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HQ 954363

August 27, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954363 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8543.80.90

Ms. Catherine Pritchard
Expeditors International
P.O. Box 2568
578 Eccles Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080

RE: Musical Sound Button; Sound Module; EN 85.43; Heading 9209; General Explanatory Note B to Chapter 92; HQ 953105

Dear Ms. Pritchard:

This is in response to your letter of May 24, 1993, on behalf of Institutional Financing Services, Inc., to the Area Director of Customs in New York, concerning the classification of musical buttons under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter and the sample submitted were referred to this office for a direct response. Your question about country of origin marking will be answered in a separate letter to be prepared by another branch in this office.


The musical sound button consists of a circular, white plastic housing, measuring approximately 1 and 1/4 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch in thickness. When the button is pressed, a musical tune will play. The musical sound button has a speaker, a mercury cell and an electronic circuit. After importation, the musical sound button will be incorporated into teddy bears.


Is the musical button classified as a sound module or as a music box under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

You indicate that the musical sound button is provided for under heading 9209, HTSUS, as other parts or mechanisms for musical boxes or musical instruments. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. General Explanatory Note B to Chapter 92, page 1555, states that this chapter excludes electronic musical modules which are provided for in heading 8543, HTSUS. If the subject merchandise meets the definition of sound modules in heading 8543, HTSUS, then classification under heading 9209, HTSUS, would be inapplicable.

EN 85.43 (13), page 1403, states that heading 8543, HTSUS, includes

[e]lectronic musical modules for incorporation in a wide variety of utilitarian or other goods, e.g. wrist watches, cups and greeting cards. These modules usually consist of an electronic circuit, a resistor, a loudspeaker and a mercury cell. They contain fixed musical programmes.

In HQ 953105, dated April 15, 1993, Customs held that a sound module which makes a "wolf whistle" is accurately described by EN 85.43(13) because the sound module contains a speaker, a cell and an electronic circuit. We further held in HQ 953105, that EN 85.43(13) covers all types of articles, even though not listed, so long as it incorporates a sound module. See HQ 089996, dated October 23, 1991; HQ 088646, dated May 3, 1991.

We find that the musical sound button meets the definition set forth in EN 85.43(13) and the holding in HQ 953105, because it consists of a speaker, a mercury cell, an electronic circuit, and it is to be incorporated into teddy bears after importation. The subject merchandise is properly classifiable under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter. . .[o]ther machines and apparatus: [o]ther. . ." See also HQ 950201, dated November 15, 1991.


The musical button is classifiable under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter. . .[o]ther machines and apparatus: [o]ther. . ." The general, column one rate of duty is 3.9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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