CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 954972 JAS

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

RE: PRD 3501-90-000180; Brake and Steering Control Unit (BSCU); Electrical Apparatus for Controlling Aircraft Braking and Ground Steering System; Programmable Controller, Heading 8537; Parts of Airplanes, Subheading 8803.30.00; Civil Aircraft Agreement (CAA); Section XVI, Note 1(l), (m), Section XVII, Note 2(f), (g); HQ 087979, HQ 950834

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3501-90-000180, filed by counsel for Northwest Airlines, Inc., against your classification of the Brake and Steering Control Unit (BSCU). This apparatus from France is used aboard the Airbus A-320 aircraft to control the plane's brakes during takeoff and landing and movement of its nose wheel while on the ground. The entry under protest was liquidated on August 3, 1990, and this protest timely filed on August 8, 1990.


A submission dated January 7, 1993, describes the BSCU as electrical apparatus that enables the pilot to issue instructions to a hydraulic system that mechanically operates the A-320's disc brakes and also turns the plane's nose wheel.

In its braking mode the pilot sends instructions to the BSCU in the form of coded database signals, which the apparatus processes and transmits to servovalves on each wheel. The pilot selects one of three deceleration rates which determines the amount of hydraulic pressure applied to the brakes as the plane touches down and the pulsing rate of the anti-skid function. The BSCU will also automatically activate the braking system if it receives signals from other onboard computers indicating the pilot is attempting to abort takeoff. Sensors on the brakes and nose wheel transmit positional data back to the cockpit to insure proper brake function. In its steering mode the BSCU processes - 2 -

the pilot's commands and activates the hydraulic units that control movement of the plane's nose wheel.

The BSCU was entered under the duty-free provision for other parts of airplanes or helicopters, in subheading 8803.30.10, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). On advice from the appropriate National Import Specialist, the concerned import specialist determined that the BSCU was a control device and liquidated the entry as a console for electric control or the distribution of electricity, in subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUS.

Counsel supports the parts classification by maintaining that the BSCU is essential to the safe operation of the A-320. Alternatively, counsel argues that because the BSCU enables the pilot to stop the A-320 while on the ground and to steer the plane while taxiing at airports it is a navigational instrument of heading 9014. The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8537.10.00 Boards, panels, consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases for electric control or the distribution of electricity...5.3 percent

* * * * *

8803.30.00 Parts of goods of heading 8801 or 8802: Other parts of airplanes or helicopters ...Free

* * * * * 9014.20.60 Instruments and appliances for aeronautical or space navigation: Other: Electrical...Free under the CAA


Whether the BSCU is a navigational instrument of heading 9014; whether it is an electric control device of heading 8537.


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. - 3 -

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 the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. Initially, articles of chapter 90 are precluded from classification in heading 8537. Section XVI, Note 1(m), HTSUS. Articles of chapter 90 are similarly precluded from heading 8803. Section XVII, Note 2(g), HTSUS.

[There is a portion of this ruling that has been inadvertently omitted]. See hard copy. As between headings 8537 and 8803, articles of Section XVII are precluded from classification in chapter 85. Section XVI, Note 1(l), HTSUS. However, the expressions "parts" and "parts and accessories" in Section XVII do not apply to electrical machinery or equipment of chapter 85 whether or not they are identifiable as for the goods of Section XVII. Section XVII, Note 2(f), HTSUS. Therefore, if the BSCU is a good of chapter 85 it cannot be classified in chapter 88. HQ 950834, dated March 6, 1992, supports this analysis.

Relevant ENs under (3) at p. 1391, indicate that "Programmable controllers" of heading 8537 are digital apparatus using a programmable memory for the storage of instructions for implementing specific functions such as logic, sequencing, timing, counting, and arithmetic, to control, through digital analog/output modules, various types of machines. A programmable controller's ultimate purpose is to control output devices. It does this by reading input signals from pushbuttons, contacts or - 4 -

switches and deciding what the outputs should be, based on the user's program logic. It then takes the logic-level signals from the program logic solver and converts them to output signals which it then sends to output devices such as solenoids, valves, etc. The BSCU functions precisely in this manner with its principal purpose being to control the hydraulic units aboard the A-320 which manipulate the plane's brakes or turn the nose wheel. See counsel's brief, dated January 7, 1994, at p. 1. We conclude that the BSCU is a control device of heading 8735.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Brake and Steering Control Unit (BSCU) is provided for in heading 8537. It is classifiable in subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUS, as liquidated. The protest should be denied. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should 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 take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division