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HQ 088155

February 14, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088155 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 9005.10.00

Adele M. Zeller
Vice President
Zelco Industries, Inc.
630 So. Columbus Ave.
C.S. # 4445
Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 10551-4445

RE: Magnatel system; spectacles; carrying case; textile cord; Heading 9005; Subheading 9005.10.00; General Rule of Interpretation 3; composite good; General Rule of Interpretation 3(b) Explanatory Notes.

Dear Ms. Zeller:

This is in response to your letter received by U.S. Customs in New York on October 17, 1990, requesting a tariff classifi- cation of the Magnatel hands free magnifying system (Magnatel).


The Magnatel system consists of a spectacle type device with magnifying lens, and adjustable knobs on each temple so that the spectacles can be focused like binoculars. A textile cord is attached to the frames of the spectacles so that they can be worn loosely around the neck and to prevent them from falling to the ground. A textile travel pouch with drawstring is also included for storage, protection and transport of the system.


Whether the Magnatel system is properly classifiable as a composite good within the meaning of General Rule of Interpre- tation (GRI) 3(b) or as separate components.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation. 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, and unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

Heading 9005, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), provides for binoculars. Explanatory Note (EN) 90.05 states that this heading includes "[b]inoculars, such as opera glasses, binoculars for touring or hunting, military binoculars . . . and binoculars made in the form of spectacles." Binoculars are described as an optical device designed for use by both eyes simultaneously. Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary (1984). The spectacle portion of the Magnatel system satisfies these descriptions. More specifically, the spectacles are provided for within subheading 9005.10.00, HTSUSA, as binoculars. However, the Magnatel system does not satisfy these descriptions because it contains articles which are, prima facie, classifiable within other headings. Therefore, the system cannot be classified by the application of GRI 1.

GRI 3 governs the classification of goods which are, prima facie, classifiable within two or more headings. The Magnatel system satisfies the terms of this GRI. The spectacles are classifiable within heading 9005, the carrying case within heading 4202, and the textile cord heading 6307. However, not one of these headings by itself covers the Magnatel system. Therefore, the system is, prima facie, classifiable within two or more headings.

GRI 3(a) requires the heading which provides the most specific description of the article to govern over one which provides a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the components contained in composite goods those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods. This is the situation which exists in the present case. Goods which cannot be classified according to this rule are then to be classified according to GRI

GRI 3(b) provides for composite goods made up of different components. Composite goods can consist of separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and together form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. GRI 3(b) EN

(IX). The Magnatel system satisfies this description. It is composed of separable components (i.e., spectacles, case and cord). These components are also adapted for use together. For instance, the case operates as both a storage place and carrying case for the spectacles and cord. The cord is attached to the spectacles to enable the user to wear them loosely around the neck and to prevent them from falling to the ground. In addition, these components are mutually complementary to each other based on the fact that they are intended to be used together as a whole. Lastly, they are also not normally offered for sale separately. The spectacles would not normally be offered for sale without some kind of case, and it is claimed that the case is designed and dedicated for use with the spectacles and would not normally be sold without them. The cord would also normally be sold with the spectacles or similar items.

Composite goods are classifiable as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. GRI 3(b) EN(VII). The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. GRI 3(b) EN(VIII). The component which establishes essential character in this case is the spectacles based on the fact that they are the constituent component of the merchandise. As discussed previously, the spectacles are classifiable within subheading 9005.10.00, HTSUSA. Accordingly, the Magnatel system is classifiable as if it consisted solely of the spectacles within this subheading.


The Magnatel system is a composite good within the meaning of GRI 3(b) and classifiable according to its essential character within subheading 9005.10.00, HTSUSA, which provides for binoculars, free of duty.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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