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HQ 957435

August 8, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:M 957435 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 9013.80.60

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
300 S. Ferry Street
Terminal Island
Los Angeles, CA 90731

RE: Protest 2720-94-100493; Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Indicator Panel for Typewriters; Heading 8473, 8531; Legal Note 1(m) to section XVI; EN 85.31; HQs 951868, 951609, 952360, 952973, 954788, 953115, 952502, and 951288

Dear District Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 2720-94-100493, which concerns the classification of an LCD panel under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The subject merchandise is an liquid crystal display (LCD) panel, part number LM7290SYR, for typewriters. The LCD panel has a 480 x 64 pixel configuration. It is attached to a printed circuit board (PCB) with a control switch for brightness, a male connector for interfacing, and mounting holes in each corner of the PCB for attachment into Brother Electric typewriters.

The merchandise was entered under subheading 8531.20.00, HTSUS, as LCD indicator panel. The entry was liquidated on February 25, 1994, under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS, as LCDs. The protest was timely filed on April 22, 1994.

Classification of the merchandise under subheading 8473.10.00, HTSUS, as parts of typewriters, is also under consideration.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8473.10.00 Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of headings 8469 to 8472: [p]arts and accessories of the machines of heading 8469. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 4 percent ad valorem.

8531.20.00 Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels, burglar or fire alarms), other than those of heading 8512 or 8530. . . :
[i]ndicator panels incorporating liquid crystal devices (LCD's) or light emitting diodes (LED's). . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 2.7 percent ad valorem.

9013.80.60 Liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings; lasers, other than laser diodes; other optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter . . . : [o]ther devices, appliances and instruments: [o]ther. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 9 percent ad valorem.


Whether the LCD panel is classifiable as parts of typewriters, or as a visual signaling indicator panel, or as LCDs not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings, under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Subheading 8531.20.00, HTSUS, provides for "[e]lectric sound or visual signaling apparatus...[i]ndicator panels incorporating liquid crystal devices (LCD's)...." Therefore, to be classified in this subheading, the LCDs must be designed for "signaling."

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS) Explanatory Notes (ENs) may be consulted. The ENs, although not dispositive, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See, T.D. 89-80, 54 F R 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN 85.31, page 1381,) is fairly descriptive and restrictive as to the types of "signaling" indicator panels and the function they must perform in order to be classifiable in heading 8531, HTSUS. EN 85.31 states indicator panels and the like: "[a]re used (e.g., in offices, hotels and factories) for calling personnel, indicating where a certain person or service is required, indicating whether a room is free or not. They include:

(1) Room indicators. There are large panels with numbers corresponding to a number of rooms. When a button is pressed in the room concerned the corresponding number is either lit up or exposed by the falling away of a shutter or flap.

(2) Number indicators. The signals appear to illuminated figures on the face of a small box; in some apparatus of this kind the calling mechanism is operated by the dial of a telephone. Also clock type indicators in which the numbers are indicated by a hand moving round a dial.

(3) Office indicators, for example, those used to indicate whether the occupant of a particular office is free or not. Some types are merely a simple "come in" or "engaged" sign illuminated at will by the occupant of the office.

(4) Lift indicators. These indicate, on an illuminated board, where the lift is and whether it is going up or down.

(5) Engine room telegraph apparatus for ships.

(6) Station indicating panels for showing the times and platforms of trains.

(7) Indicators for race course, football stadiums, bowling alleys, etc.

Certain of these indicator panels, etc., also incorporate bells or other sound signaling devices (emphasis in original).

Therefore, only those LCD's which are principally used and/or limited by design to "signaling" are classifiable under subheading 8531.20.00, HTSUS. See HQ 954788, dated December 1, 1993; HQ 953115, dated May 10, 1993; HQ 952502; HQ 951868, dated October 31, 1992; HQ 952360, dated October 15, 1992; and HQ 951288. The LCDs at issue are designed and used for electric typewriter displays. They are not principally used or designed as signaling indicator panels. The LCDs classifiable under subheading 8531.20.00, HTSUS, display limited indication information to a user, i.e., measurement, coordinates, flow rate, etc. The LCDs display more information than typical indicator panels. Therefore, the instant LCDs are not principally used or designed for visual signaling.

The protestant contends that the LCDs are classifiable as parts of electric typewriters under heading 8473, HTSUS. However, Legal Note 1(m) to section XVI, HTSUS, states that: "[t]his section does not cover: [a]rticles of chapter 90." Heading 9013, HTSUS, provides for: "[l]iquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings." Therefore, if the subject merchandise is provided for more specifically in another heading, it would not be classifiable in heading 9013, HTSUS. It is Customs position that heading 8473, HTSUS, which provides for "parts," is not a more specific heading than heading 9013, HTSUS. Therefore, because the subject merchandise is classifiable in heading 9013, HTSUS, it is not classifiable in heading 8473, HTSUS, which falls in section XVI, HTSUS. See HQ 952973, dated August 5, 1993; HQ 951609, dated October 20, 1992; HQ 952360; and HQ 951868.


For the foregoing reasons, the LCD panel, part number LM7290SYR, is classifiable under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS, which provides for liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings.

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 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, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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