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HQ 955598

APRIL 1, 1994

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 955598 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8548.00.00

Mr. Mark Gottlieb
DesignTech International, Inc.
7401 Fullerton Road
Springfield, VA 22153

RE: Piezo Transducer, Piezo Ceramic Resonator Disc; Acoustic Signalling Device; Combination Backup Light and Alarm; Stainless Steel Wafer Layered With Ceramic and Silver; Visual and Sound Signaling Apparatus, Heading 8531; Section XVI, Note 2; Part of Automobile Back-Up Apparatus, Electrical Signaling Equipment of a Kind Used on Motor Vehicles, Heading 8512

Dear Mr. Gottlieb:

In your letter of November 18, 1993, to the District Director of Customs, Washington, D.C., you inquire as to the tariff status of piezo transducers from Japan under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter, together with the descriptive literature and sample were forwarded to this office for a response.

While you state there are no issues regarding this merchandise pending before Customs, a Customs Form 29, evidencing a rate advance, appears in the file. This suggests a current transaction for which the Internal Advice procedure outlined in the Customs Regulations is appropriate. However, to avoid further delay in resolving the matter, we will respond directly.


You describe the sample as a piezo ceramic resonator disc. It consists of a 22.5 mm diameter stainless steel disc with a thin layer of ceramic and silver. You state the disc is used as a speaker in a signaling device you market as the Back-Up Alert. This device fits into the taillight assembly of automobiles, trucks, vans and RVs, and consists of a halogen light bulb with silver-plated reflector and an audio device. The apparatus gives both an audible "beep-beep" sound and visual lighting when the vehicle is shifted into reverse. - 2 -

You maintain that for several years you have been entering these piezo discs under the appropriate provision in heading 8531 for parts of electrical sound or visual signaling apparatus. However, by the Customs Form 29, dated October 26, 1993, the District Director at Washington, D.C. advised you that he proposes to rate advance the entries under subheading 8548.00.00, HTSUS, a provision for electrical parts of machinery or apparatus, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 85].

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8512 Electrical lighting or signaling equipment of a kind used for cycles or motor vehicles; parts thereof:

8512.90 Parts:

8512.90.20 Of signaling equipment...2.7 percent

8531 Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels, burglar or fire alarms), other than those of heading 8512 or 8530); parts thereof:

8531.90 Parts:

8531.90.80 Other...2.7 percent

8548.00.00 Electrical parts of machinery or apparatus, not specified or included elsewhere in
[chapter 85}...3.9 percent

Whether a principal use for these piezo transducers can be established.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. - 3 -

Goods that are identifiable as parts of machines or apparatus of chapters 84 and 85 are classifiable in accordance with Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUS. The competing provisions that have been identified are all in chapter 85. The piezo transducers are not parts which are goods included in any heading of chapter 85. Note 2(a). Other parts, suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading, are to be classified with the machines of that kind. Note 2(b). Principal use is that use which exceeds any other single use of the goods. Parts for which no principal use can be established are to be classified in headings 8485 or 8548, as appropriate. Note 2(c).

By its terms, heading 8531 excludes goods of heading 8512, the latter being the more specific provision. The issue, then, is whether there is evidence that the piezo transducers in issue are principally used with the sound/visual signaling device called the Back-Up Alert, which itself is likely classified in heading 8512.

Principal use in each case depends on the evidence presented, with the burden of proof falling on the person seeking to establish such use. Drawings, brochures and advertisements,as well as statements from manufacturers, users, buyers and sellers, or other persons having information as to the use or uses of these piezo elements are viable sources of evidence of principal use. Whenever possible, Customs will view available evidence in the light most favorable to the importer. In this case, however, there is nothing in the character or appearance of the submitted sample that permits any inference as to its principal use. That the instant piezo element may be used with the Back-Up Alert is merely evidence of its actual use, and does not negate potential uses in other electrical signaling apparatus of heading 8531, or with buzzing or beeping elements in watches or electronic games. Piezo elements like this are typically programmed to react to frequencies in a particular hz range. However, there are numerous articles that require piezo elements with the same rating as the ones in issue. For this reason, the available evidence does not permit us to resolve the issue of principal use for purposes of Rule 2(b). The piezo elements, therefore, must be classified in heading 8548 in accordance with Rule 2(c). - 4 -


Under the authority of GRI 1, the piezo ceramic resonators in issue are provided for in heading 8548. They are classifiable in subheading 8548.00.00, HTSUS, as electrical parts of machinery or apparatus, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 85].


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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