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HQ 087911

February 4, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087911 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 8517.81.00

Mr. Sal Della Ventura
Classification & Compliance
Sony Corporation of America
Sony Drive
Park Ridge, New Jersey 07656

RE: Intelligent dialer; subheading 8470.30.00; subheading 8517.81.00; subheading 8543.80.90; heading 8470; Explanatory Note 84.70(A); heading 8517; Explanatory Note 85.17; apparatus; Section XVI, note 3; heading 8543; Explanatory Note 85.43.

Dear Mr. Della Ventura:

Your letter of August 29, 1990, requesting a tariff classification for the model PDS-110 intelligent dialer has been forwarded to this office for reply.


The article in question is an intelligent dialer (ID). It features a telephone dialer, telephone directory, memo mode, calculator and LCD display all housed in a rectangular shaped plastic body. The article is battery operated.

The telephone dialer is used to call any stored telephone number, or any other number using manual dialing as well as giving access to long distance services and special codes. In addition, the dialer provides last-number redial, area code bypass, remote control of answering machines, and slow dialing for difficult calling. The dialer also features one-touch dialing of 6 frequently called numbers.

The telephone directory provides a database phone book with up to 110 telephone numbers and names stored in any order.

The memo mode permits input of information to be recalled such as anniversary and birthday dates, travel schedules, additional private phone directory, sales data etc.

The calculator is the full-function type with 8-digit display and includes percentage and square root functions plus memory calculations.

The LCD display shows two lines of information at a time, with up to 8 alphanumeric characters per line.


Whether the ID is properly classifiable within subheading 8470.30.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for other calculating machines; or within subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUSA, which provides for other telephonic apparatus; or within subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUSA, which provides for other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 8470, HTSUSA, provides for calculating machines and similar machines incorporating a calculating device. Calculating machines comprise a wide range of machines varying from the simplest types which can only add and subtract to more complex machines which can perform the four arithmetic operations and several other types of calculations (e.g., extract square roots, raise a number to a given power and carry out trigonometric calculations). Explanatory Note (EN) 84.70(A). They include, in particular, pocket electronic calculators and office electronic calculators, whether or not programmable. EN 84.70 (A). Calculating machines consist of a manual arrangement for data input, calculating device and an output device. EN 84.70 (A)(1)-(3). The ID as a whole does not satisfy this description. While it consists of a calculating device, it also consists of a telephone dialer, telephone directory and memo mode. Accordingly, the ID does not satisfy the terms of heading 8470, HTSUSA, and cannot be classified therein.

Heading 8517, HTSUSA, provides for "electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy". This term encompasses apparatus for the transmission between two points of speech or other sounds (or of symbols representing written messages, images or other data), by variation of an electric current or of an optical wave flowing in a metallic or dielectric (copper, optical fibres, combination cables etc.) circuit connecting the transmitting station to the receiving station. EN 85.17. This heading covers all such electrical apparatus designed for this purpose. EN 85.17.

The telephone dialer, directory and memo mode portion of the ID satisfy the terms of heading 8517, HTSUSA. The dialer operates in a manner similar to the dialing selector of a tele- phone set in that it enables the caller to obtain a line connection. The user can either manually input a telephone number or retrieve one from the dialer's directory or memo mode. When a telephone number is displayed on the LCD, the speaker portion of the ID is placed against the mouthpiece of a telephone. The send button is then depressed so that tones are generated which represent the displayed telephone number. These tones are transmitted through the mouthpiece to the telephone transmitter so that a call can be made. In addition, devices for memorizing a telephone number are cited as examples of the telephonic apparatus provided for within heading 8517, HTSUSA. EN 85.17. The telephone directory and memo mode portions of the ID memorize telephone numbers. Accordingly, the telephone dialer, directory and memo mode portions of the ID satisfy the description of apparatus for line telephony. However, the ID incorporates a calculating mechanism which does not satisfy the terms of heading 8517, HTSUSA. Therefore, the ID as a whole is not classifiable within heading 8517, HTSUSA, by the application of the terms of this heading.

The term "apparatus" is intended to encompass a group of devices or a collection or set of materials, instruments or appliances to be used for a particular purpose or a given end. ITT Thompson Industries, Inc. v. United States, 3 CIT 36, 44, 537 F. Supp. 1272, 1277-78, aff'd 703 F. 2d 585 (Fed. Cir. 1982). See also The Deseret Co., v. United States, 10 CIT 609, 611 (1986), broad definition of apparatus encompass "an aggregate of materials intended for a specific use". The ID satisfies these descriptions. It consists of a telephone dialer, directory and memo mode which are to be used for the particular purpose of making telephone calls. The ID also contains a calculating mechanism. Accordingly, the ID ia an "apparatus" which performs both telephonic and calculating functions.

GRI 1 provides for classification to be determined by the relative section notes if classification cannot be determined by the terms of the headings. The section notes for headings 8517 and 8470 provide for the classification of machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more alternative functions. Section XVI, note 3. A "machine" means any machine, machinery, plant, equipment, apparatus or appliance cited in the headings of chapter 84 or 85. The ID satisfies this description. It is a machine consisting of telephonic apparatus (heading 8517) and a calculating device (heading 8470) which are adapted together for the purpose of performing telephonic communications and calculating functions. These types of machines are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principle function of the machine. Section XVI, note 3. In this instance, the principle function of the ID relates to telephonic communications. The machine is described as an "intelligent dialer". The functions of the telephone dialer portion of the ID are assigned the greatest degree of emphasis in the descriptive literature. The functions of the telephone directory and a portion of the memo mode revolve around the use of the telephone dialer. The calculator function and remainder of the memo mode functions do not relate to those of the dialer. However, it is our opinion that these functions are subsidiary to that of the telephone dialer and directory, and not the principle function of the ID.

Subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUSA, provides for other telephonic apparatus. The telephone dialer, telephone directory and memo mode portions of the ID satisfy the terms of this subheading. As stated previously, the dialer is used in place of the dialing selector of a telephone set to enable the caller to make a telephone call. Both the telephone directory and memo mode operate as devices for memorizing telephone numbers from which the dialer can recall stored numbers. Based on the fact that the principle functions of the ID relate to the operation of the telephone dialer, the ID is properly classifiable within this subheading by the operation of Section XVI, note 3.

Heading 8543, HTSUSA, provides for electrical machines and apparatus having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter. This heading covers all electrical appliances and apparatus, not falling in any other heading of this Chapter, nor covered more specifically by a heading of any other Chapter of the Nomenclature, nor excluded by the operation of a Legal Note to Section XVI or to this Chapter. EN 85.43. The operation of legal note 3 to section XVI requires the classification of the ID within another heading of this chapter. Therefore, the ID is precluded from classification within heading 8543, HTSUSA.


The intelligent dialer is properly classifiable within subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUSA, which provides for telephonic apparatus dutiable at the rate of 8.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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