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HQ 955917

May 10, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955917 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8517.81.00

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
1000 2nd Avenue
Room 2200
Seattle, Washington 98104

RE: Protest 3001-93-100839; SoundXchange Model A; HQ 955108; EN 85.17; functional unit

Dear District Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 3001-93- 100839, which concerns the classification of the SoundXchange Model A under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The subject merchandise was entered on June 7, 1993, and the entry was liquidated on September 24, 1993. The protest was timely filed on December 22, 1993.


The article in question is the SoundXchange Model A ("SoundXchange"), which is a speaker-style product for multimedia communications on personal computers (PC). The SoundXchange is used for communication on a computer network, and provides voice recording and playback capabilities for personal computers. It is designed for computers which already contain a sound board or for computers with built-in sound.

The SoundXchange consists of two loudspeakers, two microphones, amplifier circuitry, a monitor mounting bracket, AC power adapter and an audio cable hat, which plugs into a sound digitizing board that has been previously installed inside the PC. The SoundXchange delivers audio signals directly to and receives audio signals directly from the sound digitizing board, which in turn is connected directly to the central processing unit (CPU) in the PC.

The protestant contends that the SoundXchange is classifiable under subheading 8471.92.00, HTSUS, which provides for combined input/output units of automatic data processing machines, subheading 8518.50.00, HTSUS, which provides for electric sound amplifier sets, or subheading 8520.90.00, HTSUS, which provides for other sound recording apparatus, whether or not incorporating a sound reproducing device. The merchandise was classified upon liquidation under subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUS, which provides other electrical apparatus for line telephony. The protestant has not provided any legal argument in support of his position.


Whether the SoundXchange Model A is classifiable as other electrical apparatus for line telephony under subheading 8517.81.00, 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 that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The subheadings at issue are as follows:

8471 Automatic data processing machines and units thereof . . . :
Input or output units, whether or not entered with the rest of a system and whether or not containing storage units in the same housing:
8471.92.10 Combined input/output units
(3.7% ad valorem)

8517 Electrical apparatus for line telephony or telegraphy, including such apparatus for carrier-current line systems; parts thereof:
Other apparatus:
8517.81.00 Telephonic (8.5%)

8518 Microphones and stands therefor; loudspeakers, whether or not mounted in - 3 -
their enclosures; headphones, earphones and combined microphone/speaker sets; audio-frequency electric amplifiers; electric sound amplifier sets; parts thereof:
8518.50.00 Electric sound amplifier sets (4.9%)

8520 Magnetic tape recorders and other sound recording apparatus, whether or not incorporating a sound reproducing device: 8520.90.00 Other (3.9%)

In HQ 955108, dated October 19, 1993, Customs held that the SoundXchange, models "A" and "B", were classifiable under subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUS. We determined that the SoundXchange was a "functional unit" (section XVI, note 4, HTSUS) whose components were intended to contribute together to the function of communication as defined under heading 8517, HTSUS. We stated that "[a]lthough the merchandise is not a telephone, it is an 'apparatus for the transmission between two points of speech or other sounds (or of symbols representing written messages, images or other data), by variation of an electric current . . . connecting the transmission station to the receiving station.'" See Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Note (EN) 85.17, pg. 1360. We further stated that "[e]ven if the merchandise is described under headings 8518, 8520, or 8471, HTSUS, it is precluded from classification under those headings, because Explanatory Note 85.17 states that if the merchandise is described under heading 8517, HTSUS, the merchandise is to be classified under that heading." Accordingly, as the protestant has not presented any additional arguments, we will adhere to our prior decision, a copy of which is enclosed.


The SoundXchange Model A is classifiable under subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUS.

The protest should be DENIED. In accordance with section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, 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 the decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs - 4 -
personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

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