United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0950721 - HQ 0950873 > HQ 0950873

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 950873

February 13, 1992

CAL-2 CO:R:C:M 950873 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 9002.20.80

Ms. Mary Rendall
Sales Coordinator
Toray Marketing & Sales (America), Inc.
1875 South Grant Street
San Mateo, CA 94402

RE: Reconsideration HQ 089524; Toray E Filter; Subheading 8473.30.80; Chapter 90, note 2(a); ENs 90.02; ENs 90.01; H. Conf. Rep. No. 576; Brookside Veneers, LTD v. U.S.; Austin Chem. Co. v. U.S.; Filter; Webster's Third New International Dictionary; The Random House Dictionary of the English Language; HQ 084653; Chapter 90, note 2(b); Chapter 90, General ENs (III).

Dear Ms. Rendall

This is in reply to your letter of December 17, 1991, requesting reconsideration of HQ 089524 (7/12/91), which held that the Toray E Filter was classifiable within subheading 9002.20.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The E Filter is a screen type article that fits over the screen of a computer monitor. It is designed to minimize glare from the screen and thus reduce eye strain. The filter is composed of a rectangular piece of acrylic framed by plastic strips.


Whether the subject filter is properly classifiable within subheading 9002.20.80, HTSUS, which provides for "[l]enses, prisms, mirrors and other optical elements, of any material, mounted, being parts of or fittings for instruments or apparatus, other than such elements of glass not optically worked . . .

[f]ilters . . . [o]ther."; or classifiable within subheading 8473.30.40, HTSUS, which provides for "other" parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471.


Parts and accessories which are goods included in any of the headings of Chapter 90, or of Chapter 84, 85, or 91 are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings. Chapter 90, note 2(a). Subheading 9002.20.80, HTSUS, provides for filters and parts and accessories thereof. In HQ 089524, we concluded that the subject filter is classifiable within this subheading. Accordingly, the filter is precluded from classification as a part and accessory by the application of the above legal note.

The applicability of subheading 9002.20.80, HTSUS, is supported by the submitted literature. It states that the subject filter is designed to eliminate light reflection, shield against ultraviolet rays, and block visible light. The term "filter" is not defined in the HTSUS. When this is the case, it is presumed that Congress intended to apply the term's common and commercial meaning. Brookside Veneers, LTD v. United States, 847 F. 2d 789 (1988). To ascertain the common and commercial meaning of a term, dictionaries and other lexicographic authorities may be consulted. Austin Chem. Co. v. United States, 835 F. 2d 1423 (Fed. Cir. 1987). The term "filter" is described as a trans- parent material that transmits radiant energy (i.e., electro- magnetic waves) of some wavelengths more freely than others, to pass through something that partially obstructs, and a device for eliminating light rays. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, p. 850, (unabridged ed. 1986) and The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, p. 531, (unabridged ed. 1983). The subject filter satisfies these descriptions. It is made of a transparent material which allows some forms of light to pass through while it partially obstructs and eliminates other forms of light. Thus, the subject device satisfies the description of a filter.

Our conclusion is further supported by a previous Customs decision. In HQ 084653 (9/13/89), we addressed the classifi- cation of an anti-glare filter which was similar to the subject filter except that it contained a textile screen. That device also blocked out light from the screen of a computer monitor. We concluded that this type of device performed a filtering function. Therefore, we consider this ruling instructive for determining that the subject device also performs the function of a filter.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) state that heading 90.02 covers articles referred to in item (D) of the ENs to heading 90.01 when in a permanent mounting (viz., fitted in a support or frame, etc.) suitable for fitting to an apparatus or instrument. ENs 90.02, p. 1461 (1991). Item (D) refers to optical elements of any material other than glass, whether or not optically worked (e.g., elements of plastic). ENs 90.01, p. 1459 (1991). The subject filters satisfy these descriptions. Filters are enumerated as a type of optical element within heading 9002, HTSUS. In addition, the subject filters are made of a plastic, fitted in a frame and suitable for fitting to a computer monitor. While the ENs are not dispositive, they provide a commentary on the scope of each heading and offer guidance for interpretation of the HTSUS. H. Conf. Rep. No. 576, 100th Cong., 2D Sess., p. 549, reprinted in 1988 U.S. CODE CONG. & ADMIN. NEWS p. 1582. Therefore, we consider the above ENs instructive for concluding that the subject filters satisfy the terms of subheading 9002.20.80, HTSUS.

You claim that the subject filter is classifiable within subheading 8473.30.80, HTSUS, as an accessory of a machine of heading 8471 (i.e., a computer monitor). You cite Chapter 90, note 2(b) in support of your claim. This note states "[o]ther parts and accessories, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine . . . are to be classified with the machines, instruments or apparatus of that kind." However, the subject filter is not an other part and accessory within the meaning of this note. Instead, it is a part and accessory which is a good included in heading 9002, HTSUS. As stated previously, these types of parts and accessories are classified according to Chapter 90, note 2(a). Consequently, resort to Note 2(b) for the classification of the subject filter is not correct in this instance.

This conclusion regarding the applicability of Note 2(b) is additionally supported by the ENs which state that Note 2(b) does not apply to parts or accessories which in themselves constitute articles falling in any particular heading of Chapter 90. Chapter 90, General ENs (III), p. 1457 (1991). The subject filter satisfies this description. It is an accessory which itself constitutes an article of heading 9002, HTSUS. The above ENs further state that the optical elements of heading 90.02 are to remain in this heading regardless of the instrument or apparatus to which they are fitted. Thus, the fact that the filter (i.e., an optical element) is designed to be fitted to a computer monitor has no significance for classification purposes. Accordingly, we find the above ENs supportive for determining that Note 2(b) is inapplicable in this instance.


The Toray E Filter is properly classifiable within subheading 9002.20.80, HTSUS, which provides for filters. HQ 089524 is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: