CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 954176 JAS

District Director of Customs
110 S. Fourth St., Rm. 137
Minneapolis, MN 55401

RE: PRD 3501-90-000141; Multipurpose Control Display Unit (MCDU); Electrical Apparatus for Flight Plan Input; Apparatus for Accessing Flight Management Guidance Computer; Navigational Instruments, Parts and Accessories; Other Parts of Aircraft, Heading 8803; Civil Aircraft Agreement; HQ 087979, 953462; Slip Op. 90-20

Dear District Director:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3501-90-000141 filed against your action in liquidating an entry of merchandise identified as the Multipurpose Control and Display Unit (MCDU) from France. The entry was liquidated on April 13, 1990 and this protest was timely filed on June 7, 1990.


The MCDU is electrical apparatus used aboard the A 320 Airbus to permit the pilot to establish a flight plan by providing access to the plane's Flight Management Guidance Computer (FMGC). The FMGC contains various flight programs, each having parameters for calculating the most efficient flight plan to a particular destination. The MCDU, consisting of a CRT and keypad, is the only means of accessing the FMGC. Once the pilot inputs a destination, the FMGC "tells" the various flight control computers aboard the A 320 to activate the apparatus they control. This permits the plane to ascend and descend, achieve proper altitude and airspeed, etc. Variables of the flight plan such as distance, altitude, estimated time of arrival, etc. are displayed on the screen. If storms or other deviations from the original plan develop, the pilot can input new data through the MCDU, and thus cause the FMGC to recompute the flight plan. - 2 -

The MCDU was entered under the provision for other parts of airplanes or helicopters, in subheading 8803.30.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The column 1 rate of duty is free. You liquidated the entry under the provision for other electrical machines and apparatus having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 85]. In letters, dated April 13 and May 18, 1993, counsel for the protestant advances alternative claims under heading 9014, HTSUS, a provision covering navigational instruments and appliances, and parts and accessories thereof.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8543.80.90 Other electrical machines and apparatus having individual functions...3.9 percent

8803.30.00 Other parts of airplanes or helicopters.... Free

9014.20.60 Other electrical instruments and appliances for aeronautical or space navigation....... 4.9 percent 9014.90.60 Other parts and accessories.....4.9 percent

Goods classifiable in the latter two provisions are eligible for free entry under the Civil Aircraft Agreement, upon compliance with applicable law and Customs Regulations.


Whether the MCDU is a navigational instrument or appliance, or a part or accessory thereof.


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.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, 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 - 3 -

the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80.

Articles of chapter 90 are precluded from classification in heading 8543. Section XVI, Note 1(m), HTSUS. Likewise, articles of chapter 90 are precluded from classification in subheading 8803.30.00. Section XVII, Note 2(g), HTSUS. Therefore, if the MCDU is provided for in heading 9014, it must be classified there.

Under heading 9014, the common meaning of the terms navigate and navigation connotes the science or art of conducting aircraft from one place to another; especially, the method of determining position, course and distance travelled over the surface of the earth by the principles of geometry and astronomy, and by reference to instruments used as aids. The ENs, at p. 1481, (C)(1) through (7), list various meters and indicators which measure or determine aerodynamic variables and provide the pilot with information from which he can activate apparatus that maintains or alters the plane's course. These exemplars, however, are not intended to be exclusive.

Various on-board computers regulate engine pressure, airspeed, vertical, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, pitch and roll, among other aerodynamic variables and flight systems. We have previously held similar instruments and apparatus, such as the slat/flap control computer and the spoiler and elevator computer to be navigational instruments. HQ 087979, dated February 3, 1992, and HQ 953462, dated April 21, 1993. Because there is a sufficient operating nexus between these computers and the FMGC, it is reasonable to regard the FMGC as a navigational instrument or appliance. We are unable to determine from the available information whether the MCDU is analogous to these apparatus. Nevertheless, the information does indicate that the MCDU is the apparatus that allows the pilot to input a flight plan into the FMGC as well as new data which will cause the FMGC to recompute an existing flight plan. We conclude that the MCDU is an integral, constituent and component part without which the pilot cannot utilize the FMGC for its intended purpose. See Clipper Belt Lacer Co., Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 90-22, decided March 13, 1990. The evidence of record permits a reasonable inference that the MCDU is used principally, if not solely, with the FMGC. HOLDING:

Under the authority of GRI 1, the Multipurpose Control Display Unit (MCDU) is provided for in heading 9014. It is classifiable in subheading 9014.90.60, HTSUS, as other parts and accessories of navigational instruments and appliances. The rate of duty on such merchandise under the Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft is free. - 4 -

The protest should be allowed. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and mailed to the protestant, through counsel, as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division