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HQ 956012

March 30, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956012 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 8521.90.00

Mr. Michael Mahone
Porter International Inc.
P.O. Box 81488
San Diego, CA 92138

RE: Kodak EktaPro HS Motion Analyzer; Model 4540; Television Camera; HQ 089996; HQ 088044; HQ 086847; HQ 088336; Pfaff American Sales Corp.; Ugg Int'l, Inc.; Mita Copystar Corp.; NEC America, Inc.; Corporacion Sublistatica, S.A.; Davis Turner & Co.; Simmon Omega, Inc.; Trans-Atlantic Co.; Ameliotex, Inc.; Esco Mfg. Co.;

Dear Mr. Mahone:

This is in reply to you letter of November 1, 1993, to the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, on behalf of the Kodak Corporation, requesting classification of the "EktaPro HS Motion Analyzer," model 4540, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). You letter was forwarded to this office for reply.


The Kodak EktaPro HS Motion Analyzer, model 4540 is an ultra high-speed video recording system with the ability to record up to 4,500 full frames per second and up to 40,500 pictures per second for immediate playback. These speeds allow analysis and image storage of extremely rapid events such as air bag deployment and ballistics studies. This system uses solid state memory which eliminates the need for magnetic tape. Once captured by the analyzer, the stored images can be downloaded to standard video tape for future reference and analysis.

The EktaPro has the ability to depict motion in replay mode at the following fixed rates (frames per second): 2, 5, 10, 15, 30 (or X 10, i.e., 20, 50, 100, 150, 300).

The internal sensor element is a 256 X 256 charge coupled device ("CCD") with 256 levels of gray. CCDs are semiconductors which contain a grid of numerous photosensitive cells, or pixels.

As the image-forming light of an object is focused onto the grid, each pixel receives a certain quantity of light which is translated into an electrical charge. The result is a pattern of electrical charges which represents an image. The EktaPro system consists of the following components: 1) HS-4540 processor (system controller), 2) HS-4540 imager (camera), 3) HS-4540 Keypad (user interface), Imager cables (image connector).


What is the classification of the "Kodak EktaPro HS Motion Analyzer, Model 4540," under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)?


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:

...classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...

You argue that classification is appropriate under heading 8521, HTSUS. Heading 8521, HTSUS, provides for: "[v]ideo recording or reproducing apparatus." The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes ("ENs"), which provide classification guidance for the HTS, regarding heading 85.21, page 1370, state as follows:

(A) Recording and Combined Recording and Reproducing Apparatus

In television image and sound recording apparatus electric impulses (signals) which correspond to the images and the sound are recorded on media, generally consisting of magnetic tape. Generally the sound accompanying the image is recorded simultaneously on the same media, on one or several different tracks from that carrying the video recording. The signals can be obtained by connecting the recorder either to a television camera or to a television receiver.

When used for reproduction, the apparatus convert the recording (e.g., the magnetic patterns on the tape) into video signals. These signals are passed on either to a transmitting station or to a television receiver.

See Pfaff American Sales Corp. v. United States, Slip Op. 93- 101 (June 14, 1993) "The court first examines the relevance of the Explanatory Notes in determining the meaning of the term.... In so doing, the court recognizes that the Explanatory Notes do not
constitute controlling legislative history. Rather, their purpose is to offer guidance in interpreting HTSUS subheadings." Ugg Int'l, Inc. v. United States, 17 CIT __, 813 F. Supp. 848, 853 (1993); Mita Copystar Corp. v. United States, No. 93-76 (CIT May 20, 1993).

You state that the instant video recording device was designed to use random access memory ("RAM") in order to store the video images, instead of magnetic tape, because even high speed magnetic tape was not able to accurately record the high volume of images that the HS-4540 system provides (up to 4,500 full frames per second). Therefore, this is a technological advancement over the prior more common magnetic tape recording video machines.

The court has stated that "[i]t must also be remembered that the tariff statutes were enacted 'not only for the present but also for the future, thereby embracing articles produced by technologies which may not have been employed or known to commerce at the time of the enactment * * *.'" NEC America, Inc. v. United States, 8 CIT 184, 186 (1984), citing Corporacion Sublistatica, S.A. v. United States, 1 CIT 120, 126, 511 F.Supp. 805, 809 (1981); See also Davis Turner & Co. v. United States, 45 CCPA 39, 41, C.A.D. 669 (1957). See also Simmon Omega, Inc. v. United States, 83 Cust. Ct. 14, C.D. 4815 (1979), and Trans-Atlantic Co. v. United States, 471 F. 2d 1397, 60 CCPA 100, C.A.D. 1088 (1973), in which the courts have held that technological advancements and "improvement in the design of an article does not militate against its continuing to be a form of the named articles."

In HQ 088044, dated April 4, 1991, Customs held that a read only memory ("ROM") cartridge which reproduced the entire text of a book in audio form was classifiable in subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[t]urntables, record players, cassette players and other sound reproducing apparatus, not incorporating a sound recording device: [o]ther sound reproducing apparatus: [o]ther." Therefore, a ROM chip was found classifiable as "reproducing apparatus."

Similarly, the EktaPro HS-4540 motion analyzer is classifiable in heading 8521, HTSUS, which provides for video recording or reproducing apparatus, whether or not incorporating a video tuner. The EktaPro is merely a technological advancement over the prior magnetic tape video recording machines.

Furthermore, it is commonly and commercially known as a high speed video recording system. The court has stated that "[t]he tariff schedules are written in the language of commerce, and the terms used are to be given their commercial or common meaning." See Ameliotex, Inc. v. United States, 65 CCPA 22, 25, C.A.D. 1200, 565 F.2d 674, 677 (1977); Esco Mfg. Co. v. United States, 63 CCPA 71, 73 C.A.D. 1167, 530 F.2d 949, 951 (1976).

Consideration was also given to whether HQ 089996, dated October 23, 1991, regarding the classification of an electronic module which made repetitive animal sounds upon command, should be controlling for the subject goods. However, in that decision we distinguished the electronic animal noise module from the reading tray ROM cartridges of HQ 088044, when we stated: "The electronic module in question uses fixed integrated circuits which are designed to perform the same function over and over that of reproducing the sound of the object chosen by the reader." Therefore, the limited capability of the electronic module was found not to be within the purview of the heading "other sound reproducing apparatus." Similarly, other novelty articles which incorporate limited use integrated circuits (such as greeting cards, Christmas ornaments, hats, etc.) are also not classifiable as sound reproducing apparatus. See for example, HQ 081831, dated May 17, 1989, and HQ 081966, dated November 18, 1988.

Heading 9006, HTSUS, provides for: "[p]hotographic (other than cinematographic) cameras." However, in HQ 086847, dated April 20, 1990, and HQ 088336, dated August 20, 1991, Customs held that:

In addition to the guidance provided by the HTSUSA's classification of electrical articles, there is lexicographic authority for the position that electronic devices which use CCD's are distinguished from photographic articles. The McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Vol. 3, p. 168, provides:

Electronic camera. Advances in the field of solid-state electronics have made possible the development of the electronic still camera. Unlike photographic cameras, in which film senses and records the image-forming light, the electronic still camera uses a solid-state image sensor to sense the image-forming light and a separate recording medium to record and store the picture. (Emphasisadded).

In our opinion an electronic still video camera which uses a charge coupled device and records electrical representations of images on magnetic discs principally functions as an electrical apparatus and not as a photographic apparatus. Thus, still video cameras are not classifiable as photographic cameras in Heading 9006.

Similarly, for the same reasons, video cameras such as that encompassed in the "EktaPro" system are not classifiable in heading 9006, HTSUS, as photographic cameras. Furthermore, we are not convinced that when the court defined "photography" in St. Regis v. United States, 11 CIT 601 (1987), that it intended a solid- state image sensor to be encompassed within the term "sensitized surface."

The EktaPro system consists of the following components: 1) HS-4540 processor (system controller), 2) HS-4540 imager (camera), 3) HS-4540 Keypad (user interface), Imager cables (image connector). The Legal Note 4 to Section XVI provides the following classification guidance regarding functional units, such as the instant system:

Where a machine (including a combination of machines) consists of individual components (whether separate or interconnected by piping, by transmission devices, by electric cables or by other devices) intended to contribute together to a clearly defined function covered by one of the headings in chapter 84 or chapter 85, then the whole falls to be classified in the heading appropriate to that function.

The EktaPro is a group of machines, interconnected by cables, intended to contribute to the clearly defined function of video recording or reproducing apparatus. Therefore, the system is properly classifiable in subheading 8521.90.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[v]ideo recording or reproducing apparatus, whether or not incorporating a video tuner: [o]ther."


The "Kodak EktaPro HS Motion Analyzer, Model 4540" is classifiable in subheading 8521.90.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[v]ideo recording or reproducing apparatus, whether or not incorporating a video tuner: [o]ther." The rate of duty is 3.7% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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