CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963621 JAS
Mr. Robert J. Resetar
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
980 Hammond Drive, Suite 1000
Atlanta, GA 30328
RE: NY E81997 and NY E81998 Revoked; Wiper Switch and Motor Vehicle
Steering Column Switch
Dear Mr. Resetar:
In NY E81998, which the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, issued to you on June 16, 1999, a motor vehicle steering column switch was held to be classifiable in subheading 8708.99.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as other parts and accessories of motor vehicles.
Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY E81998 was published on July 26, 2000, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 34, Number 30. Four comments, including one from you, were received in response to that notice. In your comment, you proposed that NY E81997, a ruling on similar merchandise, also be revoked. After careful analysis of the submitted comments, we have decided that these revocations are warranted.
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The article in NY E81997 is a wiper switch mounted on the steering column of a motor vehicle. It consists of a single lever that, depending on which way it is toggled, controls the speed of the windshield wipers and also engages the washer fluid pump to spray cleaner onto the windshield. The article in NY E81998 is a 3-in-1 switch mounted on the steering column behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle. It incorporates three individual levers mounted together, each consisting of a windshield wiper speed switch, a cruise control on/off/setting switch, and a turn signal and high/low headlight switch.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
8536 Electrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits or for making connections to or in electrical circuits…for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V:
8536.50 Other switches:
* * * *
8537 …other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8536 or 8537, for electric control or the distribution of electricity…:
8537.10 For a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V:
* * * *
8708 Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705:
Other parts and accessories of bodies (including cabs):
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Whether the wiper switch and the 3-in-1 steering column switch are automotive parts or accessories or electrical apparatus of Chapter 85.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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 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).
Initially, Section XVI, Note 1(l), HTSUS, excludes articles of Section XVII. Heading 8708, other parts and accessories of motor vehicles, is in Section XVII. But, Section XVII, Note 2(f), HTSUS, excludes from the expressions “parts” and “parts and accessories” electrical machinery and equipment of Chapter 85. So, the question is whether these switches are described by a provision in Chapter 85.
In your two ruling requests, both dated May 27, 1999, from which NY E81997 and NY E81998 resulted, you cited heading 8537 for possible consideration. The rulings that were issued, however, contained no discussion of that provision. In
HQ 963218, dated May 24, 2000, a ruling relating to the classification of power distribution junction boxes, the following discussion appears on the relationship between headings 8536 and 8537:
From their respective terms, headings 8536 and 8537 are
mutually exclusive. Heading 8536 covers individual
apparatus such as [switches], relays or fuses, or multiples
of one such apparatus, that are principally used for switching
or protecting or for making connections to or in electrical
circuits. On the other hand, heading 8537 covers assemblies
of the apparatus described in heading [8535 and] 8536, for example,
combinations of [switches], relays and fuses on a board, panel
or other base whose principal use is to control or distribute
electricity (Underlining added).
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The wiper switch consists of a single lever that performs separate switching functions and the 3-in-1 steering column switch consists of three individual switches joined in a common housing, each of which controls a separate function within the vehicle. These devices meet the terms of heading 8536. Customs continues to maintain that heading 8536 covers individual apparatus of the type named in the heading as well as multiples of the same apparatus. This conclusion is supported by the 8537 ENs on p. 1506 which include in that heading “…an assembly of apparatus of the kind referred to in the preceding headings (e.g., switches and fuses), on a board, panel…” Switches and fuses are different apparatus. The ENs continue on p. 1507 by excluding from heading 8537 simple switch assemblies, such as those consisting of two switches and a connector. This EN refers such apparatus to heading 8535 or heading 8536. Because both the wiper switch and the 3-in-1 steering column switch are provided for in heading 8536, Section XVII, Note 2(f), HTSUS, eliminates heading 8708 from consideration.
Under the authority of GRI 1, the wiper switch and the 3-in-1 steering column switch are provided for in heading 8536. They are classifiable in subheading 8536.50.90, HTSUS.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY E81997, dated June 16, 1999, and NY E81998, dated June 16, 1999, are revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division