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HQ 962909

May 20, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962909 GOB


TARIFF NO.: 8525.10.90

Port Director of Customs
1205 Royal Lane
DFW Airport, Texas 75261

RE: Booster kits; Amplifiers for cellular telephone; NY A86847; NY D84061; HQ 954698

Dear Sir:

This ruling pertains to your Protest 5501-99-100089 filed by Nokia Mobile Phones, Inc. (“protestant”).


The entry at issue was filed on September 29, 1998, and liquidated on February 5, 1999. The articles at issue are described by the protestant as BSH-4 RF Booster Kits.

The protestant states as follows:

Part number 0082061 is a BSH-4 Booster Kit. This is a unit to boost (amplify) the transmitted signal power from the typical 0.60-Watts output to a higher power level that is then attached to an external antenna. This unit also boosts the signal received by the antenna to help improve the strength of the signal at the antenna connection of the cellular phone. This helps to improve “signal-to-noise” ratio and assure more reliable communications. This unit can be used with several models of phones, as long as their operating frequency range is the same as the operating bandpass frequency range of the booster. These should not be confused with the “audio-frequency” amplifiers of classification 8518.40.2000. Our booster units are not “repeaters.” A repeater receives on one frequency and re-transmits the signal on another frequency The protestant claims classification under subheading 8529.90.99, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). It cites NY D84061 dated November 6, 1998, in support of its claim.

The subject merchandise was rate advanced and liquidated under subheading 8525.10.70, HTSUS.


Whether the subject articles are provided for in heading 8525, HTSUS, as transmission apparatus for radiotelephony or in heading 8529, HTSUS, as parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528?


We note initially that the protest was timely filed on March 18, 1999, under the statutory and regulatory provisions for protests, 19 U.S.C. 1514(c)(3)(A) and 19 CFR 174.12(e)(1).

Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRI’s”). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI’s may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“EN’s”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN’s provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80.

Heading 8525, HTSUS, covers:

Transmission apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras or other video camera recorders[.]

Heading 8529 covers:

Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528[.]

EN 85.25(A) provides, in pertinent part:


This apparatus is used for the transmission of signals (representing speech, messages or still pictures) by means of electro-magnetic waves which are transmitted through the ether without any line connection.

This group includes, inter alia:

(2) Radio-telephony apparatus for motor vehicles, ships, aircraft, trains, etc.

In NY A86847 dated September 11, 1996, Customs determined that “an in-vehicle amplifier/repeater for portable cellular phones” which “enhances a portable phone’s performance by providing amplification of transmitted signals” was classifiable under subheading 8525.10.6040, HTSUS. The article at issue here appears to be very similar to the article in NY A86847.

In HQ 954698 dated April 29, 1994, Customs determined that a power amplifier, which was a separate apparatus within a system, was classifiable under subheading 8525.10.80, HTSUS.

In support of its position, the protestant cites NY D84061 dated November 6, 1998, which held a cellular phone amplifier to be classifiable under subheading 8529.90.99, HTSUS. The facts in NY D84061 are distinguishable from the facts at issue in this protest in that, in NY D84061: the signal amplifier served as the sole signal amplifier mechanism for the proper functioning of the cellular telephones; the signal amplifier was designed to be housed within the specific cellular telephone models of the manufacturer; and Customs concluded that the amplifier was necessary for the functioning of the cellular telephones, i.e., it was not an enhancement item. In the subject protest, the article serves as an additional means of boosting the power of the transmitted signal and is not necessary for the proper functioning of the cellular telephone. Further, the article at issue here is designed to be added to a cellular phone by means of outside attachment and sold as an accessory item.

The protestant has not established that the subject article is a “part,” nor does the evidence of record support that proposition. In Clipper Belt Lacer Co., Inc. v. U.S., 14 CIT 146 (1990), the court quoted from earlier cases: “It is a well-established rule that a ‘part’ of an article is something necessary to the completion of that article. It is an integral, constituent, or component part, without which the article to which it is to be joined, could not function as such article.” United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc., 21 CCPA 322, 324, T.D. 46,851 (1933) (emphasis in original), cert denied, 292 U.S. 640 (1934) In determining whether an item is a part of an article, the Court looks to the “nature, function, and purpose of an item in relation to the article to which it is attached or designed to serve ” Ideal Toy Corp. v. United States, 58 CCPA 9, 13, C.A.D. 996, 433 F. 2d 801, 803 (1979) [Additional citations omitted.] The rule set out in Willoughby Camera has been modified over the years so that a device may be a part of an article even though the device is not necessary to the operation of the article, provided that once the device is installed the article cannot function properly without it. To meet this test, the device must be dedicated for use upon the article. See Beacon Cycle, 81 Cust. Ct. at 50-51, 458 F. Supp. at 816-17 [Additional citations omitted.]

Accordingly, based upon the above, we find that the subject articles are provided for in heading 8525, HTSUS, and are classified in subheading 8525.10.90 as: “Transmission apparatus for radiotelephony : Transmission apparatus: Other: Other[.]

The articles were liquidated under subheading 8525.10.70, HTSUS, as: “Transmission apparatus for radiotelephony : Transmission apparatus: Other: For radiobroadcasting[.] We find that subheading 8525.10.70, HTSUS, does not describe the articles because the articles are not involved in radiobroadcasting.


The articles are provided for in heading 8525, HTSUS, and are classified in subheading 8525.10.90, HTSUS. You are instructed to deny the protest, except to the extent reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above results in a partial allowance.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to 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 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 make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.ustreas.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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