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HQ 956370

July 19, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956370 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 9013.80.60

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 619050
1205 Royal Lane
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Texas 75261-0950

RE: Protest 5501-94-100058; Industrial endoscopes; rigid borescopes; subheading 9013.80.20; EN 90.13; Additional U.S. Note 3 to chapter 90; GRI 3(b); HQ 953652 (medical endoscopes)

Dear District Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 5501-94- 100058, which concerns the classification of industrial endoscopes under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The subject merchandise was entered on October 11, 1993, and the entry was liquidated on January 28, 1994. The protest was timely filed on March 7, 1994.


The articles in question are industrial endoscopes (Econoscope set, TEKF-R and TEKF), which are referred to as rigid borescopes. They are used for visual inspection in industrial environments, specifically to check the interior of various types of equipment, including engines.

A borescope is a long, tubular device with lenses and fiber- optics which illuminate internal areas that cannot be readily seen. The borescope transmits the view from the tip of the instrument to the user's eye or to a camera (which is sold separately). It can operate in hostile environments including those that are excessively hot or cold.

The borescopes were entered as hand magnifiers under subheading 9013.80.20, HTSUS. They were classified upon liquidation as other optical instruments under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS. - 2 -


Whether the industrial endoscopes (borescopes) are classifiable as hand magnifiers under subheading 9013.80.20, 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 borescopes are classifiable under heading 9013, HTSUS, which provides for "other optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter." However, the following subheadings are under consideration:

Other devices, appliances and instruments: 9013.80.20 Hand magnifiers, magnifying glasses, loupes, thread counters and similar apparatus (6.6% ad valorem)

9013.80.60 Other (9% ad valorem)

The protestant contends that because the borescopes are hand-held devices, they are classifiable as hand magnifiers under subheading 9013.80.20, HTSUS. We disagree.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

EN 90.13(3), pg. 1479, states that the heading covers "[h]and magnifying glasses and magnifiers (e.g., pocket type or those for office use) . . . ." It is our opinion that the borescopes, although hand-held, are not in the same class as these devices, nor are they similar to loupes or thread counters, which are also covered by subheading 9013.80.20, HTSUS.

The borescopes are remote viewing systems used in industrial applications. They contain power supplies, lens systems, fiber- optic bundles and viewing tubes. They are designed to be fitted
with camera connectors and zoom eyepieces. Moreover, they are water proof, oil proof, pressure resistant and designed to withstand temperatures of plus 250 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time.

The borescopes, which are "optical instruments" in accordance with Additional U.S. Note 3 to chapter 90, HTSUS, are classifiable under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS. See also HQ 953652, dated April 13, 1994 (wherein medical endoscope systems were classified under subheading 9018.19.40 and 9018.90.20, HTSUS). The borescopes invoiced as "Econoscope set" are classifiable under this subheading according to GRI 3(b) (goods put up in sets for retail sale).


The industrial endoscopes (Econoscope set, TEKF-R and TEFK) are classifiable under subheading 9013.80.60, 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 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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