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HQ 957992

December 4, 1995

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 957992 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8528.20.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 619050
1205 Royal Lane
DFW Airport, Texas 75261-0950

RE: IA 20/95; Observation System; camera; monitor; HQ 955279 affirmed; HQs 957743, 958082; GRI 3; composite good; heading 8525

Dear Port Director:

With your memorandum of April 25, 1995 [CLA-2-D.C.], you forwarded a request for internal advice submitted by counsel, on behalf of Ultrak, Inc., concerning the classification of an observation system under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The article in question is an observation system, consisting of a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera, black and white monitor, intercom, microphone, camera mounting bracket, cables and power supply. The CCD camera (WV-CP410 series) is a digital signal processing camera that delivers "outstanding high-quality picture as well as versatile functions, durable construction and system integration capability." The system is generally used for security purposes.


Whether the Observation System is classifiable according to General Rule of Interpretation 3, HTSUS, under heading 8525, HTSUS, which provides for television transmission apparatus. - 2 -


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 . . . ."

In HQ 955279, dated November 8, 1993, Customs classified similar observation systems that included a CCD camera and a black and white monitor, according to GRI 3(c), HTSUS, under subheading 8528.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for black or white video monitors. The internal advice applicant disagrees with our holding in HQ 955279, and contends that the CCD camera provides Ultrak's Observation System with its essential character for the following reasons: (1) the camera is emphasized in Ultrak's sales literature; (2) the quality of the camera distinguishes it from similar systems; and (3) the camera is necessary for the operation of the system, while the system can function without the monitor. Accordingly, it is argued, the system should be classified, according to GRI 3(b), under subheading 8525.30.90, HTSUS, which provides for other television cameras.

Customs has recently considered the classification of other surveillance/ observation systems in HQs 957743 and 958082 (copies enclosed), which were published September 27, 1995, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 29, Number 39, pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. No. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993). These systems included camera and monitor units, both of which incorporated a speaker and microphone. After determining that the systems were GRI 3(b) "composite goods," both were classified, according to GRI 3(c), under subheading 8528.20.00, HTSUS.

The holdings in HQ 957743 and HQ 958082 were based on the premise that the camera and monitor units' role in relation to the use of the entire system were equal, the quality of the camera notwithstanding. The microphone of the camera units and the speaker or telephone of the monitor units (and vice versa) function together to provide two-way audio communication. The camera of the camera units and the monitor of the monitor units function together to provide one-way video communication. It is this interaction between the systems' primary components that persuaded this office to classify the systems according to GRI 3(c), HTSUS, rather than GRI 3(b). This rationale also formed the basis for our decision in HQ 955279, which is affirmed, and provides the basis for our classification of the instant merchandise under subheading 8528.20.00, HTSUS. Finally, we are not persuaded by the argument that the present system can function without the monitor (which is a component of the system), as the - 3 -
system cannot function without some sort of visual medium (i.e., user's own television receiver).


The Observation Systems are classifiable, according to GRI 3(c), under subheading 8528.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for black or white video monitors. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 5% ad valorem.

This decision should be mailed by your office to the internal advice requester no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date, 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

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