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HQ 963676

December 13, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963676 GOB


TARIFF NO.: 8536.69.40

Mr. Patrick D. Gill
Rode & Qualey
295 Madison Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10017

RE: Plugs; Connectors; Cylindrical multicontact connectors

Dear Mr. Gill:

This is in response to your letter of December 28, 1999, to the Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, on behalf of Neutrik U.S.A., with respect to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) of certain plugs or connectors. Your letter, together with samples, was referred to this office for reply. In preparing this decision, consideration was given to your supplemental submission of November 22, 2000, as well as arguments presented at our meeting on December 12, 2000..


You request a ruling with respect to four types of plugs or connectors, samples of which were submitted. You state that: “The NP2EZ plug and the NYS224 plug are cylindrical two-contact connectors. The NP3C plug and the NP3TB-B plug are cylindrical three-contact connectors.”

You refer to the plugs as one-quarter inch, which reflects the diameter of the base and tip. The two-contact connectors have an insulator separating the connectors; the three-contact connectors have two insulators separating the connectors. The plugs are used for stereo speakers, medical equipment, and fitness equipment.

You claim that the plugs are classified in subheading 8536.69.40, HTSUS, as cylindrical multicontact connectors. In your November 22, 2000 submission, you make the alternative claim that the plugs are a type of coaxial connector, also provided for in subheading 8536.69.40, HTSUS.


What is the tariff classification of the plugs?


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRI’s”). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI’s may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“EN’s”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN’s 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.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8536 Electrical 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:

Lamp-holders, plugs and sockets:

8536.69 Other:

8536.69.40 Coaxial connectors; cylindrical multicontact connectors ...

8536.69.80 Other

EN 85.36 (III) provides in pertinent part: “A plug may have one or more pins or side contacts which match corresponding holes or contacts in the socket.” [Emphasis supplied.]

After a careful consideration of the classification of the plugs, we find that they are classified in subheading 8536.69.40, HTSUS.

The plugs are clearly electrical apparatus for making connections to or in electrical circuits. See the language of heading 8536, HTSUS. They are for a voltage of less than 1,000 volts.

The plugs are cylindrical, which is generally defined as: “of, pertaining to, or having the form of a cylinder.” Random House Unabridged Dictionary, (2nd ed., 1993). We have reviewed numerous definitions of “cylinder.” Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines cylinder as: “1. Geom. a surface or solid bounded by two parallel planes and generated by a straight line moving parallel to the given planes and tracing a curve bounded by the planes and lying in a plane perpendicular or oblique to the given planes.” We are satisfied that the subject plugs are cylindrical.

We also believe that the plugs are multicontact, i.e., they have more than one contact. Your assertion that the plugs at issue have more than one side contact is supported by the Neutrik U.S.A. information included with your submissions, including catalog information and drawings. This claim is also supported by an examination of the plugs themselves, as well as an examination of the jacks or sockets into which the subject plugs are inserted. The construction of the jacks indicates two or three contacts, depending on whether the plug has two or three side contacts. As noted above, EN 85.36 (III) references “side contacts,” which are different from “pin contacts,” which are found on many plugs. In NY F80888 dated January 11, 2000, several Neutrik U.S.A. electrical connectors with “pin contacts” were found to be classifiable in subheading 8536.69.40, HTSUS.

Accordingly, we conclude, as stated above, that the four subject plugs are cylindrical multicontact connectors within the meaning of subheading 8536.69.40, HTSUS.

Because we determine that the subject plugs are cylindrical multicontact connectors classified in subheading 8536.69.40, HTSUS, it is not necessary for us to make a determination with respect to your alternative claim.


As detailed above, the plugs (NP2EZ, NYS224, NP3C, and NP3TB-B) are classified in subheading 8536.69.40 as “Electrical apparatus for making connections to or in electrical circuits ... for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V: ... Lamp-holders, plugs and sockets: ... Other: ... cylindrical multicontact connectors ...”


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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