CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 954194 JAS

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

RE: PRD 3501-90-000022; Display Management Computer (DMC); Apparatus that Formats and Displays Systems Warnings, Cautions and Other Flight Information; Measuring or Checking Instruments, Parts and Accessories; Civil Aircraft Agreement; HQ 089391, 952778, 954175

Dear District Director:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3501-91-000022, filed by counsel for Northwest Airlines, Inc., against your action in liquidating an entry of display management computers (DMC), from France. The entry was liquidated on January 4, 1991, and this protest was timely filed on January 18, 1991.


The DMC is described as electrical apparatus that formats and displays navigational systems data to the pilot and crew of the Airbus A 320. There are three DMCs aboard the craft that receive signals from the Systems Data Acquisition Concentrator (SDAC), the Flight Warning Computer (FWC) and other avionics computers that report systems conditions such as airspeed, engine and cabin pressure, altitude, pitch attitude etc., and detect abnormalities and malfunctions. The DMC analyzes and compares the signals it receives against guidelines programmed into its memory and determines what digital information to display on color display units in the cockpit. It is the DMC that formats and displays systems conditions, giving the pilot and flight crew a visual "picture" of systems conditions, including both audio and visual warnings and cautions.

The merchandise 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 - 2 -

the appropriate provision for other electrical machines and apparatus having individual functions, not specified or include elsewhere in [chapter 85]. Counsel initially maintains that the DMC is classifiable in subheading 9014.20.60, HTSUS, as navigational instruments and appliances. In a letter, dated May 28, 1993, he advances alternative claims under subheading 9031.80.00, HTSUS, as measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines, or under subheading 9031.90.60, HTSUS, as parts and accessories of measuring or checking instruments.

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

9031.80.00 Other measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines.....4.9 percent

9031.90.60 Other parts and accessories.. 4.9 percent

Goods classifiable in subheadings 9031.80.00 and 9031.90.60 are eligible for free entry under the Civil Aircraft Agreement, upon compliance with applicable law and Customs Regulations.


Whether the DMC is a measuring 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.

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 DMC is provided for in heading 9031 or in any other heading of chapter 90, it must be classified there.

For purposes of heading 9031, instruments or appliances that estimate or appraise a variable or quantity by comparing it to an established criterion perform a measuring function. Moreover, - 3 -

devices that measure ascertain the quantity, mass, extent, or degree of something in terms of a standard unit or fixed amount.

The provision for measuring instruments, appliances or machines encompasses devices that may not perform any measuring function themselves, so long as they function with other apparatus to carry out steps in a process of measuring. See HQ 089391, dated February 6, 1992. We have previously held that the SDAC performs a measuring function appropriate to goods of heading 9031 because it determines the severity of an indicated malfunction or systems failure by comparing signals it receives from a peripheral computer or computers against guidelines in its memory.

The DMC performs no measuring function itself, nor does it control an apparatus that performs a measuring function. However, there is a definite functional interrelationship between the DMC and the SDAC, an apparatus that does perform a measuring function. Moreover, without the DMCs, the pilot and flight crew would have no visual representation of data from the SDAC, and would have to rely on redundant backup systems to ascertain the same information. From the evidence of record, we are unable to conclusively determine whether the DMC carries out steps in a process of measuring, or whether it is part of such apparatus. At the very least, however, we can conclude that the DMC qualifies as an accessory. It is provided for under the provision for parts and accessories of measuring instruments of heading 9031. See HQ 952778, dated December 1, 1992.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Display Management Computer (DMC) is provided for in heading 9031. It is classifiable in subheading 9031.90.60, HTSUS, as other parts and accessories of measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines. The rate of duty on such merchandise under the Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft is free.

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