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HQ 964660

JANUARY 4, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964660 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8512.30.00

Mr. Joe A. Dahm
Therm Technology Corp.
2879 Remico
Grandville, Michigan 49418

RE: HQ 951797 Revoked; Automotive Burglar Alarm System

Dear Mr. Dahm:

In HQ 951797, dated August 17, 1992, a current sensing car alarm, imported incomplete or unfinished, was held to be classifiable in subheading 8531.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as burglar or fire alarms and similar apparatus. We have reconsidered this classification and now believe that it is incorrect.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of HQ 951797 was published on November 29, 2000, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 34, Number 48. No comments were received in response to that notice.


The merchandise in HQ 951797 is an incomplete automotive burglar alarm, model number CP-028A. It is compact in size, measuring 130 mm x 85 mm x 35 mm, and consists of a printed circuit board with microcomputer chips, diodes, capacitors, relays, transistors and amplifiers. The alarm will be completed after importation by the addition of wiring, a switch, terminals, together with an instruction sheet and packaging. The device incorporates a piezo buzzer and emits a “powerful piercing alarm” of 120 decibels when its current sensing circuitry detects even the slightest change in current from the car’s battery caused, for
example, by opening a door, starting the engine, turning on the radio or activating the lights. The alarm sounds for 90 seconds, then resets itself. Once activated, the device has a 30-second delay within which the driver may exit the car and lock it. The device also has an 8-second delay for the driver to open the door and switch off the master toggle switch hidden inside.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8512 Electrical lighting or signaling equipment, of a kind used for cycles or motor vehicles:

8512.30.00 Sound signaling equipment

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:

8531.10.00 Burglar or fire alarms and similar apparatus


Whether the automotive burglar alarm is a good of heading 8512.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUS. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

By its terms, heading 8531 excludes electric sound signaling apparatus of heading 8512. The ENs on p. 1496 state that heading 8531 covers all electrical apparatus for signaling purposes, with the exception of signaling apparatus used on cycles or motor vehicles (heading 85.12) and such apparatus for traffic control on roads, railways, etc. (heading 85.30). This decision does not revisit the issue of whether the
incomplete burglar alarm model CP-028A has the essential character under GRI 2(a), HTSUS, of a complete or finished burglar alarm; rather, the issue here is whether the device is electrical sound signaling apparatus or equipment principally used for motor vehicles.

The ENs on p. 1461 list horns, sirens and other electrical sound signaling appliances as within the scope of heading 8512. It is reasonable and logical to conclude that the powerful piercing alarm created by the piezo buzzer qualifies the device at issue as an electrical sound signaling appliance substantially similar to horns and sirens. The qualifying language in heading 8512 “of a kind used for cycles or motor vehicles” is a provision governed by “principal use.” See Group Italglass U.S.A., Inc. v. United States, 17 C.I.T. 226, 839 F. Supp. 866 (1993). In accordance with Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUS, the controlling use is the principal use at or immediately prior to the date of importation of the goods of that class or kind to which the import belongs. Literature submitted with the ruling request that became HQ 951797 contains a narrative description of the CP-028A car alarm, together with a schematic. The device is connected by cable to the car’s battery through the fuse box, with another cable running from the alarm to the toggle switch. The CP-028A includes a hood/trunk alarm trigger device (instant alarm), and includes as accessories a master toggle switch, push-release switch, color coded wires and assembling hardware. The available information indicates to us that the CP-028A belongs to a class or kind of sound signaling equipment principally used for motor vehicles.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the CP-028A current sensing car alarm is provided for in heading 8512. It is classifiable in subheading 8512.30.00, HTSUS.


HQ 951797, dated August 17, 1992, is revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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