering the proper tariff classification of the insulation blankets. It is well established that statutes, regulations and administrative interpretations relating to "other than tariff purposes" are not determinative of customs classification disputes. Amersham Corp. v. U.S., 5 CIT 49 (1983).

You cite the following from a U.S. Department of Commerce booklet entitled, "Trade in Civil Aircraft":

[a]rticles which have a civil aircraft manufacturer's parts number or approval by the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or a recognized foreign air-worthiness authority are presumed to be sufficiently dedicated to aircraft use to be considered an aircraft part for the purpose of receiving duty-free treatment.

However, the paragraph following the above cite states that:

[a]s previously indicated, while the Agreement covers all civil aircraft, engines, flight simulators, parts, components and subassemblies, the provisions relating to elimination of duties apply only to the items classifiable under the listed tariff headings. These listed items cover an estimated 95 percent of the value of trade in civil aircraft. (emphasis supplied).

Although parts of civil aircraft are included in the tariff headings listed in the Annex to the booklet, the articles covered by heading 7019, HTSUS, are not.

Because the insulation blankets are precluded from classification under subheading 8803.30.00, HTSUS, as was held in HQ 958076, they are described under heading 7019, HTSUS, and are so classifiable under subheading 7019.59.40, HTSUS.


The insulation blankets for aircraft engine thrust reversers and struts are classifiable under subheading 7019.59.40, HTSUS, as other woven fabrics.


HQ 958076 is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification

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