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HQ 225431

September 29, 1994



TARIFF NOs: 9812.00.20, 9002.90.40

District Director of Customs
P.O. Box 37260
6269 Ace Industrial Drive, Cudahy WI.
Milwaukee, WI 53237-0260

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3701-94- 100020, concerning duty-free importation of a secondary telescope mirror under 9812.00.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

Dear Sir

The above-referenced protest was forwarded to our office on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3701-94-100020, dated April 7, 1994. We have considered the facts and the issue raised; our decision follows.


A secondary mirror was imported by the University of Chicago for installation in a working telescope. When the entry was liquidated Customs classified the mirror under subheading 9002.90.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as mirrors, fittings for instruments, at a rate of duty of 8 percent ad valorem.

The protestant claims that the mirror should have been accorded duty-free treatment under subheading 9812.00.20, HTSUS, which provides for articles imported for exhibition by any institution established for the encouragement of education or science. On the protest form the protestant states as follows:

The subject imported mirror will be installed in the California Institute of Technology Submillimeter Observatory on public property on Mount Maunakea in Hawaii. It is a secondary mirror for a working telescope and will be clearly visible to the public when installed. The observatory is open for public tours, and the mirror will be viewed by the many elementary and high school students and members of the
public who visit the observatory each year. It will also be used for scientific educational and research purposes by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

A letter dated July 7, 1992, from the University of Chicago to the importer's broker states that the mirror will become a part of the permanent equipment of the university. It will be used for scientific purposes by astrophysicists.


Whether the mirror at issue should be allowed duty-free treatment under subheading 9812.00.20, HTSUS.


Articles may be imported free of duty under subheading 9812.00.20, HTSUS, if they are imported for exhibition by an institution established for the encouragement of education or science. Subheading 9812.00.20, HTSUS, is in subchapter XII. U.S. Note 1 of Subchapter XII states that the provisions of this subchapter do not apply to articles for any purpose other than exhibition.

The mirror at issue is to be permanently installed in a telescope for the use of astrophysicists. The fact that the telescope is located on public property or that tours of the observatory are offered to the public does not make the mirror an exhibition piece. Because the telescope is used for scientific purposes it can not be imported duty-free under subheading 9812.00.20, HTSUS.


The protest is denied. The mirror does not qualify as an article of exhibition under subheading 9812.00.20, HTSUS.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of this decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to
the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


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