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HQ 083118

March 29, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083118 JMH



David C. Williams, Esq.
39 Broadway
New York City, New York 10006

RE: Minolta camera bodies and camera lenses

Dear Mr. Williams:

This is in response to your request dated October 11, 1988, for a clarification of Headquarter's Ruling Letter 076497 (HQ 076497), dated May 26, 1988, on behalf of Minolta Corporation (Minolta).


Nikon, Inc. (Nikon) entered a shipment of Japanese camera bodies and camera lenses, Entry No. 4701-83-513095-4, on October 3, 1982, at JFK Airport. The duty rate for this classification was 9.7 percent ad valorem. The shipment was liquidated on October 21, 1983.

Nikon protested the method of classification and the subsequent rate of duty assigned. Nikon's Protest and Request for Further Review No. 1001-4-000881 was filed on January 19, 1984. This protest claimed that the importer should be able to organize his merchandise in the manner he deems to be appropriate to take advantage of the lowest duty.

The protest was answered in HQ 076497. This ruling letter held that a 35mm camera body with a 50-55mm lens was an entirety. HQ 076497 also determined that a 35mm camera body with a zoom lens with focal length of 35mm to 70mm was an entirety. Lenses with other focal lengths were determined not to be entireties with the camera bodies in question.

Five months following the issuance of this ruling, your "request for clarification of Headquarters Ruling No. 076497" on behalf of Minolta was received. You describe Minolta's plans to
import a 35-80mm zoom lens which is to be sold with Minolta's most popular SLR camera bodies. You then present arguments regarding why Minolta's new zoom lenses should not be governed by HQ 076497.


Whether this office may rule on Minolta's request for a clarification of HQ 076497?


Section 177 of the Customs Regulations details the administrative ruling process of the Customs Service. 19 C.F.R. 177 (1989). Any person who has a "direct and demonstrable interest" in the importation of merchandise may request a classification ruling for their merchandise. 19 C.F.R. 177.1(2)(c), 177.2(b)(2)(ii). Once a ruling is issued, it may be modified or revoked by the Customs Service. 19 C.F.R. 177.9. After issuance, the importer can request a reconsideration, file a protest and request further review or contest the ruling in the Court of International Trade. 19 C.F.R. 174. A civil action must be filed within 180 days after the date the notice of denial was mailed to Nikon--the date of issuance of the ruling. 19 C.F.R. 174.31.

You state that you request a "clarification" of HQ 076497. Whether your request is viewed as a reconsideration or a protest, it is not a request upon which this office may take action. HQ 076497 was issued on May 26, 1988, denying Nikon's protest. Nikon, the real party in interest to the ruling and the protest, is the only party who can further contest the protest denial. The only avenue for further review of a protest was the filing of a civil suit in the Court of International Trade within 180 days of May 26, 1988. This did not occur. This office has no statutory authority to modify or revoke a protest denial.

When merchandise is entered which is different from that previously ruled upon, and the merchandise is entered by a different party than the party of a previous ruling, the best course to follow is to request a ruling on that specific situation. Alternatively, if an entry has been made and an unsatisfactory tariff classification is received, the importer or the importer's agent may protest the classification.


Once a protest is denied, the only possibility for further review of the denial is a civil suit in the Court of

International Trade by the real party in interest. This office has no statutory authority to modify or revoke a protest denial.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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