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HQ 951158

August 24, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951158 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 8527.31.50

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
909 First Ave., Rm 2039
Seattle, WA 98174

RE: Protest No. 3001-9X-XXXXXX; Soundesign; AC AM/FM, Dual Cassette Stereo with Clock

Dear Sir:

This is our response to Protest Number 3001-9X-XXXXXX, dated January 6, 1992, and Application for Further Review, regarding the classification of AM/FM dual cassette stereo with clock, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The imported merchandise consists of a stereo system which combines in one housing, an AM/FM stereo receiver, a digital clock and frequency readout display, a dual cassette deck, and a three-band graphic equalizer. The imported stereo also includes two speakers and a wireless remote control. It is AC-powered only.


Is the appropriate classification for nonportable, combination AC stereos under subheading 8527.31.40, HTSUS, which provides for combination stereos incorporating tape players which are incapable of recording, or is the proper classification under subheading 8527.31.50, HTSUS, which provides for other combinations incorporating tape recorders?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

Heading 8527, HTSUS, in pertinent part, describes reception apparatus for radiobroadcasting, whether or not combined in the same housing with sound recording or reproducing apparatus. There is no dispute that the stereo combinations under consideration are described by this heading.

GRI 6 governs the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading. GRI 6 provides in pertinent part that the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading is determined according to the terms of the subheadings. In the instant case, the competing subheadings are as follows:

8527.31.40 Combinations incorporating tape players which are incapable of recording

8527.31.50 Other combinations incorporating tape recorders

Subheading 8527.31.40, HTSUS, is inapplicable in this instance because the dual cassette decks incorporated into the systems are capable of recording. The systems do not incorporate tape players which are incapable of recording. See HQ 087179, dated May 31, 1991.

Unlike subheading 8527.31.40, HTSUS, which restricts the tape players described to those which are incapable of recording, subheading 8527.31.50, HTSUS, does not restrict the tape recorders described to those which are incapable of playing. Because the combinations under consideration incorporate tape recorders, they are classifiable under subheading 8527.31.50, HTSUS.

The protestant argues that the units are classifiable under subheading 8527.31.40, HTSUS, which provides for combinations incorporating tape players which are incapable of recording.

The dual cassette deck physically and functionally integrates two tape wells to allow the wells to be used together to record ("dubbing") from one well to the other. One can also use the dual cassette deck for single well play or record. However, the "play only" well cannot operate without the motor and many common tape deck parts it shares with the "record/play" well. The motor and common parts are clearly not separate or distinct to either tape well.

If classified separately, the dual cassette deck would be described by Heading 8520 as a tape recorder incorporating a sound reproducing (playing) device. The fact that the dual cassette deck may be housed together with tuner/amplifiers and other components does not erase its identity as a dual cassette deck that records as well as plays. The dual cassette deck component of the audio systems under consideration is not
described in the promotional literature as a separate tape player and tape recorder, but is identified as a "Dual Cassette with High Speed Dubbing."

Furthermore, as the court has emphatically stated, "it is not for us to distort the statute to 'fix' what Congress either intentionally or inadvertently failed to anticipate." Sea-Land Service, Inc. v. United States, Appeal No. 90-1311 (Decided November 30, 1990), citing Unimed, Inc. v. Quigg, 888 F.2d 826, 829 (Fed. Cir. 1989); See Crooks v. Harrelson, 282 U.S. 55, 60, 51 S.Ct. 49, 51, 75 L.Ed. 156 (1930) ("Laws enacted with good intention, when put to the test, frequently, and to the surprise of the law maker himself, turn out to be mischievous, absurd or otherwise objectionable. But in such case the remedy lies with the law making authority, and not with the courts.").

In HQ 089413 (addressed to you), dated May 31, 1991, Customs revoked HQ 083065 (addressed to you), dated August 29, 1989. In HQ 089413, Customs stated that you may apply for relief from the binding effects of that decision as may be warranted by the circumstances. You have applied for such relief and have satisfactorily demonstrated that you reasonably relied on the earlier ruling to your detriment. Therefore, after careful consideration of the facts and documentation in this case, in accordance with 19 CFR 177.9(d)(3), Customs has determined that it is appropriate to delay the effective date of HQ 089413, dated May 31, 1991, for a period of 90 days from May 31, 1991, for the purposes of application to the entries of the protestant.


The Soundesign AC combination stereos incorporating clocks are classified in subheading 8527.31.50, HTSUS, which provides for reception apparatus for radiobroadcasting, combined in the same housing, with sound recording or reproducing apparatus, other radiobroadcast receivers, combined with sound recording or reproducing apparatus, other, other combinations incorporating tape recorders.

You should deny the protest in full, except to the extent that we have granted detrimental reliance to any entries in the 90 day period beginning May 31, 1991. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director

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