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CIT Says Nitrogen Oxide Sensor Classifiable as Instrument of Chemical Analysis

The Court of International Trade agreed with the government that a nitrogen oxide sensor probe for diesel engines should be classified as an instrument of chemical analysis under Harmonized Tariff Schedule heading 9027, rather than an instrument of measurement under heading 9026 (Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. v. U.S., CIT #18-00026). In an Aug. 12 opinion, Judge Jane Restani ruled in favor of the government's March 8 cross-motion for summary judgment (see 2203140007).

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Restani said that "the HTSUS includes no defined term for 'chemical analysis' or 'analysis' in Headings 9027 and 9026." She cited a U.S. Customs Court definition of "chemical analysis" in making her determination and found that the probe's ability to determine one of more kind of ingredients of a substance by identifying NOx within the exhaust gas and its ability to separate and identify NOx molecules from within a mixed gaseous substance demonstrates its "qualitative chemical analytical capabilities." The determination of every individual component of a substance isn't necessary to meet the common definition of an instrument or apparatus for chemical analysis, CIT said.

Restani noted that Continental ignored the "expansive language" of the explanatory notes, which doesn't restrict the types of materials a “gas or smoke analysis apparatus” can analyze, and that it failed to address language that explicitly includes instruments for gas analysis that conduct electrochemical reactions in Heading 9027.

(Continental Automotive Systems v. U.S., Slip Op. 22-94, CIT # 18-00026, dated 08/10/22, Judge Jane Restani. Attorneys: Anastasia Cordova of McGuireWoods for plaintiff Continental Automotive Systems; Guy Eddon for defendant U.S. government.)