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HQ 954595

November 15, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954595 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 9023.00.00

Mr. Ken Lacy
KEL International
1838 El Camino Real #111
Burlingame, CA 94010

RE: Computing Kits; Explanatory Note 90.23

Dear Mr. Lacy:

This is in response to your letter of June 24, 1993, on behalf of Model Technologies, concerning the classification of a computing kit under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of computing kits (model no. 30554) manufactured in Germany. The kit is comprised of two mini-motors, two gears, one electromagnet, three lamps, eight pushbuttons, and two potentiometers. It is designed to create ten different working models, including a machine tool, a material lifting system, a rotator antenna, a sorting system, a dual-axis teach-in robot, a "Tower of Hanoi", and a graphics panel. The models which can be created are designed to interface with a programmable computer. It is our understanding that the kits are sold almost exclusively to educational mail-order shops, and are purchased mostly by junior high and high schools for use by teachers in technology training classes. Learning materials are available for use in computer, science and industrial technology classes, however they are not imported with the computing kits. Each kit costs approximately $500.

The subheading under consideration is as follows:

9023.00.00: [i]nstruments, apparatus and models, designed for demonstrational purposes (for example, in education or exhibitions), unsuitable for other uses, and parts and accessories thereof.

Goods classifiable under this provision receive duty-free treatment.


Whether the computing kits are classifiable under subheading 9023.00.00, HTSUS, as instruments designed for demonstrational purposes.


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 is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). In part, Explanatory Note 90.23 (pp. 1503, 1504) states that:

[t]his heading covers a wide range of instruments, apparatus and models designed for demonstrational purposes (e.g., in schools, lecture rooms, exhibitions) and unsuitable for other uses.

Subject to this proviso, the heading includes:

(9) Small scale demonstrational models (of aircraft, ships, machines, etc.) generally of metal or wood (e.g., for advertising purposes, etc.). It should, however, be noted that models suitable solely for ornamental purposes are classified in their respective headings. . .

[t]he heading also excludes:

(c) Articles designed for both recreational and demonstrational purposes (e.g., certain model sets of mechanical parts; mechanical or electrical toy locomotives, boilers, cranes, aircraft, etc.)(Chapter 95).

In HQ 088879, dated April 27, 1992, the classification of plastic mirrors under the HTSUS was at issue. Once imported, the mirrors were sold to professional third parties to be used for demonstrational purposes. In denying the protestant's claim for duty-free treatment under subheading 9023.00.00, HTSUS, it was stated that:

[w]e believe the test of [9023.00.00] is that demonstrational models are those that are to be used by the importer in schools, lecture rooms or exhibitions. In this case, the importer intends to sell the models to third parties who in turn will use such models for demonstration purposes.

It is our position that, based upon Explanatory Note 90.23, and the test as stated in HQ 088879, the computing kits are classifiable under subheading 9023.00.00, HTSUS. A user can create several small scale models of machines from the kits for demonstrational uses. The kits are primarily used by professionals (teachers) for educational purposes in secondary schools, and no evidence has been provided that they are suitable for other uses.

The kits are not precluded from classification under subheading 9023.00.00, HTSUS, as there is no evidence that they are designed for recreational purposes, and, because of their high cost and their educational use in schools, we find that they are not for use as mechanical toys.


The computing kits are classifiable under subheading 9023.00.00, HTSUS, as instruments designed for demonstrational purposes.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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