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HQ 958620

June 15, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 958620 HMC


TARIFF NO.: 9002.11.90

Port Director of Customs
JFK Airport
Bldg #77
Jamaica, NY 11430

RE: Protest 1001-95-107082; Medium Format Camera Lenses; Subheading 9006.59.90; General Explanatory Note (III) to Chapter 90; Explanatory Note 90.02; Other Objective Lenses; Other Cameras.

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1001-95-107082, filed against your classification of lenses for medium format camera bodies. The entries under protest were liquidated on June 30, 1995, and this protest timely filed on August 17, 1995. Consideration was given to arguments and supplemental submissions presented by counsel for protestant during a meeting held at Customs Headquarters on April 27, 1998. Consideration was also given to supplemental submissions, dated May 27, 1998, and June 5, 1998.


The merchandise under protest consists of various interchangeable Mamiya-Sekor lenses for Mamiya medium format SLR camera bodies. The medium format camera bodies are designed to utilize a 60 millimeter film. These cameras and lenses are generally sold to professional photographers and the more expert amateur photographers. These cameras permit the use of a larger negative that allows for greater clarity, less graininess and sharper definition in final prints.

Information provided shows that the camera bodies and lenses were imported in the same shipment but invoiced and packaged separately. Invoices show that the lenses include the Mamiya-Sekor C 45mm f/2.8 N, 55mm F/2.8 N, 80 mm F/2.8 N, 150mm F/3.5 N, 210mm F/4 N, Mamiya Macro C 80mm F/4 N, Mamiya A 150mm F/2.8, Mamiya-Sekor Z 110mm F/2.8 W, 150mm F/3.5 W, 180mm F/4.5 W-N, 100-200mm Zoom, Mamiya G 50mm F/4 L, 75mm F/3.5 L, and the Mamiya KL 180mm F/4.5 L-A.

The lenses were entered as other cameras under subheading 9006.59.90 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The protestant claims to rely on pre-entry classification ruling (PC) 859964, dated March 14, 1991, which, according to the protestant, supports the classification of the lenses as entered. However, the entries were liquidated under subheading 9002.11.90, HTSUS, as objective lenses for cameras.

The provisions, in effect at the time of the entries under protest, are as follows:

9002 Lenses, prisms, mirrors and other optical elements, of any material, mounted, being parts of or fittings for instruments or apparatus, other than such elements of glass not optically worked; parts and accessories thereof:
Objective lenses and parts and accessories thereof:
9002.11 For cameras, projectors or photographic enlargers or reducers:
9002.11.90 Other...5.7% (1995)

9006 Photographic (other than cinematographic) cameras; photographic flashlight apparatus and flashbulbs other than discharge lamps of heading 8539; parts and accessories thereof: Other cameras:
9006.59 Other:
Other than fixed focus:
9006.59.90 Valued over $10 each...2.4% (1995)


Whether the lenses are classifiable as other cameras under subheading 9006.59.90, HTSUS, or as objective lenses for cameras under subheading 9002.11.90, HTSUS.


Merchandise is classifiable under the 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, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

Chapter 90, Note 2, HTSUS, states, in part, that

Subject to Note 1, parts and accessories for machines, apparatus, instruments or articles of this Chapter are to be classified according to the following rules:

(a) Parts and accessories which are goods included in any of the headings of this Chapter or of Chapter 84, 85 or 91 (other than heading No. 84.85, 85.48 or 90.33) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;

(b) Other parts and accessories, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, instrument or apparatus, or with a number or machines, instruments or apparatus of the same heading (including a machine, instrument or apparatus of heading No. 90.10, 90.13 or 90.31) are to be classified with the machines, instruments or apparatus of that kind;

(c) All other parts and accessories are to be classified in heading No. 90.33.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN's) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the EN's provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the EN's should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

General EN (III) to Chapter 90 states, in part, that the optical elements of heading 90.01 or 90.02 remain in the headings cited regardless of the instruments or apparatus to which they are to be fitted. EN 90.02 states, in part, that [t]he articles of [heading 9002] are mainly designed to be incorporated with other parts to form a specific instrument or part of an instrument. EN 90.02 further states that [s]ubject to the above conditions, the heading includes: (1) objective lenses, additional lenses, color filters, viewfinders, etc., for photographic or cinematographic cameras or for projectors.

Protestant claims that the merchandise is classifiable as other cameras under subheading 9006.59.90, arguing that there is an established uniform practice of classifying 60mm camera lenses as cameras when imported in the same shipment with medium format 60mm camera bodies. In this regard, protestant refers to PC 859964 and to other entries that classified the lenses under subheading 9006.59.90. In the alternative, protestant argues that the lenses are classifiable according to GRI 2(a) as cameras, unassembled.

An established uniform practice would arise when there is evidence of uniform classification and liquidation of the subject imports at various ports over an extended period of time. See Heraeus-Amersil, Inc. v. United States, 9 CIT 412 (1985). We cannot discern from the pre-entry classification ruling any evidence, illustrating how the lenses were imported, invoiced or packaged. We note that this ruling shows that the National Import Specialist classified most of the lenses under subheading 9002.11.80. Also, protestant has not provided sufficient information regarding other entries to support the finding of a uniform and established practice. The protestant's submissions state that Mamiya imports the lenses through the ports of Newark Airport and New York Seaport, and has done so since 1987. We did not see any evidence in these submissions of actual classification and liquidation of the lenses as cameras. Nevertheless, we believe, importation of the lenses through just two ports cannot support a finding of an established uniform practice of classifying lenses as cameras. The pre-classification ruling and entries therefore do not evidence a uniform classification and liquidation of the subject lenses as cameras of heading 9006.

The merchandise under protest are interchangeable Mamiya-Sekor lenses for Mamiya medium format SLR camera bodies. They were imported in the same shipment with an equal number of camera bodies, but were invoiced and packaged separately. The lenses are recognized parts and/or accessories for the camera bodies since they are necessary for the completion of the camera body with which they will be used. They do not change the basic function of the camera body. Since the lenses are specifically provided for in heading 9002, pursuant to Chapter 90, Note 2(a) and the EN's, the lenses for the medium format cameras are classifiable under subheading 9002.11.90, HTSUS.

Accordingly, GRI 2(a) is inapplicable in this instance. There is no need to perform an "essential character" analysis on the subject merchandise because the lenses are complete and fully shaped items recognizable as separate articles from the camera bodies and specifically provided for in heading 9002.

In addition, we find that the evidence provided shows that the lenses were packaged and offered for sale separately from camera bodies to give the ultimate consumer the option to separately buy a lens best suited to his or her needs. At page 2 of the May 27, 1998 submission, counsel for the protestant states that the entry under protest contained more camera bodies than lenses. The submission also states that a specific camera body and lens will not necessarily be sold together. Therefore, consistent with Treasury Decision 94-59 and HQ 952865, which concerned the classification of lenses for 35mm camera bodies, we are unable to find that the subject lenses and medium format camera bodies were packaged separately solely for reasons such as convenience of packing, handling or transport. They are classifiable separately, as stated above, under subheading 9002.11.90, HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1 and Chapter 90, Note 2, HTSUS, the lenses are classified in subheading 9002.11.90, HTSUS, as objective lenses. The 1995 rate of duty is 5.7%.

This 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, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing 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 to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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