CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 967295 NSH
Mr. George M. Keller
Customs Advisory Services, Inc.
1003 Virginia Avenue, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30354
RE: Pressure switches; NY K87735 affirmed
Dear Mr. Keller:
This is in response to your request of August 30, 2004, for the reconsideration of NY K87735, dated July 20, 2004, on behalf of your client, Wilspec Technologies, Inc., on the classification of pressure switches under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). In reaching our conclusion, consideration was given to supplemental information provided via teleconference on December 1, 2004.
The merchandise at issue are HS Series Automatic Reset Pressure Switches and HM Series Manual Reset Pressure Switches. NY K87735 describes the merchandise as follows:
The HS Series automatic reset pressure switch is designed for refrigeration and air conditioning HVAC equipment. They are designed to turn on or off various components within the system based on overall system pressures as well as safety cutout in cases of extreme pressure rise within the controlled equipment. The pressure switches automatically reset when the pressure of the controlled appliance is restored to normal pressure. The HS Series switches consist of an integrated switch assembly, stainless steel welded sensor and a brazed port fitting.
The HM Series switches are manual reset pressure switches. This series performs identical to the HS Series with one exception, [sic] once the pressure in the controlled system is returned to normal, the switch must be reset.
The HS and HM Series pressure switches are fixed setpoint pressure switches designed for safety cutout and cycling functions on high volume HVAC and refrigeration applications. Each switch utilizes a hermetically sealed stainless steel element that responds to system pressure by switching electrical contacts open or closed. Both series switches are rated 600V.
In NY K87735, the HS and HM Series pressure switches were classified under subheading 8536.50.90.
Whether the HS Series Automatic Reset Pressure Switches and HM Series Manual Reset Pressure Switches are switches of heading 8536, HTSUS, or automatic regulating or controlling apparatus of heading 9032, HTSUS.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs.
The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The ENs, although neither dispositive nor legally binding, facilitate classification by providing 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:
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:
8536.50 Other switches:
* * * * * *
Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof:
Other instruments and apparatus:
In NY K87735, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ruled that the pressure switches at issue are not classified under heading 9032, HTSUS, because they do not meet the requirements of Chapter 90, Note 7.
Chapter 90, Note 7, states that:
Heading 9032 applies only to:
Instruments and apparatus for automatically controlling the flow, level, pressure or other variables of liquids or gases, or for automatically controlling temperature, whether or not their operation depends on an electrical phenomenon which varies according to the factor to be automatically controlled, which are designed to bring this factor to, and maintain it at, a desired value, stabilized against disturbances, by constantly or periodically measuring its actual value; and
Automatic regulators of electrical quantities, and instruments or apparatus for automatically controlling non-electrical quantities the operation of which depends on an electrical phenomenon varying according to the factor to be controlled, which are designed to bring this factor to, and maintain it at, a desired value, stabilized against disturbances, by constantly or periodically measuring its actual value.
As it applies to the merchandise at issue, EN 90.32 addresses the requirement in Chapter 90, Note 7, that the pressure switches must “automatically” control the pressure within the refrigeration and HVAC systems for which they are intended. EN 90.32 states, in pertinent part, that:
Instruments and apparatus for automatically controlling the flow, level, pressure and other variables of liquids or gases or for automatically controlling temperature are connected to an appliance that carries out the orders (pump, compressor, valve, furnace burner, etc.) which restores the variable (e.g., liquid measured in a tank or temperature measured in a room) to the prescribed value….
The merchandise at issue, the HS Series and HM Series pressure switches operate by turning off various components within refrigeration and air conditioning HVAC equipment when the pressure rises or falls below a certain set level. This shut-off allows the pressure within the refrigeration and air conditioning HVAC equipment to return to a normal level and, in the case of the HS Series pressure switches, the switches reset when the pressure of the controlled appliance is restored to normal pressure.
In operation, these pressure switches are calibrated by edge pinging to respond to pressure changes at prescribed setpoints. Pressure sensing discs and low-pressure safety cut-out switches are calibrated to react to potentially damaging changes in pressure. The disc reacts to the pressure change by snapping into a hemispherical or dome shape, which occurs with an audible click. Concurrently with this, the disc forces upward a ceramic pin that is located directly above it. Finally, the pin in turn moves a lever, positioned at electrical contact points, that either opens or closes electrical circuits, i.e. makes or breaks the circuit.
CBP notes that although these switches operate in a fashion similar to other devices of heading 9032, HTSUS, they fail to meet the requirements to Chapter 90, Note 7. For example, certain types of thermostats may be classified under heading 9032, HTSUS. Although the thermostat device itself merely senses the temperature within an enclosed space, much as the pressure switches at issue are calibrated to react to certain changes in pressure, the thermostat acts as a catalyst for activating a furnace burner that is responsible for restoring the temperature to a desired range. That is, the thermostat is connected to an appliance, a furnace burner, which restores the temperature. Therefore, as it relates to Chapter 90, Note 7 the thermostat is responsible for automatically controlling the temperature.
With regard to the subject pressure switches, when the pressure within the refrigeration or HVAC units falls above or below a certain range, the pressure switches react by merely shutting down the units until the pressure returns to normal. However, no evidence has been brought forth that shows the pressure switches are connected to any type of apparatus that is responsible for restoring the pressure to a desired range. In this way, the pressure switches do not automatically control pressure within these units by bringing it to, or maintaining it at, a desired value. As such, the pressure switches do not satisfy the requirements of Chapter 90, Note 7. Therefore, classification under heading 9032, HTSUS, is precluded.
In NY D86023, dated January 21, 1999, CBP classified pressure switches used in automotive air conditioning applications under subheading 8536.50.90, HTSUS. Similar to the pressure switches at issue, that merchandise operates when a snap-acting stainless steel diaphragm reverses its curvature when pressurized to a selected value. When the disc snaps, it drives a set of electrical contacts by means of a transfer pin, thereby making or breaking the circuit. Thus, the pressure switches are designed to open or close an electrical circuit, thereby satisfying the requirements of heading 8536, HTSUS. In view of the foregoing analysis, the pressure switches at issue are also classified under heading 8536, HTSUS, as they similarly open or close an electrical circuit.
The HS and HM Series pressure switches are classified under subheading 8536.50.9065, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated, as “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: Other switches: Other: Other…” The 2004, column one, general rate of duty is 2.7 percent ad valorem.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY K87735, dated July 20, 2004, is AFFIRMED.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division