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June 28, 1999

CLA-2-90:RR:NC:MM:105 E82962


TARIFF NO.: 9031.80.8060; 9031.80.8085

Ms. Laura Denny
CBT International, Inc.
110 West Ocean Blvd. Suite 728
Long Beach, CA 90802

RE: The tariff classification of Automotive Testing Devices from China and Taiwan

Dear Ms. Denny:

In your letter, dated May 9 , 1999, for All Trade, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The first sample’s packaging is labeled the “Powerbuilt - Spark Plug Wire Tester”. The mechanic fastens it to the spark plug wire and a ground. While the engine is running, its flashing light indicates a sound wire, no light indicates a defective wire or connection.

You propose classification in HTS 9030.39. However, the device does not measure any electrical quantity nor does it exactly “check” it, per se. Also, Explanatory Note 3 to Harmonized System Heading 9031 indicates it includes apparatus for testing and regulating all parts of an automobile’s ignition system (coils, spark plugs, etc) even though they obviously operate electrically.

The second sample’s packaging is labeled “Team Mechanix - Mechanics Stethescope - Great for Pinpointing Worn or Noisy Parts”. We assume from the French and Spanish versions that “Stethoscope” was meant. The item is not a true stethoscope since the first, four inch long, metal shaft is solid, not hollow. It therefore does not transmit sound from the automobile, but vibration. The vibration is apparently converted into sound at the red plastic hemisphere and then, as in a true stethoscope, that sound is transmitted to the user’s ears via hollow plastic and metal tubing. The device thus both transmits vibration and transduces it, non-electrically, into sound. Its purpose is not to enable one to measure the vibration, but to hear vibrations more clearly since vibrations are routinely an indication of a defective or poorly fitted part. EN 18 to HS 9031 includes “Apparatus for measuring or detecting vibrations...used on machines, bridges, dams, etc.” This has an analogous function.

The applicable subheading for the wire tester will be 9031.80.8060, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for equipment for testing the electrical characteristics of internal combustion engines. The general rate of duty will be 1.7 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the mechanic’s stethoscope will be 9031.80.8085, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “other”, non-“optical”, measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines. The general rate of duty will be 1.7 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist James Sheridan at 212-637-7037.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity

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