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HQ 960317

November 19, 1997

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960317 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8531.20.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 2450
San Francisco, CA 94126

RE: Protest 2809-96-101294; Liquid Crystal Devices (LCDs); LCD Displays; Signaling Apparatus; Legal Note 1(m) to Section XVI; Headings 8531 and 9013; Sharp Microelectronics Technology, Inc. v. United States, 932 F.Supp. 1499 (CIT 1996), aff'd., 122 F.3d 1446, CAFC Slip Op. 97-1013 (September 2, 1997); HQ 955062

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 2809-96-101294, which concerns the classification of liquid crystal devices for signaling apparatus under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The subject merchandise is a Sharp passive dot matrix liquid crystal display (LCD), model LQ4RE01. The LCD display screen consists of a 234 x 479 pixel configuration. Attached to the LCD is a printed circuit board with driver integrated circuits and a plastic diffuser panel, all of which are encased in a metal housing (bezel).

The merchandise was entered on February 28, 1996, under subheading 8531.20.00, HTSUS, as a visual signaling apparatus. The entry was liquidated on July 5, 1996, under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS, as liquid crystal displays not elsewhere specified. The protest was timely filed on September 26, 1996.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8531.20.00: Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels, burglar or fire alarms), other than those of heading 8512 or 8530. . . :
[i]ndicator panels incorporating liquid crystal devices (LCD's) or light emitting diodes (LED's).....

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

9013.80.60 Liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings. . . : [o]ther devices, appliances and instruments: [o]ther. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 7.2 percent ad valorem.


Whether the subject LCDs are classifiable as signaling apparatus or as LCDs not specified or included elsewhere, 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.

LCDs are prima facie classifiable in the following HTSUS headings: 8471, which provides for ADP machines and units thereof; 8531, which provides for electric sound or visual signaling apparatus; and, 9013, which provides for liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for in other headings. Legal Note 1(m) to Section XVI, HTSUS (which includes chapter 84), states that: "[t]his section does not cover: [a]rticles of chapter 90." Because of the wording of heading 9013, if the subject merchandise is provided for more specifically in another heading, it would not be classifiable in heading 9013. See Sharp Microelectronics Technology, Inc. v. United States, 932 F.Supp. 1499 (CIT 1996), aff'd., 122 F.3d 1446, CAFC Slip Op. 97-1013 (September 2, 1997). See also HQ 959175, dated November 25, 1996. Therefore, if an LCD does not meet the terms of either headings 8471 or 8531, then it is classifiable under heading 9013.

The port classified the subject merchandise under heading 9013. The protestant claims that the subject LCD is classifiable under heading 8531. Examination of the protestant's sales literature and previous information submitted to Customs supports the claim that this display is to be used in automobiles, airplanes, and other modes of transportation for use with global positioning systems (GPS).

In HQ 955062, dated March 21, 1994, Customs determined that LCD modules which have a principal use as global positioning, lottery system, portable data collector, medical instrument, and gasoline pump indicator meet the terms of heading 8531, as signaling apparatus, because they provide certain limited indication information to the user. Based upon HQ 955062, we find that the subject LCD which is principally used for indicating limited information to the user, is classifiable under heading 8531, HTSUS, as signaling apparatus.


The Sharp LCD display screen, model LQ4RE01, is classifiable under subheading 8531.20.00, HTSUS, as visual signaling apparatus.

The protest should be GRANTED. 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 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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