United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1997 HQ Rulings > HQ 959320 - HQ 959469 > HQ 959320

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 959320

June 26, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959320 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8537.10.90

Port Director of Customs
555 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

RE: Protest 2809-96-100199; Fast Media Remote Control; Functional Unit;
Section XVI, Note 4; Universal Electronics, Inc. v. U.S.; NY A83103;
Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c); 8473.30.50

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 2809-96-100199 concerning your action in classifying and assessing duty on the Fast Media Remote Control under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of the Packard Bell Fast Media Remote Control, which is specifically designed for and exclusively used with automatic data processing machines manufactured by Packard Bell. The remote control consists of two devices. The hand held remote unit sends a signal to the receiver unit (discussed below) which either directly controls various multimedia functions built-in to the computer, or inputs information similar in function to a wireless mouse or keyboard. Direct control functions include a computer CD ROM play switch, sound volume, channel select for television, FM radio, etc., telephone answering, telephone number dialing, and answering machine message play. Direct input functions include the input of numbers, multi-directional on-screen cursor control, and selection of any on-screen function.

The receiver unit is a stand alone unit, which is attached to the computer by a cable attached to the Serial A port on the back of the computer. The receiver unit receives signals from the hand held remote unit through its built-in infrared sensor.

The remote control functions with the assistance of specially designed software, which is pre-loaded onto the hard disk of a Packard Bell multimedia computer. When a signal is received by the receiver unit, the computer's hard drive commences the process of analyzing the signal and sending the appropriate signal to an output device.

Due to a unique infrared signal, the remote control cannot be used with other manufacturer's computers, nor may it be used with other appliances utilizing remote control infrared signals, such as televisions , video cassette recorders, and CD players.

The remote control was entered on August 8, 14, 20, 27, September 3, 11, 20, and 25, 1995, under subheading 8473.30.50, HTSUS, as an other accessory of the machines of heading 8471, HTSUS, not incorporating a cathode ray tube. The entries were liquidated on November 17 and December 29, 1995, under subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS, as an other control board for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 volts (V). The protest was timely filed on February 9, 1996.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8473.30.50: [p]arts 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
8471: [n]ot incorporating a cathode ray tube: [o]ther.

Goods classifiable under this provision receive duty-free treatment.

8537.10.90: [b]oards, panels, consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading
8535 or 8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity, including those incorporating instruments of chapter 90, and numerical control apparatus, other than switching apparatus of heading
8517: [f]or a voltage not exceeding
1,000 V: [o]ther.

The 1995 general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 4.8 percent ad valorem.


Whether the remote control constitutes a functional unit classifiable under subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS, as an other control board for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V.


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

Section XVI, note 4, HTSUS, states that:

[w]here a machine (including a combination of machines) consists of individual components (whether separate or interconnected by piping, by transmission devices, by electric cables or by other devices) intended to contribute together to a clearly defined function covered by one of the headings in chapter 84 or chapter 85, then the whole falls to be classified in the heading appropriate to that function.

The remote control consists of individual and separate machines which are intended to contribute to the clearly defined function of controlling the operations of a computer. Therefore, we must now ascertain whether this function is covered by one of the headings in chapters 84 or 85, HTSUS.

In Universal Electronics, Inc. v. U.S., (CAFC Slip.Op. 96-1345, April 24, 1997), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) in classifying infrared remote control units under subheading 8537.10.00 (predecessor to subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS), HTSUS. In the decision, in determining whether the merchandise was described under heading 8537, HTSUS, the CAFC stated:

[t]he [CIT] determined that "for electric control" means that "information is input, and as a consequence, electricity causes the desired result to occur." The court's opinion makes clear that the "electricity" to which it refers is the electric current that ultimately cause the desired result, and not to intermediate signals. Thus, the court interpreted "for electric control" as being a very broad clause that merely requires that the result desired (e.g., an increase in volume) be caused via electricity. . . We agree with the interpretation accorded to the phrase "for electrical control" by the [CIT], which comports with the ordinary, dictionary definitions of the terms. The tariff provision does not explicitly require the electric control to be direct.
Absent such a statement, we see no reason to incorporate any specific limitations as to which device (the subject imports or the appliance controlled) need create the electric current that produces the desired result. The requisite electric control, therefore, may be direct or indirect. . . The [CIT] determined that "the subject remote controls are for electric control' because they serve as part of a control system: users input information into the remote controls, and as a consequence, electricity causes the desired result to occur." In other words, the subject imports are "for electric control" because the infrared signal emitted by the subject imports controls the flow of electricity within the target appliance. Indeed, the control of electricity in the target appliances is the sole purpose of the subject imports.

Based upon the reasoning of the CAFC in Universal Electronics, the remote control is included in the "broad clause" "for electric control" and is therefore described under subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS. A user of the remote control inputs information into the device by pushing the desired button, which causes the chosen event to occur. The infrared signal emitted by the hand held remote unit, through the receiver unit, controls the flow of electricity within the computer. See NY A83103, dated May 28, 1996, which held similar merchandise to be classifiable under subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS.

Because the function of the remote control is not more specifically provided for elsewhere in the HTSUS, based upon section XVI, note 4, HTSUS, it is a functional unit classifiable under subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS.


The Fast Media Remote Control is a functional unit classifiable under subheading 8537.10.90, HTSUS, as an other control board for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V.

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 this 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
Tariff Classification Appeals

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: