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HQ 084957

October 12, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084957 TLS


TARIFF NO.: 9005.80.40

Mr. W. Lange
Colonial Optical Company, Inc.
9009 South La Cienega Blvd.
Inglewood, California 90301

RE: Classification of monoculars

Dear Mr. Lange:

You request a ruling on the proper classification of Mayflower monoculars under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Your letter dated May 31, 1989 has been referred to our office for this purpose.


A monocular is a viewing device that gives the user magnified vision through an arrangement of lenses. It works very much like a set of binoculars, except a monocular offers vision through only one eye instead of two.


Under which of the following subheadings are the monoculars classifiable:

1) 9005.10.00, HTSUSA, covering binoculars;

2) 9005.80.40, HTSUSA, covering other instruments, specifically optical telescopes.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) govern classification of articles under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Heading 9005 covers binoculars, monoculars, other optical telescopes, and mountings therefor. There is no dispute that the monoculars belong under this heading. The question is under which subheading is the monocular properly classified.

Heading 9005 refers to monoculars and binoculars separately. The separate references indicate an intent to have these two similar yet distinct articles classified separately. Further indication is the fact that binoculars have their own subheadings in which no other instrument listed among those in the heading is referred to. While the Explanatory Notes (EN) do not provide any guidance on this subject, reference to lexicographic authorities is proper when determining the meaning of a tariff term. See Hasbro Industries, Inc. v. United States, 703 F. Supp. 941 (CIT 1988), aff'd, Appeal No. 89-1202 (Fed. Cir. 1989), Customs Bulletin, Vol. 23, No. 31 at p. 26; C.J. Tower & Sons of Buffalo, Inc. v. United States, 673 F.2d 1268, 1271 (CCPA 1982). The term "monocular" is defined in the Photonics Dictionary, vol. 4 (35th ed. 1989), at p. d-84, as "viewed with one eye." The Optical Industry and Systems Directory defines monocular as "pertaining to one eye." That same source also defines "binocular" as "any instrument in which both eyes can be used to view the image to achieve a stereoscopic effect, or merely facilitate observation." Binocular is defined in The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, vol. 2 (6th ed. 1987), p. 504, as "any optical instrument designed for use with both eyes simultaneously." Subheading 9005.80 covers instruments other than binoculars. Given the fact that there is a distinction between binoculars and monoculars, they cannot be considered the same product. Any reference to binoculars cannot be assumed to also be a reference to monoculars.

Furthermore, if the drafters of the HTSUSA had wanted these two separate articles to be classified in the same manner, they would have specifically referred to monoculars and binoculars under the same subheading(s). Of course, that is not the case here.


The monoculars are classified under subheading 9005.80.40, HTSUSA, covering instruments other than binoculars, specifically optical telescopes.


John Durant, Director

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