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HQ 963150

March 29, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963150 TPB


TARIFF NO.: 8542.40

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
423 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

RE: Acceleration sensors; Protest 1901-99-100040

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1901-99-100040, filed against your classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), of acceleration sensors. The entries were liquidated January 29, 1999, and this protest timely filed on April 13, 1999.


The merchandise consists of ceramic packaged electronic devices (part numbers 499700-0010 and 499700-0020). Customs laboratory analysis (SF 20010592, dated October 24, 2001) indicated that once opened, the ceramic contained three components (an acceleration sensor chip; a signal processing integrated circuit; and a capacitor). This chip technology is laid on top of film technology.

The entries were liquidated under subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS, which provides for other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions not specified or included elsewhere in chapter 85, and parts thereof.


Are the acceleration sensors classified under subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS, as other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions not specified or included elsewhere in chapter 85, and
parts thereof; or subheading 8542.40.00, which provides for hybrid integrated circuits; or subheading 8542.50.00, HTSUS, which provides for electronic microassemblies?


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. GRI 2(a) states in part that incomplete or unfinished articles are to be classified as complete or finished if, as imported, they have the essential character of the complete or finished article. GRI 6 permits the comparison of same-level subheadings within the same heading, in part by application of Rules 1 through 5, applied by appropriate substitution of terms.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, 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 ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies; parts thereof:

Hybrid integrated circuits

Electronic microassemblies

8543 Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof:

Other machines and apparatus:



Note 5(B) to chapter 85, HTSUS, reads, in pertinent part:

(b) “Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies” are:

Hybrid integrated circuits in which passive elements (resistors, capacitors, interconnections, etc.), obtained by thin or thickfilm technology, and active elements (diodes, transistors, monolithic integrated circuits, etc.), obtained by semiconductor technology, are combined to all intents and purposes indivisibly, on a single insulating substrate (glass, ceramic, etc.). These circuits may also include discrete components;

Microassemblies of the molded module, micromodule or similar types, consisting of discrete, active or both active and passive, components which are combined and interconnected.

The pertinent text of the ENs to 85.42 read as follows:

Electronic integrated circuits

Hybrid circuits. These are microcircuits built up on an insulating substrate on which a thin or thick film circuit has been formed. This process allows certain passive elements (resistors, capacitors, interconnections, etc.) to be produced at the same time. However, to become a hybrid integrated circuit of this heading, semiconductors must be incorporated and mounted on the surface, either in the form of chips, whether or not encased, or as encased semiconductors (e.g. in specially designed miniature casings). Hybrid integrated circuits may also contain separately produced passive elements which are incorporated into the basic film circuit in the same way as the semiconductors. Usually these passive elements are components such as capacitors, resistors or inductors in the form of chips.

The components forming a hybrid integrated circuit must be combined to all intents and purposes indivisibly, i.e., though some of the elements could theoretically be removed and replaced, this would be a long and delicate task which would be uneconomic under normal manufacturing conditions.

(II) Electronic microassemblies

Microassemblies are made from discrete, active or both active and passive components which are combined and interconnected.

Discrete components are indivisible and are the basic electronic construction components in a system. They may have a single active electrical functionor a single passive electrical function.

However, components consisting of several electric circuit elements and having multiple electrical functions, such as integrated circuits, are not considered as discrete components.

The merchandise at issue cannot be classified under subheading 8542.50, HTSUS, because laboratory examination indicated that the device contained only one discrete component, the capacitor. Thus, by the terms of the EN to 85.42 (II), that subheading is eliminated from consideration.

The merchandise does, however, meet the requirements of EN 85.42 (I) (2), in that the passive elements have been obtained by thin or thick film technology.

In this case, semiconductor devices (i.e., accelerator sensor and signal processing integrated circuit) along with a passive element (i.e., capacitor) are mounted on and connected to conductor patterns formed by thick film on a ceramic package. The ceramic package is heated together with a cap to hermetically seal the ceramic package containing the sensor chip and electronic components therein. The conductor pattern formed on the ceramic package is composed of a base film of tungsten, an intermediate film of nickel plated on the base film and a thin surface film of gold. The ceramic package is mounted on the circuit board by soldering at portions where the conductor patterns are formed. This process meets the requirements of EN 85.42 (I)(2), and is consistent with a prior ruling on the classification of hybrid integrated circuits. See HQ 961050, dated May 1, 2000.

Since the merchandise can be classified under this subheading, there is no need to consider heading 8543, HTSUS, which provides for electrical devices which are not otherwise provided for in chapter 85, HTSUS.


The accelerator sensors are properly classified under subheading 8542.40, HTSUS, which provides for electronic integrated circuits and microassemblieshybrid integrated circuits.

Since reclassification of the merchandise will result in a lower duty rate than as claimed, you are instructed to ALLOW the protest in full.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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