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HQ 960048

July 14, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960048 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8529.90.23, 8529.90.76, 8529.90.85

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
1 East Bay Street
Savannah, GA 31401

RE: Internal Advice 34/1996; Pagers; Paging Alert Devices; Signaling Apparatus; Radio Reception Apparatus; Composite Machine; Legal Note 3 to Section XVI; Headings 8527 and 8531; NY A84145, NY 874994; PC 894322, superseded in part

Dear Port Director:

The following is our response to your memorandum (LIQ 5:SAV:FO: MUP), dated September 26, 1996, which forwarded the request for Internal Advice (IA) 34/1996. IA 34/1996 was filed on behalf of Motorola and concerns the classification of certain pager parts under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The subject merchandise consist of the following one-way pager parts: (a) receiver printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs), part number NRD7480B, which receives a radio signal and de-scrambles the signal for the decoder; (b) decoder PCBAs, part numbers AALN1108A, AALN1109A, AALN1112A, AALN1115A, AALN1116A, AALN1118A, NLN3515B, NRN6878A, NRN6889B, NRN8108B, NYN1136C, NYN1136D, which decode the information into the numeric or alpha-numeric message and send the information to the output device; (c) plastic monitor button, part number 3805075R01; and, (d) plastic back covers, part number NRN6887B. After importation, the subassemblies and housing parts will be used along with other components in the manufacture of one-way pagers. Pagers are devices used for receiving messages and information via radio frequencies, and have a wide range of applications based upon their abilities to display either just numbers, or both text and numbers.

The subject merchandise will be used in the manufacture of two primary types of pagers: (1) numeric pagers, and (2) "alpha-numeric" pagers. A numeric pager displays only numeric messages, ranging from 10 to 16 message slots depending on the model type. An alpha-numeric pager displays text and numeric messages, ranging from 15 to 52 message slots depending on the model type. Both types of pagers are miniature, microprocessor-controlled FM receivers. Messages are transmitted to the pager via a radio frequency carrier that is modulated by a coded binary sequence. Upon receiving the radio signal, the pager responds by emitting a sound signal or by silent vibration mode, and displaying the message on the liquid crystal display (LCD).

The requestant claims that numeric and alpha-numeric pagers are classifiable under heading 8527, as paging receivers, and not as paging alert devices under heading 8531. The 1996 subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8527.90.90 [now .85]: Reception apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy or radio-broadcasting, whether or not combined, in the same housing, with sound recording or reproducing apparatus or a clock: Other apparatus: Other: Other. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 6 percent ad valorem.

8529.90: Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528: Other:

8529.90.23 [now .22]: Printed circuit assemblies: [o]ther. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 3.5 percent ad valorem.

8529.90.76 [now .74]: Other, parts of printed circuit assemblies, including face plates and lock latches: [o]ther. . . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 3.5 percent ad valorem.

8529.90.85 [now .84]: Other: Other parts of articles of headings 8525 and 8527, except parts of cellular telephones:
[o]ther. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 3.5 percent ad valorem.

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:

8531.80.40: Other apparatus: Paging alert devices. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 1.6 percent ad valorem.

8531.90: Parts:

8531.90.40 [now .10]: Printed circuit assemblies. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 2.1 percent ad valorem.

8531.90.80 [now .70]: Other . . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 2.1 percent ad valorem.


Whether numeric pagers and alpha-numeric pagers are classifiable as paging receivers, or as paging alert devices, under the HTSUS?


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

To determine the classification of the subject merchandise which consist of several parts, Customs must first determine the classification of the pagers in which the subject merchandise is to be incorporated into. Both types of pagers receive a radio signal containing either a numeric or alpha-numeric message, it then decodes the message, signals the user, and displays the message on an LCD screen. Legal Note 3 to Section XVI, HTSUS, states that: "[u]nless the context otherwise requires, composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function."

In the present situation, the pagers consist of radio reception apparatus of heading 8527 and signaling apparatus of heading 8531 fitted together to form one machine that performs two complementary functions. We find that the pagers are composite machines with the principal function being the radio reception, because it is the reception of the text message that is of primary importance in the pagers' operation. See NY 874994 (July 1, 1992) and NY A84145 (June 21, 1996) in which Customs classified numeric display pagers under heading 8527, HTSUS, as paging receivers.

On February 4, 1994, U.S. Customs, Savannah, Georgia, issued Pre-Classification Ruling 894322 to the I/A requestant, classifying older models of pager parts under subheading 8531.90.00, as parts of electrical signaling apparatus. The basis for that decision was that pagers were considered to be paging alert devices of heading 8531, HTSUS. Based upon the above analysis and NY 874994 and NY A84145, we find that PC 894322 is superseded in part as it relates to the goods described in the Facts section above.


For the foregoing reasons, the subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 8529.90.23, 8529.90.76, 8529.90.85, HTSUS, as parts of paging receivers.

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 internal advice requestant 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 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 the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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