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HQ 084742

September 12, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:CV:G: 084742 JLV


TARIFF NO.: 8517.81.00

Peter J. Fitch, Esq.
Fitch, King and Caffentzis
116 John Street
New York, New York 10038

RE: Telephone dialer

Dear Mr. Fitch:

In a letter of May 10, 1989, on behalf of your client,Tele-Art Marketing USA, you request a ruling on the classification of an article known as the TD-5 Index Dialer. The ruling that follows is our decision on the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The Tele-Art ID 300, model TD-5, is an electrical device which operates in-line with a telephone set. It is designed to be connected between the incoming line and the telephone set. The device is manufactured in Hong Kong.

The TD-5 consists of a tone/pulse telephone dialer with a memory capacity of 2050 digits, a flip-open alphabetical index for names and other information, and a 7-digit LCD display. It connects directly to the telephone set using an electrical conductor with standard modular connectors. The flip-open index provides 15 pages, each of which provides for 24 lines of hand-written entries (names, numbers). Next to each entry line on a page is a button for automatic recall and dialing of the number stored as indicated on the index line.

You conclude that the model TD-5 is classifiable under subheading 8543.80.60, HTSUSA, on the basis of a ruling dated March 8, 1988 (file 081681), and the fact that the TD-5,unlike the article in 081681, is designed to be connected to telephonic apparatus.


Is the index dialer more specifically provided for in heading 8543, HTSUSA, than in heading 8517, HTSUSA?


While subheading 8543.80.60, HTSUSA, appears to be a specific provision for the article in issue, the fundamental rules for classification under the HTS require that the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) be applied. GRI 1 states, in part, that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings [emphasis added] and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the following provisions * * * ." It is argued that heading 8543,which provides for "electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter [85]," is applicable. It is also apparent that heading 8517, which provides for "electrical apparatus for line telephony or telegraphy * * * and parts thereof," could apply to the index dialer.

The design of the index dialer, the supporting documentation and descriptive literature, and the function of the index dialer are all clear evidence of the fact that it is an apparatus for line telephony. The stored information is for use in automatic dialing of telephone numbers "to simplify dialing procedures and help save time." The hard copy pages are simply a means by which the stored information can be located and retrieved. The built-in audio line monitor supports the efficient use of the automatic dialer.

Although the letter of May 10, 1989, does not set forth the rationale upon which the claimed classification is based,it appears that the underlying argument is based on the multiple functions performed by the index dialer.

It is arguable that the index dialer is a composite machine (dialer and flip-open index) within the meaning ofnote 3, section XVI. If so, then classification would be based on the component or machine that performs the principal function. In this case, the telephonic dialer is that component. Inasmuch as there are, prima facie, two applicable headings, GRI 3(a) directs us to classify under the more specific provision. Heading 8517 clearly describes the article (i.e., according to the component that performs the principal function). Heading 8543 would only be considered if the article was not "specified or included elsewhere" in chapter 85.

It is also arguable that the index dialer is not a machine of the type described in note 3, section XVI, but that it is, nevertheless, a composite good consisting of different components and, therefore, subject to GRI 3(b). In this case,the dialer gives the article its essential character. Because the dialer is electrical apparatus for line telephony, heading 8517 applies.

However, all the features of the index dialer serve the single function, that of a telephone dialer. The "index" is merely the means by which a person can access the information stored in the dialer. This article has a single function and design, and that is to operate as an in-line device for use with a telephone set. Heading 8517 specifically describes this article. The Explanatory Notes to heading 8517 elaborate on the types of apparatus that are considered to be "telephonic apparatus." Under GRI 3 (a), the index dialer is classifiable in heading 8517, the heading which provides the most specific description, specifically, subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUSA.


The TD-5 index dialer is classified as other telephonic apparatus in subheading 8517.81.0000, HTSUSA, and dutiable at 8.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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