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HQ 964661

JANUARY 4, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964661 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8512.30.00

Mr. Paul Garceau
A.N. Deringer, Inc.
RD #1 Box W432
Alexandria Bay, NY 13607

RE: HQ 955115 Modified; Motor Vehicle Alarm

Dear Mr. Garceau:

In HQ 955115, dated December 20, 1993, issued to you on behalf of Via Security Network, Inc., the KeepWatch Vehicle Alarm VA-1, 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. A similar device, the Companion Portable Alarm PA-1, incorporating a hand-held flashlight, siren, flashing beacon and portable burglar alarm, all in a plastic body, was similarly classified. We have reconsidered the classification of the KeepWatch Vehicle Alarm VA-1 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 modification of HQ 955115 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 955115 is described in submitted literature as a portable alarm which readily attaches to the driver’s side window of any motor vehicle. The device is powered by six “AA” alkaline batteries. The literature states that for more permanent installation, the VA-1 may be wired directly to the vehicle’s fuse box using wiring that is included. A key-chain remote
transmitter included with the VA-1 emits an audible chirp and flashing red LED to indicate the device is armed. Once the VA-1’s sensitivity level is set, attempts to break the glass, pry open doors, hood or trunk, or move the vehicle will cause a loud alarm to sound. The VA-1 also incorporates a “voltage drop” detector that permits the VA-1 to sound the alarm when it detects that a light has been activated by opening a door, hood or trunk.

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 KeepWatch Vehicle Alarm VA-1 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). The issue here is whether the KeepWatch Vehicle Alarm VA-1 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 being within the scope of heading 8512. It is reasonable and logical to conclude that the “loud alarm” the VA-1 creates qualifies the device 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 VA-1 belongs. The above description of the KeepWatch Vehicle Alarm VA-1 is taken from literature submitted with the ruling request, and indicates to us that it belongs to a class or kind of sound signaling equipment principally used for motor vehicles.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the KeepWatch Vehicle Alarm VA-1, with its key chain remote transmitter, is provided for in heading 8512. It is classifiable in subheading 8512.30.00, HTSUS.


HQ 955115, dated December 20, 1993, is modified as to this merchandise. 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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