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HQ 958690

April 30, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 958690 RC


TARIFF NO.: 9503.90.0030

Ms. Sandra Swanson
Alrod International, Inc.
880 Stanton Road
Burlingame, California 94010

RE: Classification of three Megamouth articles, Warp'r, Jam'n, and Toons

Dear Ms. Swanson:

Your request of October 4, 1995, for a binding ruling on behalf of your client, Yes! Entertainment Corp., under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), regarding the tariff classification of a voice amplification and distortion effect device, was referred to this office for a direct reply to you.


The Megamouth articles, Warp'r, Jam'n, and Toons, are battery-operated devices, used to amplify, alter, and distort, one's voice. They are made in Hong Kong and marketed "for ages over 8." A sample of the Megamouth Warp'r was submitted.


Whether the Megamouth articles are classifiable in heading 9503, HTSUSA, the provision for "other toys" or in heading 8518, HTSUSA, the provision for "audio-frequency electric amplifiers."


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs..

Heading 8518, HTSUSA, provides for "audio-frequency electric amplifiers." The Megamouth articles amplify and otherwise alter the sound of one's voice when used. General Explanatory Note (4) to Chapter 85 at 1332, states that Chapter 85 covers "[i]nstruments and appliances for recording or reproducing sound." Explanatory Note (D) to heading 8518 at 1365 identifies "[a]udio-frequency amplifiers . . . used for the amplification of electrical signals of frequencies falling within the range of the human ear" as falling into the heading.

Heading 9503, HTSUSA, provides for "Other toys . . . and accessories thereof," i.e., all toys not specifically provided for in the other headings of chapter 95. Although the term "toy" is not defined in the tariff, the ENs to chapter 95 indicate that a toy is an article designed for the amusement of children or adults.

It is Customs position that the amusement requirement means toys should be designed and used principally for amusement. Customs defines principal use as that use which exceeds each other single use of the article. The ENs to heading 9503 indicate that the heading covers toy sports equipment, and that certain toys (e.g., electric irons, sewing machines, musical instruments, etc.) may be capable of a limited "use," but they are generally distinguishable by their size and limited capacity from real sewing machines, etc.

We note that by using the Megamouth articles one may indeed amplify and distort one's voice. However, the sound quality is very poor and words are relatively undiscernible. The poor quality of the amplification and distortion properties convince us that the Megamouth articles are designed to be principally used for the amusement of children. Therefore, the articles are properly classified in subheading 9503.90.0030, HTSUSA.


The Megamouth articles, identified as Warp'r, Jam'n, and Toons, are properly classified in subheading 9503.90.0030, HTSUSA, the provision for "Other toys . . . and accessories thereof: Other, Other: Other toys (except models), not having a spring mechanism." The applicable duty rate is free.


John Durant, Director

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