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If It’s Not Civil, It’s War

Tue Oct 26 2010
Dan Cariello
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Aircraft engines are one of the highest valued commodities being imported and exported to and from the United States. Occasionally, some of these aircraft engines are being exported to the armed forces of a foreign country. For the most part, aircraft engines are pretty simple to classify because the description in the Schedule B book and Harmonized Tariff Schedule is straightforward and current, unlike say the description for computers, or should I say automatic data processing machines?

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Besides deciding whether it’s a turbojet, turbopropeller or turbine aircraft engine, there is a choice between classifying them as either civil or other. The difference between the two is that the term “civil aircraft” means all aircraft other than aircraft for use by the armed forces of the foreign country, as stated in Statistical Note 1 of Chapter 88 in the Schedule B book. Therefore, the engines for military aircraft should be classiffied as “other” rather than civil. At least three or four times a month I will catch a shipment that gets classified under 8407.10.0090 (spark-ignition reciprocating or rotary internal combustion piston type aircraft engine, except civil aircraft use) when the shipper meant to use 8407.10.0040 (spark-ignition reciprocating or rotary internal combustion piston engines for civil aircraft, new 373 kW or over).

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Although I haven’t identified a common cause for this slip up, my guess is that people are not seeing the full 10 digit code and are making a guess at the 6 digit level. In short, the other category, under the subheadings for aircraft engines, is where engines for non-civil use should be classified. Everything else is civil.

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